Calvin Holmes

2021 History Maker Honoree

Calvin L. Holmes, President of the Chicago Community Loan Fund (CCLF) has been changing the trajectory of Chicago’s community development for three decades.

Calvin Holmes
President, CCLF

Through conventional, unconventional, and often experimental means, Calvin has tested and stretched the boundaries of community and economic development strategies, taking on lending risks that others would not, and building an experiential base that can inform forward leaning policies and programming relevant to Uptown and Chicago. 

As a “descendant of slaves who has seen the injustice” experienced by blue collar workers and the poor in his own family, he has set out to make sure everyone has a chance to live in dignity, including through affordable housing.  His combination of qualifications, risk-taking, and commitment qualify him as a “History Maker”, someone who can influence our future. (Watch Calvin’s First Hand Talk from WTTW-TV about poverty and bringing together private and public resources to improve communities.)

Mr. Holmes has served as President of CCLF since 1998.  It is a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) with $125 million in assets and a history of responsible financing and technical assistance to non-profit, cooperative, worker-owned, and community enterprises seeking to improve housing and address the social, cultural, and economic needs of under-resourced communities.

CCLF, under Calvin’s leadership, has leveraged funding of 11,000 affordable housing units for individuals and families.  The organization has been a foundational resource for non-profits, guiding them through survival of the pandemic; and in launching resource groups in support of resident-controlled housing and “sustainable diversity”, including the Center for Shared Ownership and the Chicagoland Owners Land Trust.  

Mr. Holmes’ qualifications to serve in this leadership role are deep and broad, with a degree in African American Studies from Northwestern, and Masters in Urban & Regional Planning, with real estate finance emphasis, from Cornell. He was a Leadership Greater Chicago fellow, a 2009 awardee of the MacArthur Foundation, an honoree of the Alford-Axelson Award for Non-profit Managerial Excellence, and more.

Calvin has served in leadership roles with CDFIs nationally, and currently with the African-American Alliance of CDFI CEOs, and in advisory roles with major banks, including Bank of America, US Bank, PNC, and Chase.