Opportunity Zone Magazine Volume 1, Issue 3 | Page 18

18 OPPORTUNITY ZONE MAGAZINE | VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 3 HOW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE OPPORTUNITY ZONE PROGRAM By Jerry McGaughy CDFI funds and QOFs can play an important role of increasing capital in underserved and lower income communities by partnering together. T he Opportunity Zone legislation was passed to motivate economic development and bring jobs to communities that have long been passed over. These distressed communities have been unnoticed by mainstream capital markets for too long, and now is the perfect time for Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Opportunity Zone funds work together in low-and-moderateincome (LMI) communities. CDFIs are community banks, credit unions and community loan funds who are already working in the qualified OZ areas. CDFIs know the communities and their needs, have relationships with community organizations and legislators in those areas, and already provide the debt or loans to the businesses and development projects in the areas. A CDFI fund is an entity under the U.S. Department of Treasury and goes through the certification process to apply in regional areas to OPPORTUNITYZONE.COM