NFF Dollars at Work

Get to know our many financing partners on the road to a more just and vibrant society.

Memphis Business Academy (MBA), a charter school organization that serves over 1,800 students across six schools in Frayser, has a mission to ensure the high academic achievement of local students and help them develop the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that will set them up for success both in and out of the classroom. MBA’s latest project to expand access to education in the community is a new building for Memphis STEM Academy, a school with 230 students that currently operates in a small rented space. The new facility, Harmony Plaza, will allow the school to expand from K-3 to K-5, and offer new classrooms, state-of-the-art labs, a multipurpose room, a library, and offices. NFF provided a nearly $4.5-million loan to help finance the $14-million project. The new school building is expected to open in the fall of 2020.

Co-investors: BlueHub Capital, Hope Enterprise Corporation/Hope Credit Union, SunTrust Community Capital, LLC

Abode Communities has been working to address the disparity between income and housing affordability throughout California since 1968. As such, the organization creates supportive housing to ensure that families, seniors, and homeless populations have the housing and social service support needed to remain stable as they work toward self-sufficiency and upward mobility. It currently owns and operates 38 affordable housing developments with 2,567 units serving 7,345 people. In conjunction with Program Related Investment and below market loans from the California Community Foundation and the Weingart Foundation, NFF provided a $2-million loan to Abode Communities for flexible, enterprise-level pre-development financing to support their development pipeline which includes nearly 600 homes for some 2,500 people in need. NFF’s loan was made possible by Bank of America, which helps connect community-based organizations like Abode Communities, a 2016 Bank of America Neighborhood Builder®, to low-cost capital that will further sustainable growth.

RISE Prep Mayoral Academy believes that college begins in kindergarten and that every class of new scholars offers an opportunity to prove that demographics do not determine destiny. With a culture that celebrates joy as well as rigor, RISE Prep’s school days are two hours longer than traditional public schools so that students get ample instructional time to perform their best. RISE Prep is building a new facility, which will serve as the school’s permanent home and allow for expansion to serve grades K-8. In collaboration with another investor, NFF provided $3.3 million to RISE Prep in 2017 toward the initial $6.6-million building project, and most recently provided $1.3 million to support a second phase of renovation. With the renovation, the total development costs are $9.2 million.

Co-investor: LISC

Memphis Rise Academy (MRA) opened its doors in 2014. It's the top performing K-8 charter school in its district and currently operates a middle and high school in Memphis' Raleigh neighborhood. The school serves a proportionately higher number of Latinx students than its school district and partners, with local organizations providing support supports for MRA's students and families. The middle school currently operates out of modular classrooms and will use financing from NFF and other co-investors to build a permanent middle school addition and gym to its high school campus. Given the school’s academic success, there has been an increase in popularity as seen by the 467 students on the waitlist. MRA currently serves sixth through tenth grades, and by 2020-21, MRA will have a full enrollment of 768 students in grades six through 12.

Co-investor: BlueHub Capital

Green Dot Public Schools is a high-performing charter school management organization with regional networks in California and Tennessee. Green Dot has a strong history of turning around under-performing schools in CA and expanded in TN by taking over four under-performing schools. Green Dot’s TN network recently opened its first independent startup school in Memphis, Bluff City High School. In 2018, NFF provided a $1.5- million loan to build modular classrooms for ninth and tenth graders at Bluff City High School. This latest round of financing will help Bluff City build additional classrooms so they can accommodate the addition of 11th and 12th grade students. The school will add a new grade each year with a total of 640 at full enrollment.

Co-investor: BlueHub Capital

Little Tokyo Service Center (LTSC) was founded in 1979 by a group of Japanese American activists as a multi-purpose social service center in Los Angeles. When local residents were being evicted to make way for private development, LTSC began advocating for the housing rights of low-income individuals, leading to the establishment of a community development arm in 1994. Today, LTSC offers over a dozen community and social service programs, serving tens of thousands of people annually, and operates nearly 1,000 units of affordable housing. NFF’s $500,000 participation in a $1.5-million predevelopment loan led by Low Income Investment Fund will support LTSC through the initial process of constructing 120 units of affordable housing – half of which will be supportive housing – and 13,000 square feet of community services space in the Little Tokyo neighborhood.

