Collaborating, Creating Connections, Improving Communities: CFFA Joins National Initiative

The Columbus-Franklin County Finance Authority (CFFA) knows that strong partnerships between communities and financing organizations is key to creating thriving cities. That’s why the Authority is proud to join the Accelerating Community Investment (ACI) initiative, a national “community of practice” collaboration among public finance officials, impact investors, financial institutions, and communities focused on economic development, housing, and the availability of capital within low-income communities. 

Supported by the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy and the F.B. Heron Foundation, ACI will strengthen the working relationships among philanthropists and mission-based investors; Community Development Finance Institutions (CDFIs), which work with local businesses; Development Finance Agencies (DFAs), private entities that facilitate investment in economic development and affordable housing; and Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs), state-chartered institutions that also support housing and development missions through issuing bonds and other investments.

As an ACI participant, CFFA will work with select leaders from these organizations to build partnerships throughout the nation, participate in training, and identify new approaches for investment in low-income communities. “CFFA is excited to share and learn from peer organizations,” says Authority President Jean Carter Ryan. “We’re eager to find opportunities to increase our impact on Columbus communities through varied financing structures and relationships like this.” 

In addition to CFFA, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the Port of Cincinnati Development Authority, and the Greater Ohio Policy Center are participants in ACI. The initiative, which launched in January 2021, will continue for three years. 

“Having CFFA and other Ohio development and housing finance organizations participate in Accelerating Community Investment is exciting for us,” said Robert J. “R.J.” McGrail, Senior Research Fellow at the Lincoln Institute and Director of the ACI initiative. “The perspective of CFFA and our other partners will be invaluable as we advance our shared mission of mobilizing additional investment in communities and ensuring new investment.” Their goal, McGrail added, is to help more people share in the economic recovery following the pandemic, and to establish a path to future prosperity. 

“Participants in the ACI project will collaborate to identify common challenges and create opportunities to address them.” said McGrail. “They’ll do that by rooting community investment and public finance in place, orienting it toward social equity, and ensuring that economic development, affordable housing, job creation, and wealth building are more accessible for populations in places of need across the country.”

The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy is a nonprofit, private operating foundation that provides education, training, publications, and events involving creative approaches to land as a solution to economic, social, and environmental challenges.