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Baltimore Community Lending Secures $7.1 Million to Expand Opportunities in Underserved Communities

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April 12, 2023

BALTIMORE, MD. – April 12, 2023 – Baltimore Community Lending (BCL) announced that it has secured $7.1 million to expand access to financing and training for underserved small businesses and real estate developers in the Baltimore Metro area. The funding will allow the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) to broaden its reach in providing flexible capital, training, and other services to real estate developers whose projects increase opportunities for affordable housing and to small businesses that face barriers to traditional financing.

From the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), BCL received $4.9 million to address capital gaps for real estate projects and business ventures in communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The CDFI Fund recently awarded over $1.73 billion in grants to 603 CDFIs across the country through the CDFI Equitable Recovery Program (CDFI ERP) to strengthen their ability to help low- and moderate-income communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and invest in long-term prosperity.

BCL also received $2.2 million from the Opportunity Finance Network’s Finance Justice Fund to broaden its flexible lending and pro bono business training programs for underserved entrepreneurs. Launched by Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) in 2020, the Finance Justice Fund is a socially responsible investment that aims to bring $1 billion in capital from corporate and philanthropic partners to individuals and communities in America most underserved by mainstream finance.

“Black, Latino, and Indigenous neighborhoods of Baltimore and beyond have experienced the impacts of systemic racism for far too long. This funding will allow BCL to confront these inequities and move us closer to achieving our vision of safe, strong, balanced neighborhoods in which all families can thrive,” said Watchen Harris Bruce, President & CEO of Baltimore Community Lending.

In 2021, Baltimore Community Lending deployed $5.9M in capital to real estate developers and $2.5M to small businesses. Of the loans, 87% were to business owned by people of color and 52% were to woman-owned businesses.

To learn more about the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, visit their website.

To learn more about the OFN Finance Justice Fund, visit their website.


About Baltimore Community Lending

Baltimore Community Lending (BCL) is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) and mission-based lender serving the Baltimore metro area. BCL dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending products to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities join the economic mainstream. BCL makes loans to real estate developers and small business owners committed to developing underserved neighborhoods. More information is available at

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