Capitalizing Change: Our Path Forward

City First Enterprises
Strategic Plan 2024-2026

Where We're Going - and Why

City First Enterprises (CFE) provides creative, flexible, and affordable capital that has helped thousands of individuals and businesses to transform their futures.

As a certified CDFI (Community Development Financial Institution), our financing has been part of building safe, affordable housing and critical community facilities such as childcare centers, schools, and residential shelters. We’ve also supported local businesses to launch and thrive and we’ve enabled green investments to reduce the disproportionate burden of climate change on lower-income families, especially people of color.

Our work has always centered on growth: helping our neighbors grow their wealth as we grow the strength and vibrancy of our communities together.

Our innovative new program aims to bridge the homeownership gap for Black and Latino families in the DC region, offering up to 20% of the home’s purchase price for down payments and additional purchase assistance. Ms. Russhawn Godwin is now a first-time homeowner thanks to Homes by CFE, on top of her own hard work and savings and the support she got from our partners!
The COVID-19 pandemic brought enormous challenges to the communities we serve. At the same time, we saw an unprecedented – and arguably long overdue – level of public, philanthropic, and corporate investment in community development financial institutions (including CFE) in response to the pandemic and the still-unfinished racial reckoning sparked by the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and so many others.

Together with partners and investors who demonstrated their trust in us, CFE responded to this unique mix of tragedy and opportunity, deploying over $50 million in new loans between 2021-2023 and administering over $100 million in pandemic-response grants. Meanwhile, our net assets doubled to a projected total of approximately $30 million during the period from 2021-2023.

Today, CFE is poised for three years of strategic growth to a new level of scale.

Given the impact of our work so far – and the strength of our balance sheet – CFE is positioned to significantly expand our lending and create additional products and services to address our region’s pernicious racial wealth gap and the looming inequitable impacts of climate change.

Our New Mission, Vision and Values

As we began this strategic planning journey, our leadership team committed to an inclusive process built on input and feedback from across the whole organization and beyond, including staff, board members, clients and partners.

We challenged ourselves to take a hard look at our work, our vision, and what we value – and to do so within the context of what we know today and what we can imagine in 2030, 2040 and beyond. We spent significant time authentically listening to stakeholders whose lived experiences inform their work in our communities, and to partners who work closely with us every day.

As we synthesized these insights with our staff and board, we knew it was essential for our language to affirm the agency of the individuals and communities we serve. Ultimately, we arrived at a fresh, compelling set of statements defining our vision, mission, and values.

We create equitable financial solutions to support people and communities in achieving their economic aspirations.
All people and communities transform their futures through equitable access to capital.

Our Goals

Wealth building and community development are long-term endeavors.

We know that achieving our aspirational vision is not a project for a three-year strategic plan; it is generational work, requiring at least a twenty- or thirty-year timescale. In order to establish three-year strategic goals that represent measurable progress towards a faraway future, we needed to articulate clearly what that vision means to us.

With that in mind, we defined the following descriptions of what life will look like in CFE’s footprint when our vision has become reality.

Long Term Outcomes

All people, especially people of color, build assets, reducing the wealth gap for themselves and future generations.
More people and families, especially people of color, live in quality, affordable homes as renters and owners.
All communities, especially communities of color, equitably benefit from the clean energy transition and climate change mitigation strategies.  
More businesses, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs, especially those traditionally left out of the mainstream financial system, own and operate real estate and other business assets to ensure long term success and wealth building.

With this clarity, our key strategic goals for 2024-2026 come into focus.

2024-2026 Strategic Goals

Deepen our impact by accelerating the growth of CFE’s balance sheet and new loan originations in affordable housing, commercial real estate, and emerging lines of business.
Build and rapidly expand multi-sector clean energy lending, with a focus on benefiting communities of color, to ensure equitable environmental and health benefits.
Build generational wealth by expanding Homes by CFE's homeownership lending in DC and Maryland, catalyzing additional resources and partners.
Build and strengthen CFE's talent, technology, and operational infrastructure to support the achievement of the strategic plan.
Create strong corporate communications, marketing and storytelling capabilities to advance CFE's brand and impact.

Our Lines of Business

Our strategic plan goals are structured as SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Each goal is measured using a set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). As CFE grows over the next few years, our SMART goals and KPIs will serve as guideposts for the expansion of our existing and new lines of business.

A Takoma Park, Maryland building with 232 apartment units — the majority of which are considered affordable housing — needed a loan to be able to make green energy improvements. CFE helped them move forward with the loan.

At the heart of our new Strategic Plan is the total loan originations target for 2024-26. Over the next three years, we expect to originate loans totaling at least $120 million across our lending lines of business. Relative to 2021-2023 originations, this reflects an increase of nearly 140%. This growth will be fueled by increased debt and philanthropic investments from our current and future partners.

Most importantly, this growth in lending means growth in impact. Even as we re-imagine our aspirations, our core beliefs hold true. CFE believes that capital, coupled with capacity building, is essential for people and communities to achieve their economic aspirations and transform their futures. Every day, we will keep working as a team – with our staff, clients, partners, and investors – to move towards this future together.

Affordable Housing

Going forward, over the plan period, we anticipate originating $60 million in loans to support development and preservation of quality affordable rental homes in our region.


We will develop and implement a capitalization plan to support Special Purpose Credit Program second mortgages for 100 new Black and Latino homeowners by 2026.

Commercial Real Estate

We anticipate originating $28 million in loans to serve nonprofit organizations, entrepreneurs, and others to purchase and improve property and other business assets.

Clean Energy Lending

Our strategic plan includes the development of new clean energy products and programs to help deploy at least $20 million in lending.

Grants Management

We will remain flexible, innovative, and ready to meet the needs of our communities as they emerge.
CFE supported Lamont Homes’ ambition to provide safe and supportive residential care to DC’s most vulnerable residents.

The entire CFE team thanks you – our clients, partners, funders, and investors – for joining us on the path that has brought us to this point today. We look forward to the next three years of strategic impact, and we welcome you to keep moving forward with us on this journey together.