Elevating Neighborhoods. Advancing Memphis.

CDC Capacity Fund



CDC Capacity Fund


2021 CDC Capacity Fund Application Open Now!

Important Dates and Deadlines

Application Opens January 25, 2021
Application Closes February 22, 2021


The budget templates for the application are linked below.  Click each template image to download the form.

Organizational Budget Template

Project Budget Template


The CDC Capacity Fund (CDC Fund) grant was established after a comprehensive research process, and with support from a 13-person advisory committee composed of Community LIFT’s community partners and local foundations, philanthropy, financial institutions, and CDCs. The research process and subsequent State of the Memphis CDC Industry report revealed that the local CDC sector is severely underfunded and operating with limited capacity, but with increased investment, can have a larger impact on the communities they serve.  We developed the CDC Fund, the city’s only dedicated source of funding solely for CDCs, to help address Memphis’ broken cycle of community reinvestment activities.

The vision of the CDC Fund grant is to ensure a robust, effective network of CDCs that are capable of serving as quarterback agencies for scaled revitalization efforts that significantly enhance the quality of life in Memphis’ distressed neighborhoods, thus serving as catalysts for equitable economic growth and advancement.  Since launching the grant in 2017, Community LIFT has invested $1.1 million into communities to help build CDC capacity.

For the purpose of this grant, the term capacity building refers to the development of core skills, management practices, strategies, and systems to enhance an organization’s effectiveness, sustainability, and ability to fulfill its mission.


The CDC Capacity Fund is exclusively for CDCs; other community-based organizations are ineligible to apply. To be clear, we define CDCs as nonprofit, community-based organizations focused on the community engagement and physical and economic revitalization of the areas in which they are located, typically low-income, underserved neighborhoods that have experienced significant disinvestment. While their ultimate goal may be comprehensive community redevelopment, CDCs generally focus on one or more program areas, such as housing development, economic development (job training, commercial development, small business assistance, etc.), neighborhood planning, infrastructure, and the development of community facilities. In addition, CDCs often serve as the neighborhood quarterbacking agency for resident empowerment, community collaboration and engagement.

If you anticipate applying, please ensure that you have completed the Capacity Assessment Tool (CAT) within the last three years. The CAT is administered by BLDG Memphis. Contact Donna Olds-White via email at donna@bldgmemphis.org to schedule your CAT today.

For more information about the CDC Capacity Fund, click below:

Should you have any questions please contact Nefertiti Orrin, Grants Director via email at nefertiti@communitylift.org or phone at 901-521-4232 ext. 227.

Click the image below to learn more about the 2020 grantees.

CDC Tenant Rental Assistance Fund

This month, we launched our Community Development Corporation (CDC) Tenant Rental Assistance Fund.  The current inability to pay rent for a number of tenants in CDC owned rental properties is creating a rent gap that has a ripple effect.  We understand that CDCs are challenged to service their debt and maintain their operation and/or programming.  At the same time, amid rising expenses and falling revenue, CDCs are struggling to find funding so as not to saddle their residents and unmanageable debt.

It’s imperative for Community LIFT, as the city’s community development intermediary, to support our CDCs on the frontlines of this unprecedented economic downturn.  All of our CDCs serve low-wealth black and brown communities – communities most disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

This temporary rental assistance program helps keep our most vulnerable residents sheltered in a time when sheltering is a matter of life and death and helps sustain CDCs at the forefront of our struggle to maintain affordable housing into an uncertain future.  Community LIFT’s CDC Tenant Rental Assistance Fund is made possible by the generosity and flexibility to repurpose funding from JP Morgan Chase, Assisi Foundation, and the Hyde Family Foundation.  We have set aside $100,000 for this fund.  Assistance will be available until all funds are depleted.

Email Nefertiti Orrin at nefertiti@communitylift.org with questions or concerns about submitting your application.


Click the image below to learn more about the fund and the application:


The 2021 round of the CDC Capacity Fund is made possible through the generous support of the Assisi Foundation, Hyde Family Foundations, Kresge Foundation, and the Memphis City Council – Members Patrice Robinson, Martavius Jones, JB Smiley, Rhonda Logan, and Michalyn Easter-Thomas.

Community L.I.F.T. Corp.
© 2018. All Rights Reserved.
119 South Court, Ste 100
Memphis, TN 38103
(901) 521-4232

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