In today’s economy, launching and maintaining a small business is a challenge for anyone – but in our region’s poorest neighborhoods, a scarcity of financial services and support makes it nearly impossible. WACIF is dedicated to filling the void and fostering healthy, community-based economic development where it is most needed. Its Small Business Assistance Program targets low- to moderate-income entrepreneurs (particularly in DC's Wards 7 and 8), providing them with access to capital, one-on-one technical assistance, entrepreneurial training workshops, Loan Days events with local banks, and more. Below-market interest rates and flexible underwriting criteria open doors for clients who would otherwise be denied. Meanwhile, capacity-building support greatly increases their ability to grow, thrive, and ultimately “graduate” to mainstream financial institutions. While primarily focused on small businesses, WACIF has also helped develop and preserve more than 1,500 affordable housing units and 44 community organizations in the Washington area. Your support enriches communities, empowers entrepreneurs, and lifts up our local economy – a wise investment, indeed.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 5

Where They Operate: DC-Citywide; DC-Ward 1; DC-Ward 2; DC-Ward 3; DC-Ward 4; DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 6; DC-Ward 7; DC-Ward 8; MD-Montgomery County; MD-Prince George's County; VA-Arlington County; VA-City of Alexandria

Age Groups Served: Adult (25-49); Seniors (50+)

Population(s) Served: Low- to Moderate-Income Community Members; Women/Girls

  • Jobs created or retained annually:   108 Jobs created or retained
  • Amount lent in 2015 to underserved business owners:   $1,700,000
  • Percent of clients that are women or minority-owned businesses:   75%
  • Hours of Business Counselling:   2,000

Awards & Recognition

DC Chamber of Commerce Chairman's Distinction Award - 2015


Budget (FY2015)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for Washington Area Community Investment Fund is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

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