The FUND Family of organizations works collectively to facilitate positive social, economic, and environmental impacts in communities nationwide through consulting services, research, training, and facilitation of opportunities for knowledge sharing. Consisting of FUND Consulting, a for profit consulting firm, and FUND Community Institute, a nonprofit think tank, FUND delivers high quality services with a focus on supporting organizations and practitioners who foster positive outcomes in communities nationwide.
Since inception, FUND Consulting has worked with more than 350 CDFIs nationwide. FUND has helped these CDFIs secure grants, allocations, and awards totaling more than $543 million and has assisted others to increase capacity by: understanding their markets; evaluating the effectiveness of their programs; developing their boards; and creating strategies to manage growth and maximize impact.
Founded by Lolita Sereleas in October of 2000, FUND Consulting was a pioneer in designing and delivering supportive services for CDFIs seeking assistance in navigating CDFI Funding applications, and analyzing market need and demand. The addition of Ruth Barber as Partner in 2002 marked the establishment of FUND as a firm with increased capacity to deliver high quality consulting services to CDFIs as well as non-profit and government entities. Under this leadership team, FUND Consulting grew to become the leading firm in the CDFI industry, providing strategic and operational support on fundraising and capitalization, strategic planning, needs assessments and market analyses, and impact evaluation. Becoming known for its superior customer service, and results-oriented products, FUND Consulting skyrocketed in growth from 2002-2016, achieving close to a 33% market share in the CDFI industry. FUND Consulting saw another milestone year in 2016 with Manjima Bose becoming a Partner. In role as Partner, and prior role as Managing Consultant, Manjima has been responsible for the recruitment, development, and retention of a high performing staff that has enabled FUND Consulting to increase capacity and facilitate growth in new areas. In 2017, Manjima took the helm of FUND Consulting becoming responsible for coordinating all aspects of consulting service delivery and business development.
FUND Community Institute
Founded with a love for research and a strong desire to give back to the industry that helped FUND Consulting grow, Ruth Barber spearheaded the launch of FUND Community Institute (FUND CI) in 2017. FUND CI is a nonprofit think tank which conducts research, provides training, and facilitates opportunities for knowledge sharing in the fields of community and economic development. This includes independent studies, partner projects and commissioned research.
On the heels of a noteworthy study on CDFI governing boards, FUND Community Institute conducted its first formal research project in 2017 on the role of Advisory Boards at CDFI organizations, the findings from which are available on the FUND Consulting blog. In 2018, the FUND CI team completed a landmark study on the role of women in the CDFI Industry titled “Perception vs. Reality: Women and Change in the CDFI Industry.” One of the key findings was that the CDFI industry has a long way to go in terms of achieving diversity and inclusion. To further investigate this issue, FUND CI conducted research in 2019 to identify the best practices of CDFIs that are recognized as being ahead of the curve in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion both internally and externally. The findings from this research can be found in the “Advancing Equity: Diversity and Inclusion at CDFIs” report.