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Article Archives: Massachusetts

Help for Cooperatively Owned Businesses

The Cooperative Fund of New England is a Community Development Financial Institution focused on providing financial and technical assistance to community-based, cooperatively owned businesses and nonprofits serving low-income communities throughout New England and parts of eastern New York state.

Founded in 1975 to support food cooperative development, the Cooperative Fund has recently expanded its focus to include other types of cooperatives involved in affordable housing development and job creation. Loans made by the Cooperative Fund can cover such needs as working capital, predevelopment costs, business expansion, and equipment and real estate purchases.

In 2010, the Cooperative Fund made loans that resulted in the creation or retention of 616 jobs and 545 units of affordable housing throughout its service area, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont. Recent loans originated by the Cooperative Fund have supported a variety of activities, including local retail food cooperatives, energy-efficiency service providers, youth services, affordable housing development, and rural and urban food production.

Loans provided to the Cooperative Fund are used exclusively as capital for its revolving loan program. Contributions and grants help the fund to provide technical and educational services that support its lending activities.

To learn more about the Cooperative Fund, including potential investment and lending opportunities, please contact Executive Director Rebecca Dunn at (800) 818-7833, or e-mail rdunn@coopfund.coop.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

Massachusetts Finances New Smart Growth Initiatives
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts recently enacted two legislative initiatives ("40R" and "40S") that provide funding for communities with "Smart Growth" development plans. 40R provides financial incentives to communities building higher-density affordable housing and mixed-use developments in designated smart growth areas. Smart growth areas are designed to minimize sprawl by focusing development in locations with public transportation and infrastructure requirements already in place, and with "walkable" town centers providing shopping and employment opportunities independent of cars and highways. The companion legislation, 40S, provides direct payments to towns offsetting increased educational costs per family for the newly occupied affordable housing units.

To learn more about these programs, contact the Office for Commonwealth Development, (617) 573-1380 or visit its Web site at: www.mass.gov/ocd.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2006-2007]

Environmentally Sustainable and Energy Efficient Housing
Boston Community Capital (BCC), a certified community development financial institution, and its partners in the Green Building Production Network are supporting the economic development of low-income communities throughout Massachusetts and the northeastern United States. They announced that four community organizations were awarded $2 million in commitments to help build or renovate more than 800 units of mixed-income housing with state-of-the-art environmental and energy design features. The projects, located throughout the Boston metropolitan area, are in the Chinatown, Roxbury, Jamaica Plain, and Cambridge neighborhoods.

Financial institutions interested in investing in these developments, or supporting BCC in other ways, should contact DeWitt Jones at (617) 427-3580 or visit BCC's Web site at www.bostoncommunitycapital.org/.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Spring 2006]

New Markets Tax Credits in Massachusetts
Banks serving the eastern Massachusetts marketplace have a new opportunity to invest in community development projects. Affirmative New Markets LLC (ANMLLC) of Boston was recently awarded $12 million in tax credits by the Treasury Department's CDFI Fund. Those credits will now be available to private investors seeking to support the organization's community development objectives. ANMLLC will use investors' funds to finance and develop office space for organizations providing community services to low- and moderate-income residents of Falmouth and Boston. The tax credit subsidy will reduce the project's commercial rental rates, allowing the service providers to remain in the same communities as the populations they serve.

For more information, contact David Ennius of Affirmative New Markets LLC at (617) 387-4300.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Winter 2004/2005]

Small Allocations of New Markets Tax Credits Can Go a Long Way
Even relatively small New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocations can make a big difference to neighborhood businesses, as two Northeastern District community development entities have set out to prove. Although the average first round NMTC allocation was $38 million, some enterprising organizations are planning big changes in their local communities with allocations of $1 million or less. That is the case with Boston's Roxbury-based Nuestra Development Fund that will use its $1 million dollar allocation to provide subordinated debt to small, community-based businesses seeking capital to purchase or rehabilitate their properties. In Pittsburgh, the Northside Community Development Fund received the smallest NMTC allocation -- $500,000 -- but has big plans for helping local small businesses. It will use its allocation to offer microenterprise loans, provide gap financing, and offer counseling services to neighborhood small businesses.

Contacts: Evelyn Friedman at Nuestra Development Fund (617) 989-1202; Linda LeFever at Northside Community Development Fund (412) 322-0290.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2003]