In 1996 an extraordinary group of financial and philanthropic institutions came together to form the Neighborhood Opportunities Fund (NOF) to provide support for New York’s Community Development Corporations. Over the course of nearly 20 years, NOF’s two-dozen corporate and foundation donors invested a total of $25 million, funding 34 organizations in consecutive four-year cycles to strengthen their capacity to rebuild underserved communities and increase the supply of affordable housing.
In 2012, it became apparent to NOF that revitalizing low-income neighborhoods required more comprehensive strategies; NOF began to explore new solutions to address the challenge of persistent, geographically concentrated poverty and its link to poor outcomes in education, health, jobs, housing stability, safety, economic mobility, and quality of life. The donor collaborative saw a need to change its funding priorities. Change Capital Fund was launched by the donors to help established community-focused nonprofits expand economic opportunity for individuals and families.
In early 2013, Change Capital Fund’s donor collaborative selected ten organizations, through a competitive process, to participate in a seven-month planning phase, and granted each $50,000 and technical assistance support to create business plans. The donors later chose organizations to receive $250,00 each over four years to create new, data-driven strategies to fight poverty. The organizations are:
- Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
- Fifth Avenue Committee
- New Settlement Apartments
- St. Nicks Alliance Corporation
CCF provided the first installment of the grants to the grantees in May 2014.
CCF was publicly launched at an event on June 2, 2014 where the leaders of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development, NYC Economic Development Corporation, Center for Economic Opportunity and NYC Department of Small Business Services each spoke in strong support of the CCF’s holistic and data-driven strategy. Some 100 stakeholders joined the event, including representatives of the NYC Housing Authority, the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, and leaders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors.