June 1, 2021

RDF Investment Brings Opportunity to Latino & Low-Income Families

Raza Development Fund In November 2019, Portico Benefit Services selected the Raza Development Fund (RDF) as a positive social investment, due to its strong potential to deliver financial returns while creating positive social impact. RDF is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that invests capital and creates financial solutions to increase opportunities for Latino and low-income families across the United States. It recently reported 2019 and 2020 outcomes made possible, in part, by a $300,000 investment funded by ELCA retirement plan members who chose to invest in Portico’s social purpose funds.

“We chose the Raza Development Fund as it aligns well with the ELCA’s positive Community Economic Development social criteria screen,” said Kurt Kreienbrink, senior manager of Portico’s socially responsible investments and investor advocacy. “RDF’s focus on lending capital, along with its business discipline serving low-income communities, helps connect and tailor project loans to specific community leaders and organizations.”

2019 and 2020 Impacts Created Through RDF

RDF is the largest Latino CDFI in the United States, with more than $400 million in assets under management. RDF’s focused community development model keeps it close to the real issues that Latino and low-income families face, enabling it to respond to community needs, facilitate project financing, and provide technical assistance aimed at breaking the cycle of poverty. In the last two years, RDF distributed over $252.5 million in loans to help create the following positive impact in communities across the country:

4,530 Affordable Housing Units Expanded or Created

RDF finances projects for individuals, families, university students, first-time homeowners, and seniors in both rural and urban communities.

SNAP Apartments







Home Icon Spotlight Story: Savannah Neighborhood Action Project (SNAP) Apartments in Savannah, GA
Founded in 1993 and a national leader in preserving and enhancing affordable housing, Victus Group, LLC acquires, protects, and renovates affordable housing projects to create vibrant, livable communities through restoration. A Victus project, SNAP is a low-income housing development where all units are restricted to households earning 60% Area Median Income (AMI) or less, and 100% of units qualify for Housing Assistance Payments (HAP). Most families participating in SNAP Apartments self-identify as African American. RDF provided a $5 million mezzanine bridge loan to facilitate acquiring 56 sites consisting of 233 units of affordable multi-family housing and rentable space in the Victorian District of Savannah. The project entails renovating all units utilizing the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit program and will contain no market-rate units.

Over 313,538 Patients and 31,778 Families Served by Health and Community Facilities

RDF invests in community health care facilities offering affordable primary, dental, and behavioral care. Providing this access is critical to help individuals and families take preventive measures, control chronic diseases, and learn about healthy behaviors in a culturally-appropriate environment.

Esperanza Health Center

Medical Briefcase Icon Spotlight Story: The Esperanza Health Centers in Brighton Park, Chicago
Serving a predominantly Latino (91.7%) patient population from three locations in Chicago’s southwest side, Esperanza was established in 2004 and has been recognized among the top 5% of health centers for quality care, nationwide. As a UnidosUS affiliate and federally-qualified health center, the center provides primary care services and employs 108 full-time workers, all of whom are bilingual and bicultural. Esperanza constructed a new 26,100 square foot health care facility, which leases space to Mujeres Latinas en Acción to provide social services addressing domestic violence, sexual assault, leadership and youth development, positive parent support, and homelessness prevention. The new facility also houses an on-site laboratory and pharmacy.

As a result of RDF financing, Esperanza is now able to serve an additional 20,000 patients and has created 70 new permanent jobs, while retaining 14 jobs.

144 Small Businesses Sustained by Critical Lending

RDF helps build stronger, healthier communities by providing local organizations with financing solutions tailored to their individual needs for complex structured financings. These include public/private partnerships, tax credits, grant capital, and traditional debt.

