Health Centers for Healthy Communities gets boost

Citi and IFF partner to develop new community healthcare infrastructure in five Midwest states

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In July, Citi Community Development, which works to achieve economic empowerment and growth for communities and build sustainable business solutions, and IFF, a leading Chicago- based Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), announced a partnership to develop new community healthcare infrastructure.

'Health Centers for Healthy Communities' will use at least $75 million in private sector capital to develop a minimum of 10 community-based healthcare clinics in five Midwest states.

IFF has extensive experience in financing healthcare facilities, and the new model will combine its financing and real estate development services.

Citi Community Development is contributing $200,000 to support the new model, including all necessary market research, policy analysis and community outreach.

By the end of the year, development will be ready to start on non-profit clinics in Chicago and the rest of Illinois, as well as Indiana, Iowa, Missouri and Wisconsin.

"There is a strong consensus that investing in community health centers is a cost-effective means of delivering high-quality healthcare to underserved communities," said Joe Neri, CEO of IFF. "Our goal will be speed and simplicity, and to develop a model that will prove transformative for communities across the Midwest and nation."

According to Laura Sparks, Director of Development Finance Initiatives at Citi Community Development, the model goes beyond the creation of low-cost, high-quality healthcare. "It also creates job opportunities, incorporates green construction and spurs other community development projects as these centers stimulate their local economies," she said.

The partnership follows a meeting earlier this year between Citi CEO Vikram Pandit and the leaders of various Midwestern CDFIs, to discuss local needs for which Citi could develop solutions.

The new development model will cultivate community partnerships while developing IFF's slate of projects and enhancing finance structures.

IFF has borrowed $20 million from the Communities At Work Fund, a $200 million CDFI lending fund created by Citi in partnership with Calvert Foundation and Opportunity Finance Network. It is the leading non-profit facilities lender in the United States, having closed more than 850 loans totaling over $310 million and representing project costs of nearly $1 billion.

These projects have created more than 41,000 jobs.