100 years

Hawai‘i Community Foundation
Capacity Building for Community Development Financial Institutions

Full Color

For many individuals, nonprofits, and small businesses in Hawaiʻi, getting access to much-needed financing can be difficult.
That’s where Community Development Financial Institutions, or CDFIs, come in.

CDFIs are mission-driven specialized lenders that provide fair, responsible, low-interest financing to rural, urban, Native, and other communities that mainstream banks don’t traditionally reach. CDFI lending can lead to the creation of more small businesses, homeownership and living wage jobs, and directly contribute to the health and stability of communities across Hawaiʻi.

A 3-year program, launched in 2021, supports capacity building within a cohort of local CDFIs, with the goal of helping them become stronger and more effective in the communities they serve. Cohort members meet regularly for knowledge sharing and collaboration, and the program provides resources for the cohort to submit quality applications to the U.S. Treasury's CDFI Fund, as well as technical assistance using individualized and group approaches toward its improvement goal.

The program’s expected outcomes include:

  • Support of the development and growth of Hawai‘i’s CDFIs and Hawai‘i’s community development finance system, so that communities can finance the projects they need.
  • Ensuring Hawai‘i can leverage a fair share of federal dollars available to support the community development finance system nationally. The goal is to have at least $5 million awarded from the federal CDFI Fund to cohort CDFIs by 2024.
  • Generating opportunities for direct investment in the local community development finance system by Hawai‘i foundations, trusts, banks, and other socially motivated investors.

The Kresge Foundation, who led the idea of a CDFI cohort and supported its implementation, recently produced a 7-minute video that shines a light on the work being done in Hawaiʻi, and the partnerships that are helping make forward progress. Watch now. The program is supported through funding from The Kresge Foundation, Hau‘oli Mau Loa Foundation, The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Kamehameha Schools, Bank of Hawai‘i/Federal Home Loan Bank’s Member Impact Fund, and Hawai‘i Community Foundation.

The Current Cohort of CDFIs:

The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement (CNHA)

Headquartered in Kapolei, CNHA is a Native Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) certified by the U.S. Treasury department and a HUD-Certified Housing Counseling agency. It provides access to capital, financial education, and individualized financial counseling services, with a focus on low- and moderate-income families. CNHA serves as a National Intermediary, providing grants and loans targeting underserved communities in Hawaiʻi. hawaiiancouncil.org

Hawai‘i Habitat for Humanity Association (HHHA)

Founded in 1996, Hawaii Habitat for Humanity Association Inc. is the affiliate support organization for the five local Habitat for Humanity affiliates or community-level offices that act in partnership and on behalf of Habitat for Humanity International. Hawaii Habitat is also a CDFI working to promote economic development in Hawaii. HHHA makes construction loans via the revolving loan program to Habitat affiliates in Hawaiʻi, partners with area businesses, landowners, and local and state governments, advocates for affordable housing, provides technical assistance, and supports local Habitat affiliates through its CDFI. hawaiihabitat.org

Hawai‘i Community Reinvestment Corporation (HCRC)

HCRC is a 501(c)(3) CDFI and Community Development Entity (CDE). It works to nurture affordable housing, education, environmental sustainability, health and human services, and culture and the arts in Hawaiʻi by providing access to financial lending products. HCRC’s mission is to facilitate affordable housing, community development, and economic development throughout Hawaiʻi by providing innovative financing, training, and consulting services to organizations who serve underserved and disadvantaged communities. hcrchawaii.com

HHOC Mortgage

HHOC Mortgage is a nonprofit mortgage broker that serves borrowers seeking financing for an existing home, whether a purchase or a refinance. HHOC’s primary target group served is low- to moderate-income borrowers who can benefit from its unique first-time-buyer products. First mortgages are available in Conventional, VA, FHA, or USDA programs. To assist those who have only three percent down payment funds, HHOC Mortgage offers Down Payment Assistance Loans (DPAL) as second mortgages with competitive fixed rates amortized up to 30-years. HHOC Mortgage also provides financial support to Hawaii Homeownership Center to ensure continuance of its homebuyer education and financial coaching services. hhocmortgage.org

Hawai‘i Community Lending (HCL)

HCL is a nonprofit CDFI certified by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Started in 2002 as a mortgage broker under Hawaiian Community Assets and founded as a subsidiary nonprofit in 2014, HCL funds affordable housing ecosystem from home buyers to home builders to homeowners. HCL’s mission is to build the capacity of low- and moderate-income communities to achieve and sustain economic self-sufficiency, with a particular focus on Native Hawaiians. HCL envisions a future in which all Native Hawaiians will own a home and reconnect to ʻāina for spirituality, food security, and healing of generational trauma from the systematic separation of the people from their ancestral lands. hawaiicommunitylending.com

Lei Hoʻolaha

Lei Hoʻolaha is a CDFI specializing in providing affordable loans and financial education for people in Native Hawaiian communities, since 2011, including the small business sector. Lei Hoʻolahaʻs mission is to improve the educational and economic status of Native Hawaiians and low-income people by providing education, training, and financial products to community based organizations, public entities, and individuals throughout Hawaiʻi. leihoolaha.org


  • CDFI Year 1 Progress Report


Interested in learning more? Contact Michelle Ka‘uhane, Senior Vice President & Chief Impact Officer, by calling 808.566.5545 or email MKauhane@hcf-hawaii.org.