Mission

The Genesis Community Loan Fund provides innovative financing by soliciting investment loans from individuals, churches, corporations, and foundations, and then re-lending the money at favorable terms to nonprofit organizations developing affordable housing and community facilities for underserved people and communities throughout Maine and beyond.

A certified Community Development Financial Institution, the Genesis Fund helps some of our most vulnerable populations: single parents and their children, low income working families, the elderly, homeless individuals, and people with disabilities.

The Genesis Fund also provides substantial technical assistance to nonprofit organizations by helping them access state, federal, and private funding to support their work. Watch our overview video below for more information about who we are, what we do, who we serve, and how you can join our work!

Genesis Fund overview video from the 2021 MEREDA Forecast Conference Tradeshow, made possible by a generous donation from our community investment partners at Bangor Savings Bank! Hosted on Vimeo.

The Genesis Fund is Committed to Building Healthy, Resilient and Prosperous Communities—For All.

Our industry was founded, in part, to address the systemic exclusion of people of color from access to financing capital. As a CDFI, the Genesis Fund strives to remove the barriers to prosperity which stand in the way for marginalized communities in Maine and beyond. And yet we realize that, collectively, not enough has been done. We are listening and learning from the conversations about race happening here in Maine, and across the country. We will continue to seek ways to address racial equity through our work, as we fulfill our mission of building stronger communities, for all.

History

The Genesis Community Loan Fund was founded in 1991 by several MidCoast faith-based organizations as a revolving loan fund to provide financing for affordable housing. Offering flexible, innovative financing to Maine nonprofits who were finding it difficult to obtain conventional financing, the Genesis Fund wrote its first two loans in 1992. These loans created affordable housing units in Bremen and Wiscasset that are still in existence today. As these loans were paid back and additional investors joined, the Genesis Fund grew and began making loans for vital community projects like health and child centers and facilities for people with disabilities in underserved communities across Maine. Additionally, The Genesis Fund provides technical assistance to local nonprofits to create these projects. This professional assistance includes development planning, feasibility studies, financial projections, finding additional sources of funds, and grant writing.

In 1996, the Maine Community Loan Fund transferred its assets and loan portfolio to the Genesis Fund in order to increase efficiency and impact. The Genesis Fund was certified by the US Department of the Treasury as a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in 2001 and re-certified in 2014.

More than twenty-seven years later, the Genesis Fund has lent over $45.7 million to more than 240 projects to create affordable housing and vital community facilities. The Genesis Fund serves all of Maine and beyond, with its office at 22 Lincoln St in Brunswick.

The Genesis Fund creates statewide impact by helping Maine people wherever the need is the greatest.

Liza stepped into her role as Executive Director in January of 2020, taking on responsibility for overseeing all leadership and management activities, including strategic program development and capitalization. Prior to assuming leadership of the organization, Liza served as Deputy Director for 14 years. In that role, she was responsible for developing new program initiatives, overseeing lending, leading policy advocacy and raising capital to secure resources for the benefit of low-income people and communities. Liza's experience also includes raising funds for a nonprofit foundation to support community organizing and social change, and directing efforts to secure community resources for homeless women and their children. Liza holds a B.A. in American Studies from Smith College and a Master's in Social Work from the University of Michigan. She completed the Citi Leadership Program for Opportunity Finance and currently serves as Chair of the Maine Affordable Housing Coalition.

Jenny assumed the role of Deputy Director & Chief Financial Officer in January of 2020, after serving as Genesis Fund's Director of Finance and Administration since 2016. Jenny's past experience includes over a dozen years in both nonprofit management and community-based work. Jenny brings a particular interest in building strong internal financial and operational systems, as well as a passion for housing and community development she first cultivated as the leader of her college's campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. Prior to joining the Genesis Fund, Jenny worked as Managing Director at the Environmental Health Strategy Center, as Organizing Director at the Maine People's Alliance, and as a staff person at the Center for Community Change. She has also served as Treasurer or finance committee member on several nonprofit boards. Jenny holds a B.A. from Dartmouth College and a Masters degree in Public Policy and Management from the Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. She obtained a Certificate in Community Development Finance from the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire and is a graduate of the Lift360 (Formerly Institute for Civic Leadership) Leadership Intensive.

Prior to joining the Genesis Fund, Erica worked with New Ventures Maine/University of Maine Augusta for ten years in asset, business and workforce development. She also worked in fundraising and development for Maine Audubon, EqualityMaine and other nonprofit organizations. Erica has served on several boards and committees including Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Maine Humanities, Maine Community Foundation, Maine Women's Fund, Maine Initiatives, MaineShare, Wintergreen Arts Center, Momentum Aroostook, and Maine Downtown Center of the Maine Development Foundation. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from New College of Florida and an M.A in American and New England studies from University of Southern Maine and was a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellow in Canadian-American History at the University of Maine. Erica is a 2018 graduate of Leadership Maine and was recognized in 2011 as the Maine SBA Women in Business Champion and a MaineToday Media "Forty under 40" Emerging Leader. In her spare time, she composes a cappella choral mustic and teaches horse back riding.

