About the Community of Practice
This initiative entails a robust schedule of training and professional development programs designed to enable Revolving Loan Fund (RLF) operators to better address the need for flexible, accessible, recovery and growth-oriented small business financing across the country. This Community of Practice (CoP) will build RLF organizational capacity, increase qualified high-impact deployment rates of RLF funding, and build an effective and sustainable RLF cohort.
The primary goal of the CoP is to increase the capacity of RLFs to meet the needs of their local economic development strategies by:
- Increasing organizational capacity;
- Increasing the volume of loans and loan capital;
- Establishing a peer-to-peer group of RLFs to collaborate on needs, capitalization strategies, organizational capacities, and program impact; and
- Increasing understanding of broader economic development strategies through access to national expertise on topics of key interest to RLFs.
To achieve these goals, the CoP will have three primary activities:
- Organizational Self-Assessment. The CoP will create a self-assessment for organizations to identify curriculum per their needs. The self-assessment will be public in April.
- Curated Curriculum. A curated training program will include topics that cross all organizations. Results from the self-assessment will guide the training topics selected. The CoP will provide training for 3-4 cohorts and present webinars and provide resources for all RLF operators. Possible topics could include marketing techniques, the use of technology to reach out to different businesses, underwriting, and ways that defederalized money can be used by RLFs.
- National RLF Network. The CoP will establish a virtual community for RLFs to have inter-organizational conversations, access to topics of interest, and expand their involvement within the broader community development financial institution (CDFI) industry.
You can pre-register below to stay up to date on the activities for this CoP. Your registration will then be used when we establish our virtual community. Stay tuned!
What organizations are leading this CoP
The National Development Council (NDC). NDC is the program lead for this CoP. NDC is an RLF and CDFI with a history of providing technical assistance to government agencies and other CDFIs and RLFs. NDC has leveraged $4.6M in EDA grants and made $20M loans.
NDC applied to manage the RLF Community of Practice to bring its business lending and finance training expertise to increase the capacity of EDA-funded RLFs.
RLF Advisory Committee
To increase the level of collaboration among RLFs, the CoP will develop an Advisory Committee of peer RLFs to work with their RLF colleagues. These higher performing RLFs can use their experience to help other RLFs grow their expertise, origination underwriting skills, and organizational strength. This will connect RLFs to the broader capital systems in the CDFI industry and support access to other capital sources to leverage EDA resources.
Peers will provide workshops, review self-assessments, and develop and deliver content to cohort groups. Peers will extend the capabilities of the leadership team, mentor RLFs, and act as an on-going support to the RLF network. RLFs can nominate other organizations and self-nominate themselves to become part of the RLF Advisory Committee.
You can visit this link for further information about the RLF Advisory Committee nomination process.
|1st Quarter 2023||Begin establishing RLF network organization structure. Launched peer-to-peer nomination applications.|
|2nd Quarter 2023||Begin initial RLF organization self-assessments. Create initial program workshops and curriculum.|
|3rd Quarter 2023 – completion of CoP||Launch first cohort training module and virtual RLF network. 60 RLFs will participate in each cohort of trainings.|
Resources and Helpful Sites
- RLF Advisory Committee Nomination Process
- EDA Links
- National Association of Development Organizations
- Recast City
For more information, please contact RLF-COP@NDConline.org
This RLF Community of Practice is operated by the National Development Council using Federal funds under award ED22HDQ3070190 from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. The statements, findings, conclusions, and recommendations are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Development Administration or the U.S. Department of Commerce.