Development Finance Initiative

The Development Finance Initiative (DFI) at the School of Government partners with local governments in North Carolina to attract private investment for transformative projects by providing specialized finance and development expertise. DFI partners with communities on projects including:

  • Building reuse
  • Community development
  • Downtown revitalization
  • Economic development
  • Neighborhood redevelopment
  • Small business finance

What services are available from DFI?

DFI services support implementation of local community and economic development priorities that require private investment. DFI can be thought of as an extension of a local government’s planning, finance, economic and community development departments. DFI services include:

  • Assessment of distressed properties
  • Creation of Requests for Proposals (RFPs) to attract private development into underserved areas
  • Real estate finance and structuring, including identification of investors, lenders, tax credit equity sources and other partners
  • Advising on public-private partnerships and development incentives
  • Assistance with pre-development including appraisals, cost assumptions, project budgets, operating statements, and marketing data
  • Evaluation of development proposals, agreements and contracts
  • Assessment of developer experience and capacity
  • Development of small business finance programs

What development finance tools can DFI help our community to implement?

The DFI team’s experience touches on a range of development finance tools that are designed to attract private investment into local community and economic development projects including:

  • targeted financing (Tax Increment Financing (TIF), Business Improvement Districts (BIDs), etc.)
  • tax credit financing (historic preservation, new markets, brown fields, low-income housing, etc.)
  • loan funds (revolving loan funds, microenterprise loans, and innovative debt and equity hybrid products such as shared equity homeownership, etc.)
  • secondary market and securitization programs (loan loss reserve funds, supporting the growth of secondary markets)
  • equity (community development venture capital)
  • federal grant programs (CDBG, HUD and EDA)

How to get DFI engaged in our community?

DFI is a fee-based service of the School of Government. Costs for smaller towns and economically-distressed communities may be subsidized by third party partners. Assistance is available on an ongoing or project by project basis depending on the needs of the community. Contact Christy Raulli (919.843.7736,, Michael Lemanski (919.962.0942,, or Tyler Mulligan (919.962.0987, Initial contact may be followed by a site visit and a letter of agreement for DFI services.