Nonprofit Finance Fund Receives $5.5 Million to Support Community-Owned Assets in New Jersey


NEWARK, N.J., Nov. 15, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) is pleased to announce a $5 million investment from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The investment will support lending to New Jersey community development corporations, community land trusts, faith-based and other nonprofits pursuing property ownership for long-term community well-being. NFF will also receive a $500,000 grant to fund the implementation of this work.

“To serve their communities, nonprofits need to ensure they won’t be displaced by rising rents —and property ownership helps provide that security,” said Jennifer Kawar, Vice President of NFF. “We are grateful to RWJF for this critical investment which will help New Jersey nonprofits to acquire facilities that will ensure they can reliably deliver services, provide residents with jobs, and build community power.”

New Jersey has one of the starkest racial wealth gaps in the country, in large part due to its history of racist government redlining policies that excluded communities of color from home ownership. And in New Jersey’s most populous city, Newark, institutional investors are purchasing residential properties wholesale and driving up property values and rent prices, pushing residents and community organizations out of the places they call home.  


“Property ownership is a pillar of our strategy to support working families striving to build fulfilling lives in this community,” said Keely Freeman, Executive Director of Sierra House, a New Jersey nonprofit that has purchased real estate with NFF financing and is continuing with its strategy to support the development of affordable housing. “These investments help us secure our own financial future so we can be there for the families who rely on us.”   

NFF will add its own capital to maximize the value of this investment. Additionally, the $5 million in loan funds from RWJF are structured as a program-related investment, designed so that a funder can use its endowment to make mission-aligned investments. As a long-term investment, NFF can recycle the capital over time to help more nonprofits.

“It is important for communities to have control of assets and investments to bridge the health and wealth divide,” said Zoila Jennings, Lead Impact Investment Officer, RWJF. “NFF is well poised to deploy this capital and to support New Jersey nonprofits with the information and resources they need to take on community ownership projects.”

“When nonprofits purchase or develop spaces that would otherwise be unused or decrepit, everyone benefits,” said Aisha Benson, President and CEO of NFF. “Property ownership can boost nonprofits’ financial stability, ensure they can deliver services to community members, and bolster neighborhoods against displacement.”

This investment is part of NFF’s new strategy to support community-centered real estate ownership and development. Organizations interested in partnering on these efforts or accessing capital for community-centered projects can be in touch at: [email protected].

About Nonprofit Finance Fund

Nonprofit Finance Fund® (NFF®) is a nonprofit lender, consultant, and advocate. For more than 40 years, we’ve worked to strengthen nonprofit organizations and improve the way money flows to social good. We believe that alongside others we must build a more equitable and just social sector and are committed to helping community-centered organizations led by and serving people of color access the money and resources they need to realize their communities’ aspirations. To learn more, visit

About RWJF

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to improving health and health equity in the United States. In partnership with others, it is working to develop a Culture of Health rooted in equity that provides every individual with a fair and just opportunity to thrive, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much money they have. For more information, visit

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CONTACT: Tricia McKenna Nonprofit Finance Fund 617-553-8020 [email protected] 

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