CEI is actively involved in measuring the impact that we have on the communities and businesses in our project areas.
Whether it's neighborhood redevelopment, a shopping mall that brings in an array of consumer services to a poor community, or a value-added wood products business in a rural community, CEI works to understand the market and then respond creatively.
Yet with $5 billion in assets under management nationally, community development institutions must be accountable. CEI realizes that it needs to "walk the talk" and approach its own activities with the discipline expected of the businesses with which it works.
Like its peers, CEI is a mission-driven corporation. Our central values are justice, diversity, entrepreneurship, collaboration with partners and stakeholders, customer service, professional development, employee participation in the workplace, and the health of communities. Frequent reflection upon these values to reexamine and test them generates and renews commitment to the work.
CDCs and CDFIs are best at experimentation and innovation with products and services that help develop economic opportunities for people and communities with low incomes. Thin as their resources are, CDCs/CDFIs must demonstrate courage, learn from mistakes, and persist in their entrepreneurial effort to ameliorate the conditions of poverty.