Investment Connection: Opening the Door for Community Reinvestment
The St. Louis Fed’s Investment Connection program brings together bankers, nonprofit organizations, foundations, and public and private funders to explore local community development initiatives—particularly those serving low- and moderate-income (LMI), distressed and underserved communities.
How It Works
Investment Connection provides a platform for community and economic development organizations to exchange ideas and pitch Community Reinvestment Act (CRA)-eligible projects to financial institutions and other funders.
Interested organizations submit their proposals to the St. Louis Fed to determine CRA eligibility. Those with projects that meet the program’s guidelines—related to staffing and operational capacity—may have an opportunity to present their proposals to potential funders during live events. While securing funding is a critical aim, participants also get the chance to connect with other organizations that have missions supporting LMI communities.
Since the program’s inception in 2017:
- The St. Louis Fed has hosted 11 proposal rounds and events across its District.
- 130 organizations have submitted proposals, with 72 presenting at live events.
- 336 bankers and other funders have attended the live events.
- The majority of proposals have focused on community facilities and services. Others have addressed neighborhood revitalization and stabilization, affordable housing, and small-business, economic and workforce development.
- Participating organizations have made 572 documented connections and committed nearly $2.6 million in grants, loans and investments to community and economic development projects.
All numbers are as of Jan. 31, 2020.
Opportunities for Funders
Community development financial institutions, banks, private foundations, government funding agencies and corporate funders are introduced through Investment Connection to high-impact community development proposals that are prescreened for CRA credit by St. Louis Fed consumer compliance examiners. All would-be funding partners have the capacity to invest, lend or provide services in support of CRA activities.
What Activities Qualify for CRA Credit?
An important part of the Investment Connection program is ensuring that the projects seeking funding meet CRA requirements. Regulations define four categories for CRA-eligible purposes:
- Affordable housing
- Community facilities and services, including financial education, financial counseling, charter schools, community centers and day care facilities
- Activities that promote economic development by financing small businesses and farms, including workforce development and small-business technical assistance
- Neighborhood revitalization or stabilization in LMI geographies, distressed or underserved nonmetropolitan middle-income areas, or designated disaster areas
Through Investment Connection, participants get to learn more about the CRA and what funders look for in potential projects and partners.
How to Get Involved
The St. Louis Fed’s Community Development team provides outreach, training and networking opportunities to help organizations, bankers and other funders collaborate effectively. View more on how to get involved.
NOTE: The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis is not a grant-making organization. The purpose of its presenting the Investment Connection program is to facilitate education, information sharing and potential opportunities related to the CRA. The St. Louis Fed does not endorse or make any representations as to the propriety or suitability of the participating organizations, investments or programs. Organizations should perform their own due diligence before engaging in any transactions with these entities to ensure that any such transactions meet the organization's objectives.