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Article Archives: North Dakota

Expanding Day Care and Early-Childhood Education

First Children’s Finance (FCF) is a nonprofit community development financial institution working to increase the availability of quality early-childhood education and day care for low-income families in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit provides expertise and capital to other service organization and businesses. FCF offers services, including training and support for people interested in starting child-care businesses; strategic planning support for nonprofits; and consulting.

The FCF Loan Fund has made 281 loans totaling $8.1 million to small child-care businesses and nonprofit organizations. To date, nearly 50 banks, foundations, and businesses have invested in the FCF Loan Fund. Bankers can help FCF by investing capital in its loan fund; volunteering to serve as board and loan committee members; serving as advisors to the FCF Growth Fund; and making financial contributions to FCF.

For more information, contact Jerry Cutts, FCF President and CEO, at (612) 338-3023, or e-mail, or visit
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

Business Planning and Financing for "Indianpreneurs"
The American Indian Economic Development Fund (AIEDF) provides the American Indian community with gap financing, technical assistance, and business education to stimulate and develop entrepreneurial activities on and off reservations. Since 1992, this St. Paul, Minnesota-based nonprofit organization has provided business development services and, in some cases, financing to enrolled members of federally recognized tribes in Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin. The nonprofit organization offers a 33-hour, culturally relevant curriculum to help "Indianpreneurs"—the term it uses for American Indian entrepreneurs—develop business plans and improve their management skills and personal financial literacy. The nonprofit organization boasts a 92 percent completion rate for enrolled students and attributes this success rate to a culturally sensitive approach that incorporates Native American traditions and includes Indianpreneurs as members of its faculty. AIEDF is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Native Community Development Financial Institution that provides technical assistance and financing to existing Native American businesses. Since 1992, AIEDF has provided $6 million in gap financing, through loans from $15,000 to $70,000 to Indianpreneurs and leveraged $18 million in additional financing from banks, revolving loan funds, and other sources. How can banks support AIEDF? Banks are encouraged to:

  • Refer Native American business owners needing technical assistance to AIEDF.
  • Accept AIEDF loan referrals of Indianpreneurs who have completed business plans.
  • Serve as faculty for its Indianpreneur training program and to its loan committee.
  • Assist in structuring the AIEDF loan fund into commercial loans to Native American businesses.
  • Invest in the AIEDF loan fund and support the nonprofit organization with grants and other funding.
For more information, contact David Glass at (651) 917-0819 or
[Community Developments Newsletter, Fall 2009]

Development Financing for Affordable Housing in North Dakota
CommunityWorks North Dakota (CWND) is a 13-year-old, award-winning, nonprofit affiliate of NeighborWorks America that provides financing for affordable housing in North Dakota. Persons can obtain home purchase loans, home rehabilitation and emergency repair loans, and down payment assistance from the DREAM Fund of CWND. Since the lending program began in 2001, CWND has provided more than $16 million in financing to borrowers in nearly every county in North Dakota. Two-thirds of CWND borrowers are within low- to moderate-income brackets and more than 95 percent are referred to CWND by banks. Approximately 50 banks participate as contributors and investors in the DREAM Fund, including some of the largest financial institutions in the country and many community banks.

CWND also develops affordable housing. It currently is at work on its third project, which is partially financed with low-income housing tax credits. In recognition of all of this work, the North Dakota Housing Finance Agency has honored CWND three times with its "Champion of Affordable Housing" award. CWND, a certified Community Development Financial Institution through the CDFI Fund of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, is forming a new loan fund that will provide pre-development financing to nonprofit organizations, to for-profit developers, and to municipalities for the development of affordable single-family homes and multifamily projects. Investors in this new fund include utility companies, foundations, government agencies, and financial institutions. Banks can be involved in CWND by referring prospective borrowers, providing grant funding, and serving on the governing board and other committees of CWND. For more information, visit CWND's Web site, e-mail Executive Director Paul Rechlin, or call him at (701) 255-4591.
[Community Developments Investments, Spring 2009]

The Midwest Assistance Program Loan Fund
The Midwest Assistance Program Loan Fund (MAPLF) is a nonprofit organization that provides predevelopment loans to small rural communities in nine Upper Midwest States - Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wyoming. Loans can be used for clean water and wastewater projects that serve lower-income populations. Borrowers from MAPLF are rural communities and other public water or wastewater authorities with less than 10,000 in population.

