Citi Foundation: Community Development Finance Innovation Fund

Citi Foundation

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Predicted Deadline
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Predicted deadline: May 24, 2024 1:00pm PDT

Grant amount: Up to US $500,000

Fields of work: Financial Literacy Community Development & Revitalization Economic Services & Development Economic Rights & Justice Business Development

Applicant type: Nonprofit

Funding uses: Education / Outreach, General Operating Expense, Project / Program, Capital Project, Training / Capacity Building

Location of project: Preferred: California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Virginia Other eligible locations: United States, Puerto Rico

Location of residency: United States, Puerto Rico

990 Snapshot



NOTE: Select organizations that submit ideas by the deadline above will be invited to apply for funding, which will be awarded on a rolling basis. 

Citi Foundation has been a longtime supporter of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) in the United States and recognizes the critical role they play in bringing financial services to low- and moderate-income and underserved communities. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the CDFI industry reported a dramatic 52.3% increase in lending and investment activity over previous levels, totaling more than $38.7 billion in financing. While this is a milestone moment for the CDFI sector, we have heard from our network of stakeholders that there is a need for further sector level investments in training and technical assistance to promote the adoption of best practices in financial management, portfolio management, underwriting practices, impact measurement and tracking. In addition, operational efficiencies could be boosted through the introduction of technology, outsourcing certain functions, leveraging shared services, industry consolidation and/or newly emerging risk-sharing models. And finally, there is a significant need for developing human talent in the industry through skill building as well as efforts to identify and nurture the next generation of future, and diverse, CDFI leaders.

In response, Citi Foundation is pleased to invite ideas to support this next level of growth for the CDFI industry through the creation of the new $50MM Community Finance Innovation Fund that will support intermediary-like nonprofit organizations with the ability to provide technical assistance and capacity building innovations to multiple CDFIs working on a national or regional basis. From the ideas submitted, the Citi Foundation will invite the most promising concepts to submit grant applications for funding.


Citi Foundation seeks to support a wide range of innovative approaches for advancing the field of community development finance for the benefit of CDFIs in the following categories:

  • Human Capital and Talent Development
  • Financial and Risk Sharing Models
  • Technology and Operational Efficiencies
  • Thought Leadership and Research

You can learn more about this opportunity by visiting the funder's website.


  • Applicants must:
    • Applicant organizations or their fiscal sponsors must be tax-exempt public charities as perSection 501(c)3 of the Internal Revenue Code.
    • Applicant organizations or their fiscal sponsors must be able to submit at least one year ofaudited financial statements covering all or part of fiscal year 2020.


  • Priority will be given to ideas that seek to address an identified and measurable gap in the field of community development finance that directly affects CDFIs.
  • Priority will be given to organizations that demonstrate a strong commitment to Diversity,Equity and Inclusion and an intentionality to apply a racial equity lens to the field of community development finance.
  • In addition to ideas that have the ability and/or intent to achieve regional or national scale, the Foundation has a strong interest in ideas that impact low- and moderate-income and underserved communities within Citi Foundation’s strategic U.S. markets: California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, South Dakota, Virginia, and Washington DC. 


  • Grant funds cannot be used for political or lobbying purposes, including without limitation, independent expenditures.
  • What type of organization will not be considered?
    • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, sex, gender identity or expression, color, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, veteran’s status or other legally protected personal characteristics or status.
    • Religious or fraternal organizations (unless they are engaged in projects that benefit the entire community).
    • Public agencies, including municipal or country governments, school districts, independent authorities or agencies.
    • Private foundations.
    • Organizations that primarily focus on political causes.
    • Non-CDFI certified loan funds or financial institutions.
    • CDFIs not incorporated as 501c(3)s.


This page was last reviewed April 13, 2023 and last updated April 13, 2023