New Hampshire Municipal Association
New Hampshire Municipal Association

New Hampshire Town And City

Delivering Critical Resources to New Hampshire Communities

New Hampshire Town and City, May/June, 2019

By Melissa Latham

The Community Development Finance Authority (CDFA) is a statewide nonprofit public authority focused on maximizing the value and impact of community development, economic development and clean energy initiatives throughout New Hampshire. We deploy a variety of financial and technical resources through competitive grant, loan and equity programs. CDFA helps build the capacity of New Hampshire communities to be strong, resilient, vibrant places by investing in people, institutions and systems. This includes the capacity to both proactively and reactively address social, economic and environmental challenges.

Created 35 years ago, CDFA takes an innovative and collaborative approach to financing capital projects through several funding sources: 

Our impact is seen throughout New Hampshire in revitalized downtowns, high-quality childcare facilities, business expansion to provide job opportunities, new and revitalized housing units and clean energy initiatives. Since 2016, the organization has invested more than $40.85 million in community development, economic development and clean energy initiatives throughout New Hampshire. The demand for funding from applicants over this same period of time exceeds $74.89 million. 

Supporting New Opportunities for New Hampshire Communities

Access to funds that enable municipalities to identify a community need, explore ways to meet that need, and ultimately, develop and implement a solution is fundamental to the growth and prosperity of our communities. CDFA is dedicated to supporting municipalities in this work and has resources to do so at all stages of the project development ecosystem.

Concept Initiation

CDFA works with partners to advance new ideas, thinking and innovation in community and economic development efforts throughout New Hampshire, our resources focus on initiatives, public events and partnerships that generate actionable ideas and innovative thinking.

We also work closely with partners to understand their needs, align those needs with our technical assistance and financing resources, as well as make connections with other potential sources of support. Much of this work takes place when partners are early on in exploring and developing a concept that solves a specific community need. Engaging CDFA in this stage of project development can help community leaders understand the technical and financial resources available, as well as help strengthen the project’s capacity for success by addressing any potential challenges early on.

Nonprofits in your community can take advantage of CDFA’s L5 Capacity Building Program to strengthen their organizational infrastructure, enhance existing programs or develop new capacity. These resources enable grant recipient to deepen their mission by delivering increased value and meaning to the communities they serve.

Planning and Development

Early access to funds that enable municipalities to explore a concept and determine its viability is a critical step in the success of a project. The Feasibility program provides up to $12,000 in grant funds to help determine whether a proposed project is viable. Municipalities can apply for funding to conduct activities like income surveys, preliminary architectural and engineering design, cost estimates and market analysis.

CDFA also launched its Pre-Development Program in 2018 to help municipalities and nonprofit organizations prepare local development projects for funding and implementation. The program supports activities such as studying the feasibility of renovating a downtown building, gathering public input on a project idea, developing a business plan for a new facility or seeking planning and zoning approval. Loans of up to $100,000 are available and eligible projects must stand a reasonable chance of being financed and initiated within two years.

Additionally, CDFA has resources to support rural small businesses and agricultural producers in your community through the Clean Energy Fund’s Energy Audit Program. Using funds from the USDA Rural Energy for America Program grant program, CDFA will fund 75 percent of a comprehensive, ASHRAE Level II energy audit with eligible participants required to pay for 25 percent.

Finance and Deployment

A significant portion of CDFA’s resources support the implementation of community development, economic development and clean energy initiatives throughout New Hampshire and include:

CDFA assists community leaders in navigating the various funding sources and pursuing those that are the best fit for any given community or project.


We continue to support our community partners well-beyond the deployment of our resources to assist them with network building, asset management, compliance, as well as analyzing data and outcomes.

How CDFA Resources Help Strengthen Our Communities

One example of how these resources work together within a municipality is the city of Keene. Over the past decade, CDFA has made significant investments to help this community build local capacity, resiliency and economic success.

Community Development Block Grant and Tax Credit funds were awarded to support critical building and equipment improvements at The Community Kitchen, which provides healthy and nutritious hot meals, take-home food boxes, as well as advocacy to low- and moderate-income individuals and families in the Monadnock Region. The Monadnock Food Coop also leveraged Community Development Block Grant resources to first build its original space, and most recently, to expand the business and create up to 25 new, quality jobs.

New Hampshire business donors have  invested funds through the Tax Credit Program to support the construction of a new 16,887 square foot building in downtown Keene for the local arts organization, MOCO Arts, enabling them to serve more area youth, create new full-time jobs, redevelop a vacant and blemished city block, and increase its tuition assistance for low-income students.

CDFA’s technical assistance resources help support the local business incubator, the Hannah Grimes Center, to provide services that help small, local businesses grow. Additional resources are provided to Monadnock Economic Development Corporation, our local economic development partner in the region, to support their work with the community and local businesses.

These investments support critical safety-net services, access to healthy local food, a thriving creative economy, new job opportunities and support for local businesses. CDFA’s investment ecosystem results in strong, vibrant communities. We make investments that create and strengthen a community’s sense of place and do so through an integrated, holistic approach to community and economic development.

Strengthening New Hampshire Communities

CDFA has awarded more than $13 million of Community Development Block Grant funds in communities throughout New Hampshire in 2017 and 2018. These critical resources support housing, public facility and economic development projects in communities throughout the state. Funding for the Community Development Block Grant program is provided to New Hampshire through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The following are a few examples of projects awarded funds in 2017 and 2018.

Housing and Public Facilities

Economic Development


Melissa Latham is Communications Manager with the Community Development Finance Authority.  Melissa can be reach by phone at 603.717.9109 or via email at

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