(November 12, 2018)
This book locates CDFI in the long history of efforts to address financial exclusion. It weaves together the streams that made CDFI possible—philanthropy, grassroots organizing, and a federal initiative inspired by candidate Bill Clinton’s call for a network of “100 community development banks and 1,000 microenterprise programs.”
It highlights figures like Gale Cincotta, “mother” of the Community Reinvestment Act; the founders of South Shore Bank; Chuck Matthei, loan fund pioneer inspired by Gandhi and the Catholic Workers movement; Tom Miller, director of Program Related Investments for the Ford Foundation; and of course, Bill Clinton, as seen through the famous Rolling Stone interview.
It recounts the emergence of the grassroots CDFI Coalition which brought its story to Congress and helped shape the Clinton Administration’s proposal. Democratizing Finance traces the rocky legislative path to creating the CDFI Fund and sustaining it in the face of political assaults of the Gingrich “Republican Revolution” of 1994. The book concludes with a twenty-year assessment of the CDFI Fund and reflections on the nature and challenges of the CDFI field.
For those who shaped the movement as well as subsequent generations eager to learn about its roots, Democratizing Finance recounts a largely untold story. As a cofounder of the CDFI movement as well as a trained historian, I hope my book will both provide multiple perspectives on the unlikely success story of community development finance.
Democratizing Finance: Origins of the Community Development Financial Institutions Movement is now available through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, FriesenPress, and other on-line booksellers worldwide (Paperback, ISBN 978-1-5255-3663-2. Hardbound and ebook versions are also available.)