SFCIF supports projects and programs that promote community building and/or civic engagement on behalf of all San Francisco residents.

Frequently Asked Questions

 
GENERAL QUESTIONS
  • What is the San Francisco Community Investment Fund (SFCIF)?
    • The San Francisco Community Investment Fund ("SFCIF") is a nonprofit (501-C3) organization established by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency whose mission is to help finance high impact projects in San Francisco's highly distressed communities through the Federal Government's New Markets Tax Credit Program.

      SFCIF is a certified Community Development Entity (CDE) through the Federal Government's Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund). The CDFI Fund distributes New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) to certified CDEs and financial institutions to help attract funding for projects that promote economic revitalization and community development in low-income communities.

  • What does SFCIF do?
    • Using New Market Tax Credits (NMTCs) to attract private investors, SFCIF elevates traditionally disadvantaged communities by providing creative funding solutions to projects with substantial and sustainable social impact.

      SFCIF offers loans and other creative financing solutions to project partners in distressed areas.

      SFCIF provides investors with financially sound options for impact investing.

  • Why was SFCIF established?
    • The San Francisco Community Investment Fund (SFCIF) was established to address the City's need for alternative investment options to support projects in economically-challenged communities.

      SFCIF is a certified Community Development Entity (CDE) under the Federal New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. As a CDE, SFCIF is able to use New Market Tax Credits (NMTCs) to help fund projects with substantial community benefits in blighted communities.

  • Is SFCIF a government entity?
    • No. While SFCIF was established by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, it is a legally separate entity.
  • Who manages SFCIF?
    • SFCIF is governed by a five member Board of Directors made up of City and County of San Francisco officials who represent various projects either funded by or strong candidates from SFCIF. Each Board member serves on an ex-officio basis, while serving in his or her respective positions within the City. In addition to the Board of Directors, the SFCIF has a ten member Advisory Board comprised of five members selected from Agency project areas and five members selected by the Mayor. The Board of Directors is responsible for making investment decisions for projects.
  • What are New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs)?
    • NMTCs are incentives in the form of credits against federal taxes provided to investors to encourage them to invest in economically distressed areas where capital for a broad range of investments has not traditionally been available.
  • How does the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program work?
    • New Market Tax Credits are competitively awarded by the Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) of the US Department of Treasury to organizations known as Community Development Entities (CDEs) which are meant to function as financial institutions specifically serving the needs of distressed communities. CDEs raise capital from investors in exchange for NMTCs and other economic benefits, and invest that capital into projects that stimulate economic development in depressed areas.
  • What is the Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund)?
    • The Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) was established by the Department of Treasury as a kind of community development bank. It was established with the purpose of stimulating economic development in depressed areas. The CDFI Fund is an institution that knows the credit needs of the community and has the skills and knowledge to seek out credit-worthy businesses or projects that mainstream banks might overlook.
  • What type of projects does SFCIF help fund?
    • SFCIF helps fund qualified projects that both operate within and provide a range of economic, social and cultural improvements to distressed communities. These projects must also meet specific NMTC Program requirements and can include manufacturing and service businesses, to commercial and industrial projects such as retail real estate developments, office buildings and warehouses, to mixed use commercial and housing developments to community facilities such as child care centers and charter schools.

      Non-qualified projects include liquor stores, racetracks, gambling facilities, massage parlors, hot tub or suntan facilities, golf courses and country clubs.

      For specific funding eligibility criteria, please click here

  • How does SFCIF help the community?
    • SFCIF helps the San Francisco community by stimulating investment capital into underserved areas. Through the incentive of New Market Tax Credits, SFCIF attracts private capital to projects that both operate in and provide a wide range of benefits to distressed communities. This capital then allows SFCIF to provide alternative, more flexible funding opportunities to organizations that would not normally qualify for traditional financing.

      Therefore, SFCIF's positive community impacts occur on numerous levels from the organization or project itself, to the distressed community served by the organization or project, to the broader San Francisco community as a whole.

 
QUESTIONS ON LENDING

 

 

 
  • How does the SFCIF loan program work?
    • SFCIF acts as a bridge between the capital markets and low-income communities by lending the investment capital to qualified projects. The Fund is administered by Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and the Internal Revenue Service with allocated funds from U.S. Treasury.