Established in 2003, MAPLF has closed seven loans totaling $105,000, has $250,000 more in process, and has sustained no losses. Loans have been made in four of the nine states in MAPLF's service region. MAPLF is an affiliate of the Midwest Assistance Program, which provides engineering, training, and other consulting services to help small rural communities plan and implement water and wastewater improvement projects. MAPLF typically funds projects that have multiple layers of funding, including grants and loans from a variety of sources. Originally capitalized with $100,000 from the Midwest Assistance Program, MAPLF also funds its loans with the proceeds of a federal grant, and is actively seeking new investors. Banks can participate by investing directly into MAPLF, by referring prospective borrowers that do not meet conventional credit criteria, and by structuring MAPLF into financing packages in which the banks would like to participate.

For more information, visit or contact Tom Kopp at (952) 758-4334 or
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Spring 2006]

Cooperative Financing in the Upper Midwest
Northcountry Cooperative Development Fund (NCDF) is a for-profit, cooperatively owned loan fund that provides financing, training and expertise to small producer, consumer, affordable-housing, worker and land cooperatives in eleven states in the upper Midwest. NCDF today has more than $8 million in assets, has made hundreds of loans to cooperatives since its founding in 1978 and has contained losses since 1978 to 0.27 percent of dollars loaned. Investors in NCDF include banks, cooperatives, religious orders, foundations and others. Certified by the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund as a CDFI and as a community development entity, NCDF also has funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help develop and finance rural housing cooperatives, and NCDF last year established a community development credit union that helps members of cooperatives finance their membership shares. Banks are involved with NCDF as co-lenders, as investors and on the board of directors.

For more information, contact Margaret Lund at (612) 331-9103 or at NCDF's web site is
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Summer 2004]

Low-Income Housing Tax Credits and Equity Funds=Affordable Housing
The North Dakota Housing Finance Agency (NDHFA) has joined with the Montana Board of Housing and the Wyoming Community Development Authority to form the Mountain Plains Equity Group, Inc. (MPEG). MPEG intends to support the development of affordable multifamily housing in rural and urban communities throughout the tri-state area. MPEG is structured as a nonprofit corporation to make investments in low- income housing tax credit (LIHTC) projects and potentially historic tax credit projects. The LIHTC program allows owners of low-income housing to receive an annual federal tax credit for up to 10 years depending on the amount of capital invested in a project and the level of the project's commitment to serving low-income tenants. Equity funds typically serve as an investment vehicle for banks and insurance companies who, by investing in affordable housing projects, are seeking to: (1) meet social responsibilities, (2) receive Community Reinvestment Act consideration, and (3) earn a return on their investment.

Contact: Mountain Plains Equity Group (406) 254-1677;
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Fall 2004]

Venture Capital in the Midwest
Venture Capital Fund Hopewell Ventures, L.P. in July 2003 received its "Go Forth" letter from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), a key step toward becoming a Small Business Investment Company. Hopewell, raising up to $150 million of capital, will invest $1 to $5 million in early- to later-stage companies in a dozen Midwestern states -- between Nebraska and Ohio, the Canadian border and Kentucky -- that Hopewell says are underserved by venture capital sources. Banks can invest in Hopewell Ventures as limited partners, can refer companies needing an equity infusion, and can provide banking services to companies in which Hopewell has invested. Hopewell's sister fund, $34 million Adena Ventures, serving Appalachian Ohio and West Virginia, was the first New Markets Venture Capital Company designated by SBA.

Contact: Tom Parkinson at (312) 357-9600;;
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2003]