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Article Archives: Texas

Expanding Day Care and Early-Childhood Education

First Children’s Finance (FCF) is a nonprofit community development financial institution working to increase the availability of quality early-childhood education and day care for low-income families in Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin.

The nonprofit provides expertise and capital to other service organization and businesses. FCF offers services, including training and support for people interested in starting child-care businesses; strategic planning support for nonprofits; and consulting.

The FCF Loan Fund has made 281 loans totaling $8.1 million to small child-care businesses and nonprofit organizations. To date, nearly 50 banks, foundations, and businesses have invested in the FCF Loan Fund. Bankers can help FCF by investing capital in its loan fund; volunteering to serve as board and loan committee members; serving as advisors to the FCF Growth Fund; and making financial contributions to FCF.

For more information, contact Jerry Cutts, FCF President and CEO, at (612) 338-3023, or e-mail jerry@firstchildrensfinance.org, or visit www.firstchildrensfinance.org.
[Published in Community Developments Investments, February 2012]

New Markets Tax Credit Allocation in Texas
The NMTC was designed to stimulate private investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities. The program offers a seven-year, 39 percent federal tax credit for Qualified Equity Investments (QEI) made through CDE investment vehicles.

CDEs use capital derived from the tax credits to make loans to or investments in businesses and projects in low-income areas.

An allocation of $30 million was awarded to Pacesetter CDE in Richardson, Texas. Pacesetter CDE will use its NMTC allocation to provide subordinate small business financing in Texas.

Pacesetter CDE will invest primarily in businesses owned, controlled, and/or managed by women and minorities. These loans will have lower-than-market interest rates, substantial interest-only payment periods, longer-than-standard loan amortization periods, and no origination fees.

The program focuses on investments that increase the number of permanent jobs or the salaries of those jobs.

For more information, e-mail Giovanni Capriglione or call (972) 725-0313.
[Community Developments Investments, Fall 2010]

Texas Panhandle's Venture Capital Source
Equitrend Capital is a for-profit fund that provides equity capital to start-up and early stage ventures in the Texas Panhandle. Equitrend focuses on finding undiscovered potential in rural and underserved markets by targeting companies seeking to raise $50,000 to $5 million.

The following goals govern the direction and activities of the fund: 1) generate above-market returns for investors, 2) provide rural small businesses with the resources and opportunities to stay in their area, 3) build sustainable enterprises positioned to create quality jobs, and 4) expand local business capacity. Equitrend Capital uses a nonprofit manager to minimize operating expenses and employs multiple layers of due diligence on its investments. Equitrend received a community development financial institution grant in 2009 to pay for supervisory and technical assistance to invested companies.

An advisory board composed of investors and community stakeholders provides strategic advice and guidance, and an investment committee composed of investor representatives makes investment decisions for the fund. Equitrend closed its first round of funding in November 2008 and made its first investment in January 2009.

Investment in the fund is still available to accredited investors in units of $50,000. For information, e-mail P. J. Pronger, call (806) 683-9439, or visit www.equitrendcapital.com.
[Community Developments Investments, Spring 2010]

Houston's Check to Stability Program
The South Union Community Development Corporation recently established the Check to Stability initiative to help families in Houston, Texas, laboring to avoid foreclosure. To support its mission to eliminate blight and crime in its South Union community, the organization created the program to check on properties needing repair or demolition by the city of Houston. The program is designed to restore vacant properties and make them available as affordable housing for low- and moderate-income families, or when necessary, demolish property to make room for new housing. So far, the program has identified 28 properties. Check to Stability is the result of collaboration by 15 public, private, and nonprofit organizations working to develop a safe and appealing community. The participants include: South Union Community Development Corporation, the City of Houston Housing Department, Habitat for Humanity, Houston Community College, Urban Land Institute, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Local Initiative Support Corporation, and local construction companies, home buyer education groups, and other providers of services to low- and moderate-income families. The program enables banks to provide loans for acquisition and rehabilitation, mortgages, and technical assistance to the program's managers.

For more information, contact Efrem B. Jernigan, President and Acting Executive Director, at (713) 747-7002 or (713) 419-8352, or visit www.southunioncdc.org.
[Community Developments Newsletter, Fall 2009]

Small Loans, Big Returns
Ways to Work (WtW) is a nonprofit, community development financial institution that helps lower-income people. WtW is designed to help borrowers attain financial independence and advance economically by having money to purchase dependable used cars to get to work or school. Since 1996, WtW has originated nearly 12,000 loans for more than $31 million and the average auto loan amounts to an average $3,400. Results of a 2006 WtW evaluation indicate that borrowers reported an average increase of 41 percent in their take-home pay. In addition, 67 percent of WtW borrowers report that they have used conventional financial services subsequent to receiving their WtW loans.

Headquartered in Milwaukee, WtW makes its loans from 43 offices in 21 states: California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.

WtW offices are located in social service agencies affiliated with the Alliance of Children and Families (ACF). ACF agencies screen and provide financial education to borrowers and service the loans. WtW local offices provide financial education to more than three persons for every individual who receives a loan. Investors in WtW include several national foundations, the Community Development Financial Institution Fund of the U.S. Treasury Department, local United Way offices, and financial institutions. Banks can be involved by investing in the national WtW loan fund, by referring to local WtW offices prospective borrowers who do not meet conventional credit criteria, by participating in local WtW loan committees, and by providing grants and in-kind donations to WtW.

For more information, contact President Jeff Faulkner at (414) 359-1448 ext. 2, e-mail him, or visit his Web site.

[Community Developments Investments, Fall 2008]

Lone Star CRA Fund in Dallas
 

This private investment partnership is being formed to make $5 million to $15 million equity-oriented investments in middle-market Texas-based companies.

As of June 2008, the Lone Star CRA Fund LP (LS CRA) has total capital commitments of $57.5 million out of a goal of $75 million. All of the funds committed to the LS CRA partnership will be invested in companies located in low-income areas of Texas.

The fund intends to bring jobs to low-income areas by investing in companies already located there or by acquiring businesses and moving them to low-income areas. LS CRA expects to complete fundraising during the balance of 2008 and plans to invest in seven to 10 Texas-based companies.

For more information, contact Arthur W. Hollingsworth, Lone Star New Markets LP, at (972) 702-7390.

Rural Economic Development Opportunities
Rural Texas may soon benefit from more jobs, greater economic opportunities, an increased tax base, and a higher quality of life through an innovative housing program tied directly to job creation in rural communities. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs has released a $5 million Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) for a new rental housing development program. The program is designed to develop affordable rental housing for low-income Texans with rural economic development projects that have been recently developed or are currently under development. These funds are available through a special allocation from the federal Home Investment Partnerships (HOME) program.
 

Organizations and persons that are interested in applying for funds may need bank partners to complete the development financing because funds made available under this program will provide only a portion of development costs. Eligible applicants include nonprofit housing organizations, public housing authorities, sole proprietors, and local government agencies that are seeking to develop affordable rental housing in nonparticipating jurisdictions as designated by HUD. Funds must be tied to the creation of new or expanded job opportunities currently in development or created within the previous 18 months at the time the application is submitted. Only housing developments that employ at least 10 new positions will be considered, and employment sites must be located no more than 20 miles from the proposed housing development. Applications for funding must provide evidence of a definite and long-term employment commitment from the employer.
 

More information on NOFA can be found here, e-mail Skip Beaird or call him at (512) 475-0908.
 

[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring 2008]

ACCION Texas - $2 Million Small Business Investment Opportunity in Disaster Areas
With the many small businesses forced to relocate after hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, ACCION Texas is helping owners with the financing they need to rebuild their businesses and lives. ACCION uses capital provided by regulated financial institutions and philanthropic sources to lend to small and micro businesses in low- and moderate-income areas and disaster areas. Investment opportunities exist for institutions that want to participate in ACCION's programs. ACCION is planning to extend its programs to the Louisiana disaster areas and is seeking new partners to support its programs there.

