Initiative to strengthen Southwest Latino communities

Citi and Raza Development Fund Program for community development projects in border counties and major cities

Citi today announced the launch of a new program, in collaboration with Raza Development Fund (RDF), to support its community development lending programs that serve Latino and low-income families across the Southwestern United States. Under this program, named the Southwest Community Development Initiative, RDF will deploy $100 million in capital over five years for community development projects in border counties and cities in South Texas, Arizona and California. The program, made possible in part by a $1 million capacity-building grant from the Citi Foundation, will help RDF advance its work in increasing affordable housing, education and health services opportunities for low- to-moderate-income Latino communities.

As an example of the type of work RDF will be doing in the region, RDF is partnering with The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley in Pharr, Texas, near the U.S.-Mexico border, to provide capital for a much-needed building renovation to increase the organization's service capacity. The Food Bank currently serves over 88,000 people per month and, after the renovation, plans to expand its services to more than double this volume. It serves a significantly distressed community with a poverty rate of over 43 percent and unemployment of just under 15 percent. Other projects of the Southwest Community Development Initiative will include charter schools, health clinics and community facilities.

"At Citi, our goal is to develop innovative solutions to improve the lives of low- to moderate-income families and to revitalize disinvested communities," said Pamela Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation. "By funding the Southwest Community Development Initiative, Citi is increasing the capacity of RDF to bolster the local economies of communities and cities along the border."

"Citi has been a significant and committed partner of RDF and the Latino community," said Tommy Espinoza, President and CEO of RDF. "We are proud to partner with them on another innovative community-building initiative that will help support low-income communities. Nonprofit organizations are the anchors of our Latino communities. This new program will be critical to helping organizations, such as The Food Bank of the Rio Grande Valley, increase their capacity and become an even greater force in stabilizing and strengthening the communities that they serve." Click here to view a video of Tommy Espinoza discussing the Southwest Community Development Initiative.

As a support corporation of the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), RDF is the largest Latino Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in the U.S., with total assets in excess of $100 million. Since 2004, Citi and the Citi Foundation have provided NCLR and RDF with more than $10 million in grants and contributions that support community development and capacity building projects across the country.


Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.