      SFCIF maintains accountability to residents of low-income communities through representation on its Advisory Board. The NMTC program permits investors to receive a credit against federal income taxes for making equity investments in Community Development Entities (CDEs). SFCIF sells its tax credits to investors in exchange for cash. The money raised from investors is used to provide low-cost financing to entities that develop qualified projects in low-income communities. Equity generated from the sale of NMTCs can fill financing gaps on eligible projects, and can often cover up to 30 percent of a project's total development costs.

  • I am an organization that serves a distressed community. How do I know if my project qualifies?
    • The first step in determining if your project qualifies for a SFCIF loan is identifying whether your project is located within a qualified San Francisco census track area. To locate qualified areas, please click here.

      The second step is determining if it meets NMTC Program requirements:

      1) Location Project/organization and the community served by project/organization must be located in an economically distressed area which is defined as:

      30% or greater poverty rate; or

      Median income lower than 60% of metropolitan median income; or

      Unemployment rate at least 1.5 times the national average

      2) Community Impact Project/organization must have a positive community impact such as: job and wealth creation, social services, tax increment potential, sustainable development and other economic benefits;

      3) Meet Targeted Project Types Project/organization must be one of the following:

      Retail

      Industrial

      Mixed-Use

      4) Project readiness Project must demonstrate at application an ability to move forward and close within 3–6 months.

      SFCIF will consider all of the above criteria within the context of its own available funding resources and timeline when making the final decision to fund a project. It is SFCIF's goal to create the most positive impact with its NMTC allocations.

  • What type of projects/organizations are not eligible for a SFCIF loan?
    • The following projects/organizations are not eligible: residential rental property (e.g., buildings or structures, which derived 80% or more of its gross rental income from renting dwelling units); private or commercial golf courses; county clubs; massage parlors, hot tub facilities, suntan facilities; race tracks and other gambling facilities; stores where the principal business is the sale of alcoholic beverages for consumption off premises; and farming businesses if the aggregate unadjusted bases of assets (owned or leased) at the close of the taxable year exceeds $500,000.

  • What is the application process for a SFCIF loan?
    • Before submitting a proposal to the SFCIF, please email or call us. You must then complete a pre-application form form online covering the following information:

      General contact information

      Project background and information

      Organizational background and information

      Community benefits detail and information

      Once your project has been pre-approved, a more thorough application with official documentation must be submitted.

      Given the limited time frame SFCIF has to deploy its NMTC allocations, proposed projects must demonstrate at application an ability to move forward and close within 3 to 6 months. Furthermore, it must demonstrate the need for NMTC subsidy.

      Once a complete application has been received, the SFCIF Board of Directors and Advisory Board will consider the project and make a decision about funding within 60-days of receipt.

  • What type of projects has SFCIF funded in the past?
    • SFCIF is pleased to have provided loans to College Track ($8.7 million) and SFJAZZ ($15 million). For more details about these projects and their impacts on the surrounding community, click here.
  • How long does it take to find out if your application was accepted?
    • Once a complete application has been received, the SFCIF Board of Directors and Advisory Board will consider the project and make a decision about funding within 60-days of receipt. Financing commitment will be approved by the Board of Directors and will be valid for a term of 150 days unless otherwise authorized by the Board.
  • Does SFCIF provide emergency financing?
    • At this time, SFCIF does not provide emergency financing.
  • How long does the underwriting process take?
    • The Board meets once a month to review credit recommendations. Depending on the situation, we may require applications to be submitted from three to five weeks prior to our meeting. If you know you have an upcoming financing need, please contact us as soon as possible. We can help you put together a loan application, and can give you an application schedule based on your financing timeline.
    • SFCIF helps fund qualified projects that both operate within and provide a range of economic, social and cultural improvements to distressed communities. These projects must also meet specific NMTC Program requirements and can include manufacturing and service businesses, to commercial and industrial projects such as retail real estate developments, office buildings and warehouses, to mixed use commercial and housing developments to community facilities such as child care centers and charter schools.

      Non-qualified projects include liquor stores, racetracks, gambling facilities, massage parlors, hot tub or suntan facilities, golf courses and country clubs.

      For specific funding eligibility criteria, please click here

    • SFCIF helps the San Francisco community by stimulating investment capital into underserved areas. Through the incentive of New Market Tax Credits, SFCIF attracts private capital to projects that both operate in and provide a wide range of benefits to distressed communities. This capital then allows SFCIF to provide alternative, more flexible funding opportunities to organizations that would not normally qualify for traditional financing.