ACCION Texas is a statewide nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) specializing in lending to micro and small business entrepreneurs. ACCION provides loans from $500 to $50,000 to businesses that are usually unable to qualify for traditional bank financing. Partnering with ACCION Texas, a participating bank reaches a clientele that it cannot serve with standard bank products. Banks can support community development and disaster recovery assistance to entrepreneurs, minority- and woman-owned businesses, and low-income communities by providing support in the form of operating grants, loans, qualified investments, and financial services to ACCION Texas. For more information, contact Janie Barrera at (210) 507-4283 or e-mail jbarrera@acciontexas.org
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring-2007]

 

New Markets Tax Credit Investment Opportunity
Lone Star New Markets LP (LSNM), a community development entity (CDE), was awarded a $10 million tax credit allocation from the U.S. Treasury's New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC). The managers of the Dallas-based fund intend to raise $25 million in investment capital and will co-invest with Lone Star Growth Capital LP (LSGC), a $15 million fund. The fund managers intend to secure $40 million in commitments for their funds by the end of the third quarter. LSNM, which had its first closing in January 2006 for approximately $16 million, provides investment capital for businesses located in underserved communities in Texas. LSNM and LSGC will make $1 million to $10 million equity-oriented investments in private middle-market companies located in low-to-moderate income areas in Texas. LSGC investors will receive a stated preferred dividend on invested capital.

For more information, contact Arthur W. Hollingsworth, Managing Partner, Lone Star New Markets LP, at (972)702-7390, or visit the Fund's Web site at www.lonestarnewmarkets.com.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2006-2007]

Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, (TACDC)

The Texas Association of Community Development Corporations, (TACDC) is a statewide membership association of 138 non-profit and for-profit Community Development Entities (CDEs), banks, and other companies committed to serving low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and communities. This membership forms a statewide network serving both urban and rural areas of Texas. Its members are developers of affordable housing and commercial real estate and provide small business and economic development loans. Others provide home mortgage and home improvement financing and consumer education. Many national banks currently partner with CDEs to help serve the credit needs of their entire communities, including LMI areas. TACDC's membership continually strives to create an environment that fosters cooperation with banks and the private sector to stimulate neighborhood revitalization and improvement in the quality of life for low income Texans.

To find a CDE in your area or to access information on one of the Texas CDEs, please visit the TACDC Web site at http://www.tacdc.org or call (512) 457-8232.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring 2006]

CD Investments in Houston, Texas
Banks interested in participating with Houston area banks to make community development investments can contact one of the multi-bank community development (CDC) entities. Created and operated by bankers, they provide financing and expertise for community development lending, investment, and services activities. These include: affordable housing, financing for small businesses, area revitalization and stabilization, and support of other community services and facilities that primarily benefit low- and moderate-income families within the CRA assessment area of participating banks.

Area multi-bank CDCs include:
Houston Small Business Development Corporation (HSBDC) at (713) 845-2400 or info@hsbdc.org; Third Coast CDC at (713) 503-5124 or thirdcostcdc@aol.com; and Texas Mezzanine Fund (TMF) at (214) 943-5900 x 101 or Jreid@tmfund.com. Other Texas cities with multi-bank CDC investment opportunities include Austin, Brownsville, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, McAllen, and San Antonio.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Summer 2005]

One-Stop for Economic and Community Development
Houston area bankers now can refer loan prospects to a one-stop service to finance and structure community development projects. The Revelation Urban Development Institute (RUDI), a nonprofit incorporated in April 2002, helps eliminate the mistakes that cost time and money according to its president, Steve Brown. Bankers, who participate in the program by making investment commitments, lending commitments, or both, can also refer prospects to the organization for financial analysis and loans packaging. The organization has years of lending and development experience, assuring investors that all elements of the project proposal are strategically and economically sound. They package the project for land acquisition, construction, or rehabilitation of single or multi-family residences, senior housing, retail commercial or faith-based facilities that serve the needs of low- and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and areas. Its primary goal is to improve the quality of life for LMI families by stimulating community and economic development projects. In the process, they work to increase the capacity of community-based groups (both community-based organizations (CBOs) and community development corporations (CDCs)) to develop affordable housing by providing expert technical assistance and resources. They also develop housing as a joint venture with CDCs and they operate independent community development projects. The organization is a community housing development organization (CHDO) certified by the City of Houston and Harris County.