Portland Mercado Logo

Abacus Icon Spotlight Story: The Hacienda CDC and Portland Mercado in Portland, OR
This Latino Community Development Corporation (CDC) has focused on strengthening families in the Portland community since 1986 by providing affordable housing, homeownership support, economic advancement, and educational opportunities. The Portland Mercado began in 2010 as an incubator model and economic development initiative of Hacienda CDC, combining to form a community of over 16 permanent small businesses in its public market, plus introducing many more through its incubator kitchen. RDF financed an initiative to construct a new administrative headquarters building and rehabilitate a community center and business incubator facility for local entrepreneurs. These spaces allow the nonprofit to continue serving the needs of Oregon’s growing Latino population, in addition to creating 128 new full-time jobs while also retaining 71 full-time jobs.

11,977 Students Served

RDF helps UnidosUS affiliates and Latino organizations finance charter, private, and parochial schools.

Berea College

Backpack Icon Spotlight Story: The Margaret A. Cargill Natural Sciences and Health Building at Berea College, KY
Founded in 1855, Berea College and was the first interracial and coeducational college in the South. Through a Tuition Promise Scholarship, Berea provides a high-quality education to academically gifted students for no tuition. Instead, through the Work Colleges Consortium, Berea students use their earnings to pay for their education and living expenses while in college. RDF financed construction and development of a new state-of-the-art health and sciences facility to advance the college’s science, mathematics, and nursing programs — helping to increase Berea’s capacity for educating STEM majors by 25%.

Find state-by-state details regarding RDF’s national community lending impact via an interactive map at razafund.org.

Additional Financing to Keep Small Businesses Going During COVID-19

At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, RDF launched the COVID-19 Hope Fund to provide support and relief to minority-owned small businesses in South Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, and Philadelphia. Funded by RDF, its community partners, and a generous contribution from Wells Fargo, the RDF COVID-19 Hope Fund disburses amounts from $1,000 to $10,000 as working capital to help small businesses support their current employees and operating costs so they can continue to stay in business. In addition, the Hope Fund team provides technical assistance to guide fund recipients through the applications for the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan and the SBA guaranteed loans from the Paycheck Protection Program. Details are available at razafund.org/covid-19-hope-fund.

ELCA retirement plan members can visit myPortico and view their Retirement Account Summary to check if they are invested in social purpose funds.

Sources: RDF 2019 Annual Report, RDF 2020 Annual Report, External site icon and RDF website

Information regarding Portico funds should not be considered as advice or as a recommendation to hold, purchase, or sell those financial products and does not take into account your particular investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. For more information about all funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, please see the Investment Fund Descriptions for your retirement plan on the Fund Options & Performance page of myPortico and speak with your tax, legal, or financial professional.

Members should carefully consider the target asset allocations, investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses of any fund before investing in it. All funds, including the Portico funds, are subject to risk and uncertainty. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Funds managed by Portico Benefit Services, including the Portico funds and ELCA Participating Annuity Investment Fund, are not insured or guaranteed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, any other government agency, or the ELCA. Fund assets are invested in multiple sectors of the market. Sectors, like funds, may perform below expectations and lose money over short or extended periods. Review the Portico Investment Fund Descriptions and the Investment Memorandum for the ELCA Participating Annuity Trust for more information about the Portico funds.

Target date funds are designed for members expecting to retire around the year indicated in each fund’s name. When choosing a fund, members should consider whether they anticipate retiring significantly earlier or later than age 65, and select the target date fund that aligns with their expected retirement age. There are many considerations relevant to fund selection; members should choose the fund that best meets their individual circumstances and investment goals. Each fund’s asset allocation strategy becomes increasingly more conservative as it approaches the target date and beyond. Each fund’s investment risk changes over time as its asset allocation changes. The investment process used by the investment managers and the target asset allocation of the funds may change at any time, without notice.

Neither Portico Benefit Services nor the funds it manages are subject to registration, regulation, or reporting under the Investment Company Act of 1940, the Securities Act of 1933, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the Investment Advisors Act of 1940, or state securities laws. Members, therefore, will not be afforded the protections of the provisions of those laws and related regulations.