History of First State CLF

In response to growing concerns over poverty in the City of Wilmington, Delaware, the Episcopal General Convention called for the church and the Delaware community to support a new community economic initiative. A diverse collection of community members came together to form First State Community Loan Fund (CLF) in 1992. Their goal was to use proven business strategies in new and innovative ways, providing loans and sound business advice to community-based organizations and entrepreneurs in low-income communities throughout Delaware. Since its incorporation in 1992, First State CLF has disbursed nearly $27 million to over 1100 small businesses and community organizations.

In 2011, First State CLF expanded beyond the borders of Delaware and is now lending and providing technical assistance to businesses located in southeastern Pennsylvania. In 2014, First State CLF narrowed its focus to primarily support small business growth and development.

First State CLF is a not-for-profit, federally certified, Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) that supports small businesses and community development projects. As a CDFI, First State CLF is required to provide at least 60% of its lending and technical assistance activity to underserved populations. First State CLF defines underserved populations as those that include women and minority led companies; low-income borrowers; businesses and other organizations that serve low-income populations; or businesses or organizations that are located in low-income communities.


The mission of First State CLF is to educate, empower, and elevate business owners, and entrepreneurs, by augmenting technical expertise, increasing access to capital and stimulating business growth throughout Delaware and southeastern Pennsylvania.