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All of us at Community First Fund are devastated by the shocking murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and many others that have highlighted the injustice and oppression prevalent throughout our country. Recent tragic events taking place in our communities are a result of deep-rooted systemic racism and years of pent-up fear, frustration, and hopelessness that is a reality of life for People of Color, particularly African-Americans.

Our team is a diverse group of dedicated changemakers driven by our mission of social justice. The reality is that some of our employees have benefitted from the sin of white privilege and they stand in solidarity with their fellow team members who have been historically oppressed. We strive to right that wrong, not just for them, but for all whose lives are impacted by racism.

Nearly thirty years ago, Community First Fund was founded by a coalition of African-American, Latino, and White community leaders. We have marched silently with others over the past days, months, and years to advance economic and social justice for disenfranchised individuals and communities. We work in solidarity with our brothers and sisters and are committed to aligning capital with justice so we may increase opportunities for economic prosperity for all.

Today, Community First Fund continues the mission of our founders and envisions vibrant and diverse communities where ALL individuals prosper and are free from poverty and discrimination. Our team stands together. Please join the fight.

 

  • Posted on: April 13th, 2018

    Community First Fund Announces $5 Million New Markets Tax Credit Allocation for Salvation Army Build Project

    Harrisburg, PA (April 13, 2018) – Community First Fund is pleased to formally announce a substantial New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation to support a build project for one of the Harrisburg area’s major nonprofit organizations.

    The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region will receive a $5 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation from Community First Fund for the construction of a new, multi-use service and worship center which will be located at 506 South 29th Street in Harrisburg. The new expanded location will allow the Army to provide vital human services to individuals and families living in each organization’s target area, which includes Dauphin, Cumberland, and Perry Counties. The services it provides includes food and basic needs assistance, self-sufficiency mentoring, and programs for children and youth.
    download this release here

  • Posted on: March 20th, 2018

    Community First Fund and Impact Harrisburg Launch New Loan Fund for Harrisburg Businesses

    Harrisburg, PA (March 20, 2018) – This morning Community First Fund and Impact Harrisburg announced the launch of the Harrisburg Business Opportunity Fund, a new loan fund dedicated to supporting business and commercial development in the City of Harrisburg.

    The program was unveiled at a press event held at the headquarters of the Pennsylvania Housing Financing Agency (PHFA) in Harrisburg. Daniel Betancourt, President and CEO of Community First Fund, Sheila Dow Ford, Executive Director of Impact Harrisburg, and Brian Hudson, Executive Director and CEO of the PHFA, spoke at the event.

    Community First Fund, a regional nonprofit community development financial institution, approached Impact Harrisburg with the idea for this dedicated loan program last year. Both organizations collaborated to create a program that would support business and commercial development in the city’s disadvantaged neighborhoods.  Ultimately, Community First received a $350,000 grant from Impact Harrisburg and a $650,000 grant from the PHFA, through its wholly-owned subsidiary the Commonwealth Cornerstone Group, to establish the Harrisburg Business Opportunity Fund. It is hoped that every dollar granted will leverage additional private and government investment, and provide more financing opportunities for Harrisburg business owners.
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  • Posted on: January 18th, 2018

    Community First Fund Announces New Board Chair

    David Schankweiler

    David Schankweiler

    Lancaster, PA (January 18, 2018) – Community First Fund, a non-profit community development financial institution headquartered in Lancaster, announces the appointment of David A. Schankweiler as the new Chairman of their Board of Directors. Their most recent board chair, R. Eric Menzer, president of York Professional Baseball (York Revolution), will continue to serve as a member of the board.

    Schankweiler is the founder and past CEO of Journal Multimedia, a multi-media publishing and events company most known in the region as the publisher of the Central Penn Business Journal and Lehigh Valley Business. After leading and growing his company for over thirty years, Schankweiler sold Journal Multimedia in 2016. He has been a strong supporter of Community First and has served as a board member since 2010.

    “We are very pleased that David is taking on this new leadership role”, states Dan Betancourt, CEO of Community First Fund. “We have already benefited from his years of service on our board and look forward to working with him more closely as we continue to grow our organization.”
    download this release here

  • Posted on: November 28th, 2017

    Community First Fund Receives Grant From Wells Fargo Foundation

    Lancaster, PA (November 28, 2017) – Community First Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) headquartered in Lancaster, PA, was recently awarded a $15,000 grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation. This funding will be used to support the organization’s Small Cities Revitalization Strategy, which helps provide technical assistance and lending activities in cities throughout the 15-county region Community First Fund serves.

    This grant will allow Community First Fund to support the start-up and expansion of existing businesses, redevelopment of blighted and vacant properties, development of affordable housing units, and support of nonprofit organizations and vital community services in cities such as Allentown, Bethlehem, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Lebanon, Reading and York.

    Community First Fund has a long-standing partnership with Wells Fargo, including recently being a participant of the Wells Fargo Diverse Community Capital program, which provides grant capital and loan capital for CDFIs across the country. Wells Fargo has also funded the Small Cities Revitalization Strategy efforts in the past, having supported the initiative for several years.