      Therefore, SFCIF's positive community impacts occur on numerous levels from the organization or project itself, to the distressed community served by the organization or project, to the broader San Francisco community as a whole.

 
QUESTIONS ON INVESTING
  • Why invest with SFCIF?
    • NMTCs are a shallow credit, providing an investor with tax credits over seven years equal to only 39 percent of the amount invested. In order for an investor to recover the full amount of capital invested as well as a return on capital, the project in which the funds are invested must generate significant economic benefits. To quantify the benefit provided by the NMTC to projects, it is generally thought to lower the interest rate on a loan by about 2.5 to 5 percent (250 to 500 basis points) relative to a market interest rate, depending on the term of the loan, the CDE and other factors. If the credit is used as leverage, it typically creates approximately twenty five (25) percent equity in a real estate transaction. The credit stays in the deal for a seven year period and is typically forgiven entirely after the seventh year. Given today's credit market, NMTC can be the difference between a project happening or not happening.

  • How often does SFCIF report to its investors about its lending activities?
    • Within sixty days of making a loan/credit, SFCIF will provide a notice to the investor that such investment has been designated. Such notice will take form of the IRS Form 8874-A Notice of QEI for New Markets Tax Credit.

      Annually, SFCIF will provide audited financial statements to the investor regarding loans/credits in the NMTC Program. On an ongoing basis and when requested by an investor, but not more than quarterly, SFCIF will provide information to the investor which the investor may require to ensure that its investments is in compliance with IRS regulations.

    • The San Francisco Community Investment Fund (SFCIF) was established to address the City's need for alternative investment options to support projects in economically-challenged communities.

      SFCIF is a certified Community Development Entity (CDE) under the Federal New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. As a CDE, SFCIF is able to use New Market Tax Credits (NMTCs) to help fund projects with substantial community benefits in blighted communities.

    • No. While SFCIF was established by the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency, it is a legally separate entity.
    • SFCIF is governed by a five member Board of Directors made up of City and County of San Francisco officials who represent various projects either funded by or strong candidates from SFCIF. Each Board member serves on an ex-officio basis, while serving in his or her respective positions within the City. In addition to the Board of Directors, the SFCIF has a ten member Advisory Board comprised of five members selected from Agency project areas and five members selected by the Mayor. The Board of Directors is responsible for making investment decisions for projects.
    • NMTCs are incentives in the form of credits against federal taxes provided to investors to encourage them to invest in economically distressed areas where capital for a broad range of investments has not traditionally been available.
    • New Market Tax Credits are competitively awarded by the Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) of the US Department of Treasury to organizations known as Community Development Entities (CDEs) which are meant to function as financial institutions specifically serving the needs of distressed communities. CDEs raise capital from investors in exchange for NMTCs and other economic benefits, and invest that capital into projects that stimulate economic development in depressed areas.
    • The Community Development Financial Institution Fund (CDFI Fund) was established by the Department of Treasury as a kind of community development bank. It was established with the purpose of stimulating economic development in depressed areas. The CDFI Fund is an institution that knows the credit needs of the community and has the skills and knowledge to seek out credit-worthy businesses or projects that mainstream banks might overlook.
    • SFCIF helps fund qualified projects that both operate within and provide a range of economic, social and cultural improvements to distressed communities. These projects must also meet specific NMTC Program requirements and can include manufacturing and service businesses, to commercial and industrial projects such as retail real estate developments, office buildings and warehouses, to mixed use commercial and housing developments to community facilities such as child care centers and charter schools.

      Non-qualified projects include liquor stores, racetracks, gambling facilities, massage parlors, hot tub or suntan facilities, golf courses and country clubs.

      For specific funding eligibility criteria, please click here

    • SFCIF helps the San Francisco community by stimulating investment capital into underserved areas. Through the incentive of New Market Tax Credits, SFCIF attracts private capital to projects that both operate in and provide a wide range of benefits to distressed communities. This capital then allows SFCIF to provide alternative, more flexible funding opportunities to organizations that would not normally qualify for traditional financing.

      Therefore, SFCIF's positive community impacts occur on numerous levels from the organization or project itself, to the distressed community served by the organization or project, to the broader San Francisco community as a whole.