The CDLC: A History of Leadership in Expanding the Legal Assistance Available to Oregon’s Tax-Exempt Corporations
The Community Development Law Center (“CDLC”) is a nonprofit legal services organization that helps tax-exempt corporations develop affordable housing, establish lending programs, and launch businesses in distressed communities. CDLC’s clients consist of community development corporations, rural housing authorities, and other tax-exempt corporations.
CDLC was founded in 2000 as a project of Legal Aid Services of Oregon and the Lawyers’ Campaign for Equal Justice. Since its inception, CDLC has helped almost 50 nonprofit organizations develop or preserve over 800 units of housing using financing tools such as federal tax credits, federal loan and grant products, and state farm worker tax credits. We have helped clients develop second mortgage loan products, launch home repair loan programs, and harness the federal Section 8 program to fund home purchases by first-time buyers. We have conducted corporate mergers, helped clients structure revenue-generating business ventures, drafted employee handbooks, and implemented reductions in force. We have also trained nonprofit staff and board members on subjects including asset management, board members’ duties, and the real estate development process.
Providing Leadership Through Collaboration and Innovation
CDLC has forged collaborations with a range of institutions and attorneys to enhance our capacity to assist Oregon’s tax-exempt corporations. In a testament to CDLC’s expertise, Lewis and Clark Law School has engaged CDLC to develop, launch, and operate the Law School’s Community Development Law Project. CDLC staff will train law students to assist tax-exempt corporations with business transactions in the Business Law Practicum course. CDLC attorneys will also teach weekly seminars on corporate, real estate, and employment law issues. This collaboration with the Law School will expand CDLC’s capacity to represent clients, and will enable CDLC to engage a new generation of business lawyers in the representation of nonprofit organizations.
CDLC has collaborated with over 80 pro bono attorneys, as well as with leaders of the Multnomah Bar Association’s Nonprofit Project, to expand the legal assistance available to Oregon’s tax-exempt corporations. CDLC is now a program of St. Andrew Legal Clinic.