Co-investor: LIIF

Community Connections for Youth (CCFY) brings together grassroots faith and neighborhood organizations to develop community-driven alternatives to incarceration for youth in the Bronx, using an approach that is restorative and strengths-based and that links young people, their communities, and their families in the juvenile justice reform process. In 2017, CCFY was awarded a 5-year, $10.3-million contract from the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, through the Criminal Justice Investment Initiative, to operate a “Youth Opportunity Hub” in Harlem. The hub gathers community-based organizations under one roof to provide a range of resources, services, and activities to support youth who have been involved or are at risk of involvement with the justice system. NFF’s $1-million line of credit will be used to prevent cash shortages as CCFY awaits reimbursement for this work and payments from other government contracts.

The Ali Forney Center (AFC) assists nearly 1,400 young people annually and is the largest agency dedicated to LGBTQ homeless youth in the country. Since 2002, AFC has provided emergency housing, HIV and STD prevention programs, job readiness training, and medical and behavioral health services for 16- to 24-year olds in New York City. AFC also operates a 24-hour Drop-In Center which provides over 70,000 meals every year. Many of AFC’s clients don’t feel safe in regular homeless shelters due to their age, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Due to its unique model, about half of AFC’s clients come from other states and some are even from outside the United States. AFC operates several government contracts, and the NFF financing will provide much-needed cash flow in between contract renewals and delayed payments.
Make the Road New York (MRNY) was founded in 1997 and serves immigrants and low-income people of color in New York City and in Westchester, Nassau and Suffolk counties. MRNY provides legal and supportive services, adult education, youth development, and workforce training. With financing from NFF and Capital Impact Partners, BlueHub Capital, and other partners, MRNY will build a striking new 24,000-square-foot facility, designed by a renowned international architecture firm, that will be an inviting asset to the vibrant neighborhood of Corona, Queens. The $28.6-million project will allow MRNY to consolidate operations, increase access to their social service programs by 30 percent, and create and retain approximately 107 quality, permanent, full-time jobs. The financing includes: from NFF, $5 million in loans and $10 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation; from BlueHub, a $9.5-million loan; from Capital Impact, a $3.7-million loan; from PNC, $9.2 million in tax credit equity; from NYCR-CDE, an affiliate of the New York City Regional Center, $8 million in NMTC allocation; and from Popular Community Capital, LLC (an affiliate of Popular Bank and a subsidiary of Banco Popular de Puerto Rico), $9 million in NMTC allocation. Rise Community Capital provided real estate and financing advice, helping MRNY secure this flexible capital. Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and SeaChange Capital Partners’ Contact Fund provided early funding to the project, LISC with a $6.3-million acquisition loan that closed in 2017, and Contact Fund with $600,000 in predevelopment financing.
For over 30 years, TechSoup has provided technology and information services to help nonprofits operate more effectively. To meet growing demand, TechSoup is broadening its global distribution network to bring more hardware, software, and content to mission-driven organizations around the world. NFF financing will augment TechSoup’s resources for research and development to continue to grow and enhance core programs. This deal represents a continued partnership; NFF provided TechSoup with a line of credit in 2004 to scale their NGO Tech Marketplace.
Community Foods Market (CFM) is a start-up for-profit venture, founded by food advocacy nonprofit, People’s Grocery. NFF is participating in a $6.1 million leverage loan as part of a NMTC transaction led by Community Vision. This money will help CFM complete construction on a 14,000-square-foot full-service grocery store in a West Oakland neighborhood considered to be a food desert. The new store will provide high-quality fresh foods, including produce, meat, and seafood, at affordable prices and be the first of its kind in the neighborhood in over 40 years. The total project will cost $14.7 million, and CFM expects to hire 58 employees in the first year of operation – 75 percent will be low-income residents from surrounding neighborhoods.
Rubicon Programs provides employment, housing, mental health, and other wraparound services to low-income individuals, providing pathways to develop the economic mobility and independence to move out of the cycle of poverty. In 2018 the nonprofit Rubicon Programs, Inc. (RPI) created a subsidiary, Rubicon Landscape Corporation (RLC), a social enterprise, to expand its existing landscaping business beyond federal contracts. RLC will return profits to RPI to support growing its wraparound services. NFF provided loans to the organizations to cover the expense of launching RLC and provide RLC with three months of start-up working capital. Rubicon programs has been an NFF client since 2005.

