Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Federal Home Loan Bank and NeighborWorks America

This blog post is republished from the Federal Home Loan Bank for Communities website.

The Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLBank) has been the catalyst for many achievements during its history, but one of its more notable efforts is also one that’s unknown to many people outside of the affordable housing industry.

This year, NeighborWorks America is celebrating its 35th anniversary as one of the country’s preeminent leaders in affordable housing and community development thanks, in part, to the FHLBanks. In the early 1970s, a community leader named Dorothy Richardson began pushing for more reinvestment in the inner-city neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Eventually she connected with FHLB Pittsburgh and other lenders to create a revolving loan fund. The success achieved in Pittsburgh attracted attention from others across the country, which led to the creation of the Urban Reinvestment Task Force in 1973. Five years later, Congress chartered the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation which is known today as NeighborWorks America.

Curt Heidt, 
vice president of external relationsFHLB Des Moines
FHLB Des Moines has partnered with NeighborWorks America since its earliest days and continues to work closely with the 17 NeighborWorks Network groups in the  FHLB Des Moines district. Prior experience with NeighborWorks organizations provided Curt Heidt, vice president of external relations, FHLB Des Moines, and Gary Dodge, director of community investment, FHLB Des Moines with community development education. Both previously served as executive directors of Neighborhood Finance Corporation in Des Moines, which subsequently became a chartered member of the NeighborWorks Network and is now a Community Development Financial Institution member of FHLB Des Moines.

Leon Gray,
NeighborWorks America
management consultant
In 2006, Heidt received the Visionary Partner Award from the regional staff of NeighborWorks America in honor of his efforts to create innovative partnerships and solutions to the affordable housing challenge. In addition, Leon Gray, a NeighborWorks America management consultant in the Midwest Region, serves on the FHLB Des Moines Advisory Council and many executive directors of NeighborWorks Network organizations serve on advisory boards in the Des Moines and other FHLBank districts.

“I began my community investment career as a volunteer for NeighborWorks organizations in the 1980s. NeighborWorks America is an outstanding organization and one that FHLB Des Moines is proud to partner with both nationally and regionally,” Heidt said. “NeighborWorks America provides critical resources to community-based groups across the country to help them be more successful.”

John Santner, Midwest Region director for NeighborWorks America, said the organization is proud of its long relationship with the FHLBanks. He noted that NeighborWorks America gives an annual award in honor of Dorothy Richardson that serves as a perpetual reminder of the organization’s roots and ties to the System.

“Our partnership with the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines, as well as with the FHLBank System, is critical to our ability to meet the needs of NeighborWorks Network organizations,” Santner said. “By partnering with organizations, like FHLB Des Moines, NeighborWorks is able to leverage our funding for a much greater impact on community revitalization and affordable housing efforts across the country.”

FHLB Des Moines and NeighborWorks America work together in a variety of ways that benefit both organizations and the many groups they partner with in the region. Nationally, the FHLBanks ensure member banks are connected to non-profit organizations in their communities. For NeighborWorks America affiliates, partnerships with local FHLBanks help them to learn about FHLBank programs and also give their own programs and events a wider audience. Detailed information on the impact of NeighborWorks Network organizations in the FHLB Des Moines region of Iowa can be found at

Check out the infographic to view the partnership’s impact.