New Loan Closings: Central Family Life, Graduate Philadelphia, Thinkubator, Urban Tree Connection

January 18, 2022

The Central Family Life Center: Improving the lives of Staten Island residents

$250,000 working capital loan 

The Central Family Life Center (“The Center”) is a multi-service agency serving the North Shore of Staten Island through programming focused on education, training, counseling, job placement, and leadership. Its 10,000 square foot facility is the only minority-led community center of its kind in Staten Island, and it houses many critical social services programs for the borough's diverse residents. It recently acquired a second property to house its growing team and operates a mobile trauma unit that provides response teams that quickly address any violence prevention needs in the community. 

The Center is almost entirely reliant on government contracts – contracts that are paid after it runs programs and are often delayed, creating significant cash flow issues for the organization. Offered through NFF’s zero-interest CARE Fund, this loan will bridge the gap between when The Center spends money to run programs and receives money from government contracts, ensuring that it can continue to provide timely payments to the staff running critical social services and violence prevention efforts across Staten Island. 

Graduate Philadelphia: Supporting Philadelphians’ educational and professional aspirations

$250,000 working capital loan 

Based in Philadelphia, PA, Graduate Philadelphia provides advising, coaching, re-enrollment, and perseverance support to adults who live and/or work in the Philadelphia region and have previous college credit but have not yet earned a degree. As a direct response to the needs of lower-income job seekers and incumbent workers, Graduate Philadelphia’s work addresses historic, pervasive inequities related to postsecondary attainment, living-wage employment, and relationship capital. Recognizing that the needs of its clients do not revolve solely around attaining degrees, Graduate Philadelphia complements its core degree completion programs with a portfolio of short courses, micro-credentials, and workforce certificates. 

Graduate Philadelphia receives a significant portion of its revenue from contracts with the City of Philadelphia; however, these payments are given after the organization offers services and are often delayed, creating cash flow issues for the nonprofit. Offered through NFF’s zero-interest CARE Fund, this loan will smooth over these cash flow challenges by bridging the period between when they offer services and when they receive payment. An additional source of revenue for the organization is contracts with colleges and universities; however, COVID-19 forced Graduate Philadelphia to cancel recruitment events where they networked with colleges and universities, and their revenue decreased as a result. A portion of this loan will also bridge the period until these events resume at their former frequency and contracts with colleges and universities return. With this capital on hand, Graduate Philadelphia can continue to provide the education and workforce development services that so many Philadelphians depend on to achieve their long-term goals. 

Thinkubator: Engaging Bronx youth as community activists

$50,000 working capital loan 

The Thinkubator is an innovation and workforce development organization that works primarily with young people in the Bronx. They approach their work with a racial and economic equity lens through three major areas: education, research, and community. Through these programs, the Thinkubator prepares young people to succeed in the workplace and the world, tackle issues that inhibit community growth, development, and productivity, and develop the research and analytical skills to explore policy solutions to complex challenges.  

The Thinkubator was founded in 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. After their first full year of operations, they are exploring how to leverage the significant momentum they have built by investing in revenue generation that will support their long-term sustainability. Currently, the Thinkubator’s CEO does most of the organization’s fundraising; hiring a full-time employee focused on development will allow the organization to deepen its existing relationships with funders and explore new fundraising relationships while freeing up the CEO to focus on other responsibilities. Offered through NFF’s zero-interest CARE Fund, this loan will provide the Thinkubator with the resources it needs to pursue this hire – ensuring that this new organization and the services it provides to Bronx youth will be around for years to come. 

Urban Tree Connection: Reclaiming land, uniting neighbors, and building food sovereignty

$60,000 working capital loan 

Over the last two decades, Urban Tree Connection has transformed the West Philadelphia neighborhood of Haddington alongside community leaders, catalyzing residents' demand for green space and locally produced fresh food. They have redeveloped 29 vacant lots, totaling more than 86,000 square feet of land for communal growing and gathering, sustainable (chemical free) food production and distribution, and multigenerational health and wellness education. This includes a ¾ acre urban farm – Neighborhood Foods Farm - which produces over 6,500 pounds of chemical-free produce annually. UTC has been at the forefront of urban farming and land reclamation movements in Philadelphia, helping pioneer key tools for legal reclamation of abandoned properties. 

Neighbors, once isolated from each other, increasingly connect through the gardens created on these formerly abandoned lots, as well as through the diverse array of educational and community programs that UTC offers. These personal connections have, in turn, empowered neighbors to continue to transform their community. Today, Haddington residents are increasingly realizing the potential for growing food on abandoned lots in their neighborhood and are active partners with UTC in developing a community based local food system aimed at making affordable, healthy, Haddington-grown food available to every neighbor. 

Offered through NFF’s CARE Fund, this loan will replace a collateral-dependent loan with a 5% interest rate with an unsecured, zero-interest loan. This will free up cash that would have been spent on interest on credit to invest into Urban Tree Connection’s infrastructure and the community it serves. It is also a first step towards one of Urban Tree Connection’s long-term goals: a partnership with a financial institution that shares the organization’s commitment to racial and economic justice.  

Learn more about NFF’s loan products on the financing page of our website.

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