Callen-Lorde is a Federally Qualified Health Center that provides healthcare and related services to LGBTQ communities. It currently operates three locations in New York City, two in Manhattan and one in the Bronx, but demand continues to rise. With financing from NFF and other partners in a leveraged New Markets Tax Credit structure, Callen-Lorde will establish a new health center in Downtown Brooklyn. The $19-million project will create a 25,000-square-foot space to provide primary medical care and behavioral health services and an onsite pharmacy. At full capacity, by 2023, the Brooklyn site is expected to serve 13,000 patients through 60,000 visits and will employ 98 full-time employees. More than 90% of patients are estimated to be low-income. Callen-Lorde has been an NFF client since 1996.

Co-investors: BlueHub Capital, Primary Care Development Corporation

The Women’s Housing and Economic Development Corporation (WHEDco) provides a variety of services including early childhood education, afterschool programs, access to healthy food, and economic development. NFF financing will help bridge government grants and loans, and with the funds, WHEDco will renovate their Urban Horizons Community Facility in the South Bronx. The $3-million project will encompass updates to HVAC, lighting, flooring, cabinetry, bathrooms and plumbing.
Housing Works provides healthcare, job training, and legal assistance to over 30,000 people living with HIV/AIDS in New York, and operates 14 thrift stores and a bookstore café. NFF led a $2.6-million financing with lending partners that will support a $4-million project to transform office space into a Federally Qualified Health Center, with expanded substance-use programs and an on-site pharmacy and case management. Separately, NFF will also provide a $2.5-million line of credit for working capital, and a $340,000 loan for renovations to the bookstore café and four thrift stores.
Gestalt is a nonprofit charter management organization that operates five schools in low-income Memphis communities. In 2017, NFF financing helped Gestalt purchase a retail shopping center and create space to house two schools across the road from Power Center Academy Middle School, creating a comprehensive campus. This latest round of financing is part of a $17.3 million project to renovate that same property for Power Center Academy High School and Power Center Academy Elementary School. Updates include a library, administrative offices, a playground, and over 50 classrooms. The new schools are scheduled to be completed in time for the 2019 school year.

Rio Hondo Education Consortium (dba LEARN) provides 5,000 underserved K-12 students with afterschool and summer learning opportunities at 23 primary and secondary schools in East Los Angeles. After receiving increased government funding, LEARN needed financing to bridge receivables. NFF’s $1,000,000 line of credit will be used to provide academic assistance, workforce training, field trips, and recreational programs until LEARN is reimbursed.

Irish Arts Center, founded in 1972, is an arts and culture center in New York City that presents and preserves Irish cultural stories and traditions through performances, visual arts, and education. NFF’s $1.5 million revolving loan will bridge private pledges and two New York state grants as Irish Arts Center begins construction on a second building, which will include a 160-seat theater, two classrooms, and a cafe.

Tacoma Community House (TCH) serves over 3,500 people each year, primarily immigrants and refugees, promoting self-sufficiency through its four core programs: education, employment assistance, immigration services, and legal advocacy for victims of crime and abuse. NFF is participating in a larger financing package to fund construction of a new building that will double TCH’s space, from 14,000 to 27,000 square feet, allowing the organization to serve 6,000 clients each year by 2025.

Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency has provided community development and housing services since 1938. With NFF financing, the agency will work with the Martha O’Bryan Center to build the Explore! Community Charter School in Cayce, a distressed neighborhood in East Nashville. The 87,000 square-foot facility will ultimately serve 874 students and will be part of a larger development project that will include a library, health center, grocery store, community center, and 2,600 units of affordable housing.

