Women play a key role in providing homes for families and therefore are a focus for lending and investing at Enterprise. Women-led households constitute approximately 75% of families served by Enterprise Community Loan Fund’s financing activity, making access to safe, accessible, and affordable homes for women, children, and families central to our work. 

With these statistics in mind, ECLF – Enterprise’s Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) – began a more rigorous tracking of gender across our investments to better understand the interplay between affordable housing and women-led developers.

The emergence of new investment themes like the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Gender Equality Goal and Gender Lens Investing – an approach that takes gender into account across the investment process to advance equality and better inform investment decisions – presents new opportunities for CDFIs like ECLF.

In 2022, ECLF closed $73 million in financing to 20 projects led by women and $24 million in financing to two projects co-led by a women and man team, constituting 38% of all financing provided during the year. Two examples of recent partnerships with women-led teams include: 

  • A $1.5 million predevelopment loan to Excelerate Housing Group for the new construction of a 77-unit permanent supportive housing development in Long Beach, California. 
    • Excelerate Housing was founded by Dana Trujillo, an experienced affordable housing developer. Prior to founding Excelerate, Dana was an executive in the nonprofit sector, producing nearly 1,500 units of new or renovated housing, including mixed-use and mixed-income properties. Excelerate develops affordable housing and specializes in partnering with service providers who know how to operate a property and provide vital tenant services while relying on Dana and her team’s expertise in identifying properties, obtaining entitlements, securing financing, and overseeing construction until stabilization.
  • A $3.8 million acquisition loan for Crosswinds at Arista, a 159-unit new construction affordable housing project in Broomfield, Colorado, with a portion of the financing funded through the Enterprise administered Denver Regional Transit Oriented Development (TOD) Fund
    • The project was led by Kimball Crangle, the Colorado Market President for Gorman & Company, and her colleagues Lauren Schevets and Cassandra Bishop, both women. Kimball and her team are powerhouses in Colorado’s affordable housing sector.

In addition to promoting gender equity in our loan portfolio, ECLF and the CDFI industry promote gender equity across our organizations. Opportunity Finance Network’s (OFN) recent Side by Side report, a reference guide for industry practitioners, investors, and others interested in assessing the activity and performance of the opportunity finance industry, showcases gender diversity with 56% of management, 63% of staff, and 43% of board members of OFN’s member CDFIs identifying as female. ECLF exceeds these impressive industry averages with 60% of management, 78% of staff, and 83% of board members identifying as female.

Applying a gender lens to the affordable housing industry examines whether those who finance and develop affordable housing are representative of people they are working to benefit. This lens is critical to ensure that housing is designed, built, and managed with the elements that give women, children, and families the opportunity to thrive.