Brief #4: Community Economic Development Organizations & Their Financial Health

Community Economic Development Organizations & Their Financial Health is the fourth report in the Money Meet Community series. For the first time in the history of our field, we have a definitive statement on the financial health of community development organizations nationwide. The findings defy negative misperceptions about their financial health.

The report finds 82 percent are in adequate-to-excellent financial health. That holds largely true for organizations of all sizes. "The vitality of the field surpassed my expectations," said Frank Woodruff, executive director of NACEDA. "These organizations are ripe for investment, as are the communities they serve. It's high time policymakers and funders sit up and take notice.”

The report represents a groundbreaking milestone in providing comprehensive, verifiable understanding of the field’s financial health field nationwide. The innovative methodology was created by authors Kevin Morris, senior vice president of NeighborWorks America, and research consultant Chris Walker. With NACEDA's support, the authors adapted an evaluation process used by NeighborWorks America to assess the financial health of their network to create a new tool for assessing financial health of the community development field nationally. The community development field channels over $25 billion in revenue annually to provide affordable housing, support small businesses, and deliver essential services to disinvested communities. 

The report's recommendations:

Provide operational support. Increase flows of reliable core-operating support, invest in technical support, and provide flexible, low-cost capital to strengthen organizations’ financial health.

Bolster smaller organizations. Support smaller groups’ financial health to ensure an equitable distribution of community development efforts throughout the United States.

Develop the national network of intermediaries. Cultivate groups dedicated to increasing the stability and productivity of community developers to improve the sector’s financial health.

The third brief in the series, Community Economic Development Organizations, Geography & Financial Resources, analyzes how resources and community economic development organizations are distributed across the United States. 

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