Elevating Neighborhoods. Advancing Memphis.

CDC Capacity Fund



CDC Capacity Fund



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.


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.

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1863 Madison Ave. Memphis, TN 38104
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