Our Strategy and History
Community Health Center Capital Fund was established in the early 1990s by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and Neighborhood Health Plan to facilitate improved access to capital for Massachusetts health centers. By the mid-1990s, Capital Fund had established a pre-development loan fund and a tax-exempt bond program utilizing a letter of credit from a highly-rated bank and credit enhancement from Boston teaching hospitals to develop a low-cost financing option for Massachusetts health centers.
Established in 1994, Capital Fund originally served health centers in Massachusetts. By the late 1990s, through the leadership of Capital Fund, the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, NACHC, and the Primary Care Associations in Illinois, North Carolina, and Texas—and with financial support from HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care—its affiliate Capital Link was founded as a national training and technical assistance resource for health centers seeking capital financing. Today, both Capital Link and Capital Fund continue to support the community health center movement through a range of technical assistance and lending programs nationally.
Capital Fund's tax-exempt bond program, which won an “Outstanding Community Investment Award” from the Social Compact, was the first of its kind in the country. In the process of developing this financing mechanism, however, it became clear that in addition to low-cost financing options, health centers also needed access to technical assistance to help them develop financially viable plans for their projects. Hence began the effort to develop a range of tools and technical assistance resources to provide capital planning support, eventually leading to the creation of Capital Link and the transfer of Capital Fund’s assets to Capital Link to centralize capital development resources for health centers nationally.
Working with the support of Primary Care Associations, the National Association of Community Health Centers and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Capital Link became the preeminent source of capital-related technical assistance to health centers nationally. Beginning in 2007, with the award of a $15 million New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation from the CDFI Fund—and the 2009 certification of Capital Link as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI)—Capital Link expanded its focus to include direct lending. As the focus on direct lending grew, Capital Link’s board undertook a planning process that resulted in a corporate restructuring in 2011, whereby Capital Link established Capital Fund as its nonprofit subsidiary, and transferred its lending activities to the subsidiary. Today, Capital Fund acts as the lending arm of Capital Link, while Capital Link continues to provide capital-related technical assistance to health centers nationally. The two related corporations now function separately, but with a common mission to support the growth and development of community health centers throughout the United States.