Education and Trainings

Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry

The Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry course is designed for practitioners who are interested in expanding their knowledge of the basics of the opportunity finance industry which provides financing and financial services to low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities. This three-day course is jointly offered by the Center for Impact Finance at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey School of Public Policy and Opportunity Finance Network.

Registration Now Open!
April 10-12, 2019 | Durham, North Carolina

Program Details

The goal of this certificate course is to develop the knowledge and capacity of community development finance professionals so that they can productively contribute to expanding their organizations’ capacity and impact. The primary objectives are to:

  • Provide participants with an understanding of the history, models, products, and players in the opportunity finance field.
  • Expose participants to best practices and trends in financing, capitalization, and operations of community development financial institutions (CDFIs).
  • Inform participants about impact measurement and evaluation as well as key policy issues impacting the industry.
  • Learn about portfolio policies and management as well as underwriting loans to CDFI borrowers.

Day 1—9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • Context, history of industry, and why CDFIs are needed
  • Where CDFIs fit within financial markets
  • Current status of the field: players, CDFI types, and size and scope of industry 
  • Models of CDFI growth to improve scale

Day 2—8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

  • How to evaluate CDFIs using a CAMEL analysis (Capital, Asset Quality, Management Earnings, and Liquidity)
  • Underwriting CDFI Borrowers
  • CDFI Hosted Site Visit

Day 3—8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

  • Lending policies and portfolio management
  • Impact measurement and evaluation
  • Public policy, advocacy, and federal programs for CDFIs
  • Student case study presentations

Thank you for your interest in applying for a scholarship.  Unfortunately, the deadline to apply has passed so we are no longer able to accept applications.


Through the generous support of BB&T, a limited number of partial scholarships are available for the Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry course in Durham, North Carolina on April 10-12, 2019.  Please note that the Scholarship Award does not cover the cost of accommodations or travel.

Selection Criteria:

  •  How well does the applicant meet the selection preferences listed below?
  •  How will the scholarship make an impact on the candidate’s professional development and to the candidate’s organization?

Selection Preferences: 

  • Practitioners who have less than three years of experience in the opportunity finance industry
  •  Practitioners who work in the following priority markets for BB&T:  AL, DC, FL, GA, KY, MD, NC, NJ, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WV, and Cincinnati.
  •  Candidates from a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), with priority to small and mid-sized CDFIs (less than $25 million in assets)


  • Candidates do not need to meet all criteria to apply.  
  •  Candidates of a diverse racial or ethnic background are encouraged to apply

Participants who will benefit from attending this course are new or recent entrants into the field of opportunity finance who want to expand their knowledge of the fundamentals of the industry.

  •  Professionals changing careers
  •  Current employees of CDFIs—focused on those who entered the field within the past three years
  •  CDFI investors and funders, including banks and foundations
  •  Government employees involved in community and economic development

Please contact us if you have any questions about our program. 

For General Questions: 

For Scholarship Questions: 

“In a very short timeframe, the course presented valuable information about the background and environment of the industry with surprisingly detailed financial analyses and spot-on case studies. A great course!”

“I am much more prepared and capable now to participate in the development of our new loan fund!”

“As a newcomer to the CDFI industry, this course provided a great opportunity to enrich my on-the-job experience. The speakers were passionate and highly effective.  Learning about Self-Help and other leaders in the industry was a great experience. And the site visit tour was great!”

“The peer learning opportunities are exceptional! My vision on capitalization and operating models has been vastly broadened. And it was great to have this training on Self-Help’s campus – what a great industry leader!!”