Contact (URJ): Emily Grotta, 212.650.4227 Contact (FCLF): Joy Beaton, 941.360.1445 or Ignacio Esteban, 407.246.0846
Union for Reform Judaism Invests in Florida Community Loan Fund
(Orlando, FL November 7, 2005)The Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) announced today a $50,000 socially responsible investment from the Union for Reform Judaism (URJ) representing the first investment in the Florida Community Loan Fund by an organization in the Jewish community. The investment continues FCLFs strong history of religious support and represents a significant expansion in URJs socially responsible investment portfolio.
We are extremely pleased to be receiving an investment from the Union for Reform Judaism, said Ignacio Esteban, executive director of the Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF). We also understand our responsibility to put these funds to work in Florida to benefit low-income communities in ways that demonstrate a high social impact while preserving the safety and security of the investment.
Marshall Warshauer, chair of the Union for Reform Judaism's Investment Committee, said the Union "has a history of investing in the work of effective nonprofit lenders nationwide to support community development."
In 1997, delegates to the Unions General Assembly adopted a resolution that commits the Union to invest approximately 1.8 percent of all investment funds, including endowment and pension funds, in community development institutions. The resolution also encourages other Reform Movement organizations, including congregations, to follow similar investment practices.
The Union joins a prestigious group of major investors in the Loan Fund that include the US Department of Treasury CDFI Fund, all 7 Catholic Dioceses in the state of Florida, 17 religious orders, private foundations including the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, and the Eric & Hannah Sachs Foundation as well as nearly every major financial institution operating in Florida.
The Florida Community Loan Fund, a federally-certified Community Development Financial Institution, has delivered more than $20 million in funding and leveraged more than $130 million to support community development projects throughout Florida. It has helped build 2,039 units of affordable housing and 23 community facilities. The Loan Fund is also managing a $6 million Florida Green Communities Initiative to encourage the use of green building and energy conservation techniques in the construction of affordable housing, a Hurricane Response Fund for emergency relief and long term community rebuilding, and is developing restricted pools of capital for special needs purposes such as land banking and supportive housing for the homeless and other special needs populations.
FCLF makes capital available exclusively to nonprofits that might not be able to get a loan from conventional sources. All CDFIs work in support of community enhancements, such as affordable rental and for-sale housing, economic development, community centers and child care facilities.
Florida Community Loan Fund provides capital and technical assistance for projects that support affordable housing, economic development and social services from its offices in Orlando, Jacksonville, Gainesville, Tampa and Sarasota. Established in 1994, the Loan Fund is among the fastest growing funds of its kind in the country and a pioneer in the community development finance field in Florida. It is certified as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and as a Community Development Entity (CDE).
The Union for Reform Judaism (formerly the Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the central body of Reform Judaism in North America, uniting 1.5 million Reform Jews in more than 900 synagogues. Union services include camps, music and book publishing, outreach to unaffiliated and intermarried Jews, educational programs, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism in Washington, DC.