There once was a Community Development Financial Institution, or CDFI, known as Community Financial Resource Center, or CFRC. If you find this confusing already, you’re not alone. Both the full name and the acronym were notoriously difficult to remember or use in a sentence. In spite of that, CFRC went on to forge twenty years of success helping the residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods build financial assets and lift themselves out of poverty.

Receiving most of their funding from commercial banks, the organization suffered during the 2008 downturn and the financial consolidation period that followed. Boardwalk stepped in to help the group rebrand to face their daunting new reality. After a lengthy discovery process and some difficult soul-searching, CFRC eventually realized that their most potent differentiator was their proven ability to bring transformation to individual lives and, through them, to entire neighborhoods. Accordingly, their brand positioning was built around the concept of transformation and their brand promise was rewritten to emphasize that.

But that left the problem of their name. Besides being a tongue twister even to those close to the organization, the name proved to be a barrier to the very people the organization was commissioned to serve. Many potential clients found the name intimidating and refrained from approaching, even though they could benefit immensely from the organization’s services. Boardwalk guided an extensive name search that ultimately resulted in a new acronym: Reach. Invest. Succeed. Earn. Or, RISE. The qualifier “Financial Pathways” was added to emphasize the various ways one can achieve financial goals. An important benefit of the new name, besides its inspirational quality, is the ease with which one can remember it and use it in conversation.

The new name meant, of course, that a new visual identity system was required. So, as part of the overall brand developent, Boardwalk led the identity effort as well. The rebrand draws the organization closer to its client base while, at the same time, signals renewed strength and resolve to the organization’s funding sources, the banks. 

Service companies can build formidable brands too. Let Boardwalk’s branding services show you how.

“The Boardwalk team consistently exceeded our expectations.”


In anticipation of our 20th Anniversary, Boardwalk’s creative brilliance helped us reengineer both our messaging and brand identity. Their ability to create fresh, fetching images that appealed to the array of audiences that our organization engaged with was nothing shy of impressive. The Boardwalk team consistently exceeded our expectations throughout the process with outstanding customer service, expertise, project management, and keen market intelligence. Kevin truly understood the complexity of our case and met the challenge boldly – meanwhile working with our team in a collaborative and inclusive way. I gladly offer my highest praises and endorsement to Kevin and Boardwalk for creating a superb product for CFRC.

Tara Taylor
COO, RISE Financial Pathways