Civic Builders builds and leases charter school facilities in neighborhoods in need of high-quality education options. With $5 million in financing from NFF, Civic Builders will renovate a pre-existing 52,500-square-foot warehouse that will become Neighborhood Charter School Bronx. Renovations for the $28 million project include science labs, art rooms, music rooms, office space, 40 classrooms, a cafeteria and a gymnasium. When at full capacity, Neighborhood Charter School will serve 620 students in grades K-8.

Citizens of the World Charter Schools (CWCLA) operates three charter schools that boast a comprehensive curriculum and strong student academic performance. NFF’s support will give CWCLA the resources to renovate a campus for an elementary school, allowing the organization to centralize three separate, non-adjacent sites into a single location. This will create a stable, long-term solution that will boost enrollment and create efficiency in the elementary school’s operations.

Brooklyn Lab Charter Schools operates using a unique model that focuses on creating a high-quality learning environment for students with disabilities. Using NFF financing, Brooklyn Lab Charter Schools will renovate an existing building in Downtown Brooklyn to create their third charter school campus. Updates will include classrooms, a cafeteria, meeting rooms, a performing arts space, and offices. At full capacity, this school will serve nearly 1,300 students in grades 6-12.

Over the last five years demand has risen for Community Servings’ medically-tailored meals program. NFF’s financing will help build a $21 million “Food Campus” in Jamaica Plain, which will provide Community Servings the space to expand their programs. Once the campus is complete, 3,650 more people will receive medically-tailored meals, 40 more individuals will be able to complete job training programs, and 5,000 more low-income, immigrant, and minority residents will gain access to social services, such as education, college access, health programs, legal assistance, and leadership development.

Ascend has been managing charter schools in Brooklyn since 2008. With this latest round of NFF financing, Ascend will execute substantial renovations to three of the 10 schools currently in their education system. Improvements include additional classrooms, gymnasiums, offices, multipurpose rooms, kitchens, and updated lighting, HVAC systems, and flooring. These renovations will give Ascend the capacity to serve 3,000 more students, bringing the total enrollment across the system to 7,400 students by the 2026-27 school year. Ascend has been an NFF client since 2010.

Skid Row Housing Trust acquires, develops, and operates affordable housing units in downtown Los Angeles, providing supportive housing and services that allow people who have experienced homelessness, prolonged extreme poverty, poor health, disabilities, mental illness and/or addiction to lead safe and stable lives. SRHT operates 24 affordable housing buildings with over 1,800 permanent and supportive units.  By bridging seasonal developer fee payments, NFF's financing will provide Skid Row with the critical working capital and cashflow support needed to continue delivering supportive housing and services to LA residents.

Unity Health Care is the largest Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) in Washington, DC, serving about 60 percent of the District’s FQHC patients. Approximately 98 percent of Unity's clients are minorities, and 92 percent are considered low-income. NFF’s loan will help create a health center within a larger mixed-use development. The new center will serve 17,000 patients and replace two outdated clinics in the neighborhood.

The Food Trust has been providing nutrition education and a stable supply of fresh foods to underserved communities for 25 years. The Food Trust relies heavily on government contracts, and NFF’s line of credit will help provide operational capital to sustain the organization in between government contract payments. The Food Trust has been a NFF client since 2001.

Rockaway Waterfront Alliance (RWA) is a community-based organization that helps residents in the Rockaways region by providing programs that explore climate change, urban farming, renewable energy, cooking healthy foods, recycling, and water safety. RWA also provides a mentorship program for high school students to do paid internships and conduct environmental research. NFF’s financing will help RWA refinance existing debt and provide funds to cover expenses until the disbursement of government grants.

First Step Staffing is an Atlanta-based nonprofit staffing company that focuses on employing the homeless and those recently released from prison. With NFF's support, First Step purchased part of a for-profit staffing company, On Time Staffing, which will be subsumed into First Step's nonprofit operations. First Step hopes to replicate their successful Atlanta program and expects to employ 500 homeless men and women by the end of the first year, growing to 1,000 by year three.

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