Mission and History
The Rainier Valley Community Development Fund is a self-sustaining, community-controlled financial institution that preserves and strengthens cultural diversity, long-term livability, and economic opportunity for Rainier Valley residents, businesses, and institutions.
Rainier Valley Community Development Fund (RVCDF) is a self-sustaining, community- controlled financial institution. Guided by its mission to preserve and strengthen cultural diversity, long-term livability, and economic opportunity throughout Seattle’s Rainier Valley community, RVCDF provides lending capital and technical assistance to small-business owners, entrepreneurs, and developers to enhance the quality of life in the Rainier Valley.
RVCDF’s loan products and technical assistance are designed to support small business owners who generally are not served by traditional banks. By providing small business and real estate loans— and by assisting underserved potential clients to overcome obstacles that prevent them from being “loan ready”— business owners in the Rainier Valley are able to retain and create local jobs, provide goods and services to meet local needs, and contribute to economic growth within their community. RVCDF’s clients include affordable housing providers, community facilities, real estate investors, and small neighborhood businesses.
RVCDF has made loans to Rainier Valley businesses and real estate projects using the original funds provided by the City of Seattle and Sound Transit. As those loans have been repaid, RVCDF has “revolved” those funds back into the community by making new loans. RVCDF has used the interest payments from these loans to become a self-sustaining organization, and since 2016 no longer relies on supplemental grants for operations.
RVCDF has recently received certification as a community development financial institution (CDFI), a recognition by the U.S. Department of the Treasury of specialized financial institutions that serve low-income communities. With this certification, the organization has been able to pursue new funding sources for community development loans.
RVCDF was created in 2002 as a community-based, community-controlled nonprofit organization for the purpose of managing a $50 million fund that was created through grants from the City of Seattle ($42.8 million) and Sound Transit ($7.2 million) for four purposes:
- Provide one-time supplemental mitigation support to businesses that were affected by light rail construction through the Rainier Valley,
- Create a four-year pre-apprenticeship job training program,
- Business lending, and
- Real estate