Certificate in Community Development Finance

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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 the Opportunity Finance Network.

UNH and OFN have decided to forgo an in-person course for 2022, as we remain committed to protecting the health and safety of our event attendees and our staff. Instead, the 2022 Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry course will be run as a virtual offering. Past registrants from 2020 and those on the waitlist will be contacted soon with more details and will be given priority registration. The team is currently adapting the course materials and developing a virtual training that will continue to meet the needs of those in the field of opportunity finance aiming to expand their knowledge of the industry. Thank you for your patience and understanding!

*Due to the high demand for course enrollment, the 2022 Session 1 cohort will be limited to CDFI institutions. Non-CDFI institutions will be notified and accepted if space becomes available.

*Due to staffing changes, Session 1 will be pushed to a later date in 2022. Check back soon for updates.

Add Your Name to the Notification List

Everyone on the notification list will be alerted of course details and registration for future sessions.

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.

Virtual curriculum is currently in development for the 2022 course.

In-person course curriculum is below (from past courses).

Day 1—10:00 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

Session 1

  • Dates: TBD - check back soon for updates
    • Virtual Classes:
      • Dates: Three consecutive Wednesdays
      • Time: 2-3:30 p.m. EST
    • Total Course Hours: 10 hours (consists of a 90-minute Zoom class on Wednesdays and another 1-2 hours of outside class work each week)

Sessions 2 & 3

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

*Due to the high demand for course enrollment, the May 2022 cohort will be limited to CDFI institutions. Non-CDFI institutions will be notified and accepted if space becomes available.

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“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!!”

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

Laurie Smith
Carsey School of Public Policy

Headshot of OFN SVO Tina Poole Johnson

Tina Poole Johnson
Opportunity Finance Network

With program support from:

Logo for the Self-Help Credit Union.


OFN logo


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JP Morgan Chase & Co. logo


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The Fundamentals of the Opportunity Finance Industry program is jointly offered by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and Opportunity Finance Network.