For more information, contact Steven Brown at (713) 503-5124 or by e-mail at: revelationLLC@aol.com.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Summer 2005]

Fort Worth Central Community Development Corporation
Fort Worth Central, a newly-formed multi-bank community development corporation (CDC), allows banks to lend and invest in markets that are often difficult to efficiently or effectively reach. The CDC will offer low-cost loans to the city's homebuyers with annual gross incomes of 50-to-80 percent of the area median income. Local nonprofit housing development organizations will work with the City of Fort Worth to deliver homeowner training and education. The initial loan products offered by the CDC include home improvement loans, renovation/refinance loans, and purchase/rehabilitation loans. The organization's business plan describes a five-year $15 million equity investment goal in a loan fund that is enhanced by the City of Fort Worth's commitment to loan guarantees and subsidies.

For more information, contact Karen Meunier with the City of Fort Worth Housing Department at (817) 392-8091; karen.meunier@fortworthgov.org.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments Investments, Winter 2004/2005]

Multi-Bank CDC Stimulates Economic Development
This multi-bank community development corporation (CDC) was formed in 1998 by a coalition of five visionary banks. Collectively, they invested approximately $1 million to capitalize the organization. Over the last five years, six additional banks have become investors, bringing total capitalization to about $1.5 million. The corporation intends to stimulate economic development in Harris and surrounding counties by providing loans to small emerging businesses that may not currently qualify for conventional bank financing. Through its network of investor banks, the organization can access capital for loans up to $1 million. The current challenge is to increase the capital base to $5 million. The corporation currently has reached 70 percent of its lending capacity and could reach 90 percent by year-end. They have no delinquencies on their outstanding loans. The credit committee is composed of experienced bankers, who have a flexible approach to credit requests. "We understand that every business transaction is unique," says Steve Brown, President/CEO. "Our creative and flexible underwriting provides solutions." Third Coast would like to double its capital over the next 12 months, and then double it again within the following twelve months.

For more information contact: Stephen K. Brown, President, Third Coast CDC, (713) 503-5124 E-mail: thirdcoastcdc@aol.com.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Fall 2004]

Texas: Colonias Initiatives
More than 340,000 Texans live in impoverished rural colonias where the need for decent affordable housing is extreme. The state Office of Colonia Initiatives can help residents convert residential property purchased under real estate contracts to fee-simple ownership financed by a conventional mortgage. Fee-simple ownership allows owners to seek funding for construction, rehabilitation and other benefits linked to real property ownership.

For additional information about the Contract for Deed Conversion Initiative, contact Homero Cabello with the Office of Colonia Initiatives at (800) 462-4251.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Spring 2003]

Microenterprise Lending in Texas
ACCION Texas is the largest micro lender in the U.S. for the second year in a row - having originated 4,192 micro-enterprise loans and disbursed more than $22 million to clients since its inception in 1994. These loans provided working capital, inventory, and start-up funds for small businesses that could not qualify for loans from banks. In 2002, a new phrase entered the ACCION language - pink-slip entrepreneurs. "We have heard from our clients that, after being downsized out of their jobs, they never wanted to experience that kind of insecurity again. They looked around and found inventive ways to market themselves and to offer services that are needed in their communities. ACCION was there to provide the needed capital and start up assistance," according to Phillip McCammon, Chairman of the ACCION board of directors. ACCION benefits from the support of more than 20 banks and thrifts to implement their Texas strategy. Their commitment enables us to provide capital to those who need it most." ACCION Texas operates seven offices strategically located around the state.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Winter 2003]

Statewide IDA Network Seeks Investors
The Texas IDA Network is a new statewide organization with 16 IDA sites in Houston, Austin, San Antonio, Fort Worth, Amarillo, Waco, and El Paso. Groups in the Rio Grande Valley and south Texas (McAllen, San Juan, and Brownsville) are also developing IDA programs. The network is seeking bank involvement to begin serving these and other major urban and rural areas with loan and banking services.

For more information, contact Woody Widrow, Texas IDA Network, at (512) 477-4431.
[Published in News from the Districts, Community Developments, Fall 2002]