John joined Genesis in October of 2020. As the organization's Chief Lending and Program Officer, he is responsible for leading the lending and technical assistance programs, and will also spearhead business development initiatives, collaborating with the rest of the executive team to initiate and cultivate key partnerships for the organization. Prior to joining Genesis, John's 30-plus years of community development experience included 20 years at CEI, Inc. as a housing developer and lender, and most recently as CEI's Chief Investment Officer, overseeing the organization's lending and investment staff. Prior to his tenure at CEI, John's community development experience included working with nonprofit agencies to develop and manage a variety of multifamily and special-needs housing projects. John also served as the Manager of Multifamily Programs at MaineHousing, and, earlier in his career, worked to develop HUD, tax credit, and supported housing projects in Alaska. John also serves on the Freeport Town Council. He resides in Freeport with his partner of 30 years, Michelle, and two loveable dogs. When not behind the laptop, John enjoys cooking, hiking, being in the woods and stargazing.

Mark moved to Maine in 1991 to pursue and MBA and never left. He has over 20 years of work-related experience in real estate development/management with a focus on affordable housing. Prior to joining the Genesis Fund he served as the Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity 7 Rivers. Mark resides in Yarmouth, where he serves as the President of Yarmouth Senior Housing. He was the former Director of Yarmouth's annual Clam Festival, and is the proud holder of a Maine recreational lobster license.

John holds an MBA from Southern New Hampshire University and a BS from New Hampshire College. After four years in the U.S. Navy, John worked in the commercial real estate market and was a partner in a real estate firm in the Bath/Brunswick market, where he oversaw the rehabilitation and management of rental properties. John joined MaineHousing in 1996 as a multifamily loan officer, and was soon promoted to the manager of the department. In 1999 John became the Executive Director of Westbrook Housing. In 2012 John returned to MaineHousing as Executive Director. He is now semi retired and owns JJG Consulting, a business consulting firm. John has been married to Yo Gallagher of Brunswick for the past 46 years and they have one son, Joe who also lives in Brunswick. John enjoys music, and playing and building guitars.

Nina got her start in the nonprofit and accounting world in the remote village of Chignik, Alaska where she served as the first Municipal Clerk of this small indigenous community of approximately 100 people. Family connections and childhood roots in New England brought her to Maine in 1987. Here she continued providing financial and administrative services for local governments (Town of Falmouth and South Portland) and nonprofits (MANP, Creative Portland, Environmental Strategy Health Center, LARK Society for Chamber Music, PORT Opera, Dempsey Center for Quality Cancer Care and the Cancer Community Center).Nina is also a clarinetist, conductor and teacher of students from age 10-90. She plays regularly with the Shifting Winds Woodwind Quintet, Coastal Winds Community Band, and Pan Fried Steel Drum Band and enjoys occasional musical theatre and chamber music gigs. Her recent endeavors include starting a New Horizons Concert Band for Adults aspiring to learn to play an instrument and becoming the Music/Program Director of the Adult Band Camp hosted annually in August by Snow Pond Center for the Arts on the historic New England Music Campus on Messalonskee Lake in Sidney, Maine.

Eileen became a member of the Genesis Fund team in the summer of 2017, originally filling the role of Administrative Coordinator. Eileen has since expanded her role at Genesis to include development support duties, working on fundraising initiatives, maintaining investor and donor relationships, and developing marketing campaigns. Eileen has over 17 years of experience managing a wide variety of Maine-based business enterprises. Most recently, Eileen served as Office Manager and Bookkeeper for a wholesale seafood broker with operations in the Mid Coast. Eileen's prior experience includes office management, customer service, and bookkeeping roles at a garden center and plant nursery. Earlier in her career, Eileen worked as a copywriter at a Portland advertising agency and as marketing coordinator at a children's book publisher in New York City. Eileen hails from Newcastle, is a graduate of Lincoln Academy, and holds a B.A. in History from the University of Southern Maine. She lives in Arrowsic with her husband and two children, and serves on the Board of Trustees at the Patten Free Library in Bath.

Prior to joining the Genesis Fund, Jennifer spent eight years at Howe Cahill & Co, where she worked with nonprofits to support legislative initiatives. Additionally she worked staffing the Insurance and Financial Services Committee in the Maine State Legislature. Jennifer has over a decade of experience supporting public education in the Midcoast area. As a researcher, she worked on community needs assessments that informed strategic planning and investments in areas ranging from affordable housing to family support survices. She began her career as an insurance underwriter at AIG in Boston. Jennifer holds a BA in economics from Simmons College and is working towards paralegal certification at the University of Maine. She is an active member of the Midcoast community and sits on the RSU 1 school board.

Board of Directors