The 2018 OFN Conference brought 1,450 CDFI practitioners, funders, investors, students, and more to Chicago for two and a half days of intensive learning and networking.  Together, across more than 90 sessions, we learned what it takes to be an Agent of Change. We examined our past and looked forward for new ways to address the challenges facing our communities and transform them into opportunities.


  • The Conference opened with Chicago’s own Grammy-nominated Ricky Dillard and the New G, who spread goodwill with their uplifting contemporary R&B Gospel tunes.
  • We were warmly welcomed by Senator Dick Durbin (IL), Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago President Charles Evans, and President of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Julia Stasch.
  • Our opening plenary, Change Agents, featured three dynamic speakers—all together, they shared experiences spanning six decades. Jim Capraro of Capraro Consulting, Sister Corinne Florek of Religious Communities Investment Fund, and Craig Nash of Chicago CRED inspired the audience with real-life stories of confronting some of America’s greatest challenges head-on.
  • In her annual keynote speech, This is Our Time, OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah encouraged us to use our decades of accumulated experience to ensure that America lives up to its claim as the land of opportunity. Read the transcript here.
  • CDFI Fund Director Annie Donovan reminded us all of our commitment to our communities with her uplifting words and also addressed upcoming changes to CDFI certification designed to grow the industry.
  • The CDFI industry honored its own with the Ned Gramlich Lifetime Achievement Award for Responsible Finance to community development pioneer Nancy O. Andrews, a lifelong industry champion who recently retired as CEO of LIIF.
  • At the 13th Annual Native Awards ceremony, Mazaska Owecaso Otipi Financial Inc. was honored with the 2018 Circle of Honor Award, and Tawney Brunsch, Executive Director of the Lakota Funds, was recognized with the Visionary Leader Award.
  • The Justice Grant Awardee, LUCHA, was honored for their work in affordable housing.
  • Lisa Mensah took to the stage a second time for A Full Court Press for Diversity: Broadening our Strategies, an intriguing conversation with Ariel Investment Chairman, CEO, and Chief Investment Officer, John W. Rogers, Jr., where they discussed how CDFIs can broaden strategies in minority communities.
  • Finally, OFN honored those of our colleagues who have passed in the past year, with a new, annual In Memoriam segment. You can view the slides here.


Over 48 hours, more than 1,400 CDFI practitioners, staff, and partners participated in or attended four plenaries and more than 60 sessions and events.  Enjoy our day-by-day photo albums on Facebook—tag yourself, friends, and colleagues!



DAY ONE – October 9

DAYS TWO AND THREE – October 10-11



Our Lead Sponsor

BB&T / Fannie Mae / Fifth Third Bank / Northern Trust / SunTrust Bank

Opportunity Leader

Federal Home Loan Bank System / Freddie Mac / Morgan Stanley / NeighborWorks America / PNC Bank, NA / TD Bank

Opportunity Partner

Baker Tilly Virchow Krause, LLP / Bank of the West / Capital Plus Financial / Charles Schwab Bank / CIBC / Cinnaire / Deutsche Bank / Flagstar Bank / FUND Consulting / HSBC Bank USA, N.A. / Incapital / Ohio Capital Finance Corporation / PetSmart Charities / RSM US LLP / S&P Global Ratings


The OFN Conference provides an unparalleled platform for Sponsors and Exhibitors to connect and do business with CDFIs and an ever-growing audience of investors, consultants, supporters, and others. For more information , download the sponsorship brochure  or contact Amanda Joseph  at 215-320-4323.


Accion Chicago / Chicago Community Loan Fund / Chicago Neighborhood Initiatives Micro Finance Group / Cinnaire / Community Investment Corporation / Community Reinvestment Fund, USA / Corporation for Supportive Housing / IFF / LISC Chicago / NHS of Chicago / North Side Community Federal Credit Union / Second Federal a division of Self-Help FCU / Valley Economic Development Center


PowerPoints from the 2018 OFN Conference have been uploaded to a library on CDFI Connect Community, OFN’s online, interactive community. Access to CDFI Connect Community is free to all, though a user name and password will be required. If you have not signed up, or are not sure, check your status on the Login page

View OFN 2018 Presentations


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