    “We are thrilled to continue working alongside Wells Fargo to improve our communities,” says Dan Betancourt, President and CEO of Community First Fund. “This $15,000 grant will allow us to continue supporting low-income individuals and communities in cities throughout our region by providing them with much-needed access to loan capital and technical assistance.”

    Representatives from Wells Fargo stopped by the Community First Fund office to present the grant check. Pictured from left to right: Michael Shultz, Sales Manager, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Franco Mazza, Lancaster District Manager, Wells Fargo Bank; Rachel Weidensaul, Business Development Officer, Wells Fargo Bank; Marybeth Snyder, Financial Advisor, Wells Fargo Bank; Joan Brodhead, Chief Operations Officer, Community First Fund; Scott Kuhn, Private Mortgage Banking Manager, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Keith Bookert, Vice President, Finance & Administration, Community First Fund; Patrick Curran, Area Manager Greater PA, Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; Laura Haffner, Regional President, Wells Fargo Bank.
    download this release here

  • Posted on: October 11th, 2017

    Community First Fund Received $10 Million Investment from the US Treasury

    Lancaster, PA (October 11, 2017) – Community First Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) headquartered in Lancaster, PA, was recently awarded a $10 million investment from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). This investment is part of the CDFI Fund’s Bond Guarantee Program, which provides long-term, fixed-rate capital for projects in low-income communities throughout our nation. Community First Fund was one eight CDFIs to receive the investment through the Opportunity Finance Network, the leading national network of CDFIs.
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  • Posted on: September 22nd, 2017

    Community First Fund Awarded $1.9 Million from the US Treasury

    Lancaster, PA (September 21, 2017) – Earlier this week, Community First Fund, a nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), was awarded two grants from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund) totaling $1.9 million. Community First Fund received one of the largest grants in the nation.

    The CDFI Fund awards are intended to help spur job creation and economic growth in communities across the country. Community First Fund was one of 303 organizations selected nationwide from a highly competitive grant application process, and one of only 8 recipient organizations in Pennsylvania. This is the sixteenth time the Lancaster-based economic development organization received an award from the CDFI Fund.
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  • Posted on: September 12th, 2017

    Community First Fund Announces Senior Lender in Lancaster Office

    Angel Rosario

    Lancaster, PA (September 12, 2017) – Community First Fund announces the appointment of Angel Rosario as Senior Community Lender for Lancaster County.  Rosario will be working out of Community First Fund’s office located at 51 South Duke Street in Lancaster.

    A resident of Ephrata, Rosario has over 10 years of financial services experience, including consumer and commercial relationship management. Prior to joining Community First Fund, he held management positions at FNB, Metro Bank and Bank of America.

    Angel attended Northampton Community College and Kutztown University where he studied business administration and finance.

  • Posted on: July 24th, 2017

    Community First Fund Announces New Business Development Associate for Capital Region Office

    Elyse Irvis

    Harrisburg, PA (July 24, 2017) – Community First Fund, a non-profit community development financial institution headquartered in Lancaster, announces the appointment of Elyse Irvis as Business Development Associate for the Capital Region. In this newly created position, Irvis will be working to build connections in the Harrisburg market, educate the community on the organization’s product and service offerings, and meet with potential loan applicants. She will be working out of Community First Fund’s Harrisburg office located at 922 North 3rd Street.

    Prior to joining Community First Fund, Irvis worked at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, City Year Philadelphia, and as an AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer with the Philadelphia Higher Education Network for Neighborhood Development.

    Irvis, a resident of Harrisburg, holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology and International Relations from Syracuse University.
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  • Posted on: July 18th, 2017

    Community First Fund NMTC Allocation Project Featured in Industry Publication

    Lancaster, PA (July 18, 2017)  – A major revitalization project currently underway in the heart of Reading Pennsylvania is featured in the latest issue of the Novogradac Journal of Tax Credits.

    Earlier this year, Community First Fund provided Shuman Development Group with a New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation for the extensive renovation of the former, historic Abraham Lincoln Hotel located in downtown Reading. The Lincoln Towers revitalization project is transforming the old hotel into a vibrant, mixed-use complex that will contain 98 affordable-rate apartments, 10 retail spaces and an adjacent 310-spot parking garage.
    read the article here

  • Posted on: April 17th, 2017

    Community First Fund Announces New Vice President in Lehigh Valley Office

    John Scott

    Lancaster, PA (April 17, 2017) – Community First Fund announces the appointment of John Scott as Vice President, Community Lending for the Lehigh Valley. Scott will be working out of Community First Fund’s office located at 612 W. Hamilton Street in Allentown.

    A resident of Upper Milford Township, Scott has over 15 years of financial services experience, including consumer and commercial relationship management. Prior to joining Community First Fund, he held management positions at PNC Bank, Santander Bank and Citizens Bank.

    Scott attended Kutztown University where he studied economics and accounting. He currently serves as a board member for the Northeast Berks Chamber of Commerce and board member and treasurer for Live, Learn & Play.
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