One North LaSalle Street
Suite 700
Chicago, IL  60602-3942
(312) 629-0060
(312) 629-0065
Executive Director:
Mr. Joe Neri
Web Site:

IFF was created in 1988 by The Chicago Community Trust to enable nonprofit corporations to own real estate to build net assets and improve the quality of facilities for staff and clients. IFF pioneered long-term real estate loans tailored to the financial structure of its borrowers, whose revenue is stable over time but does not support market rate financing. IFF does not lend against appraised value of real estate and maintains below market rates. In 1990 IFF was asked by the State of Illinois to solve the need for subsidized child care centers throughout the state.A Trust grant of $2 million facilitated $25 million of investment and the first tax-exempt bond issue for this purpose. This led to the creation of IFF's Real Estate Services division. In 1991, IFF attracted significant foundation funding, and began borrowing low-interest capital from banks. IFF also borrows fromfoundations, religious investors and insurance companies. IFF employs New Markets Tax Credits and tax-exempt bond financing for the benefit of borrowers. Today IFF serves five states but the Chicago Metro area remains its largest customer base. IFF has added the arts, housing and land trusts to its target market, and in 2007 launched the first statewide housing lending and development program with a grant from the Trust. In 2011, IFF launched Home First Illinois, a wholly-owned subsidiary of IFF that develops and owns integrated housing for people with disabilities.

Mission Statement:
IFF is a nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) whose mission is to finance nonprofits providing critical services to low-income communities. IFF helps nonprofit corporations through long-term loans for facilities, consulting for facilities planning and development, and the development of innovative financingstrategies. In addition, IFF strengthens the nonprofit operating environment by conducting research and leading targeted public policy initiatives.

Current Program:
Loan ProgramIFFs standard product is a long-term, fixed-rate, below-market loan for the acquisition, construction and/or rehabilitation of real estate. IFF also lends for leasehold improvements, vehicles and equipment and working capital. Loan officers work closely with borrowers to provide guidance on financial decisions and feedback on real estate development budgets. In 2012 IFF launched the Healthy Foods Access Program to provide affordable financing to nonprofits and retail grocers to increase healthy food access in food deserts. As of September 30, 2012, IFF has made 986 loans totaling $382.3 million.Real Estate ServicesIn 1996, IFF formally established a real estate consulting program to meet the needs of nonprofit borrowers seeking facilities planning and development services. Today, Real Estate Services (RES) has 15 staff providing real estate consulting, project planning and construction management services. Reflecting IFF’s commitment to green building practices, four staff members are LEED-accredited. Below-market fees are charged based on the hourly cost to IFF. As of September 30, 2012, IFF has completed 504 real estate projects.Community StrategiesIn 2012 IFF established Community Strategies as a new division to leverage IFFs consulting expertise, knowledge and capital to provide comprehensive community development solutions for underserved communities. Three existing program areas, IFF Housing, Health Care for Healthy Communities, and School Services, were moved into the new Community Strategies division. These are three sectors in which IFF has the greatest opportunity to lead proactive development. Community Strategies will be proactive: it will identify and lead financing and real estate initiatives that respond to the needs of low-income communities through strategies that will combine affordable housing, transit-oriented developments, school choice and health care facilities. Public Policy and ResearchIFF has been engaged in education, research, advocacy and public policy for many years. These activities generally respond to trends or emerging issues that affect the operating environment for nonprofits. These activities also identify areas for future growth and help IFF plan accordingly. Examples include the growth of charter schools, the changes underway in the community health center sector, and grocery stores in high need communities. These are three areas in which IFF has major financing and/or real estate development programs. IFFs policy activities extend to involvement in local, state, regional and federal issues that affect the nonprofit sector. Most of the research undertaken by IFF is needs assessments for the location and capital needs of services such as health care, charter schools, supportive housing and child care. Recently IFF has undertaken studies of demand for charter schools and other public school reform efforts in Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Denver, Washington DC, and Indianapolis.

Grants Since 2007:
YearProgram AreaAmount
2011*Community Development$125,000.00
2011*Community Development$125,000.00
2011Community Development$5,000.00
2009Community Development$100,000.00
2007*Community Development$80,000.00

* Searle Funds at The Chicago Community Trust