CDFI Impact Blog

 

 

New Markets Tax Credits Help Museums Increase Community Impacthttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=63New Markets Tax Credits Help Museums Increase Community Impact<div class="ExternalClassF823595235B644BEB1D8C41B9297E4FF"><p>Historically, museums have been defined as buildings where objects of historical, scientific, artistic, or cultural interest are stored and exhibited. But, many museums have evolved into education centers that actively engage with surrounding communities—including those that are underserved—to provide hands-on educational experiences and cultural enrichment that would not otherwise be available. Many museums partner with a broad array of stakeholders, including federal and state agencies, colleges and universities, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics)/STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) advocates, foundations, and corporations to deliver their services.</p><p>To maintain operations, museums depend on funding from entrance fees; donations; and federal, state, and private grants. While larger museums tend to engage in concerted fundraising efforts, smaller institutions often struggle to raise financial resources. The increasing need to grow their financial capacity has led many museums to seek funding opportunities outside of their traditional fundraising sources. A number of museums have been able to enhance their funding and their community impact by leveraging the <a href="/programs-training/Programs/new-markets-tax-credit/Pages/default.aspx" target="_blank">CDFI Fund’s New Market Tax Credits Program (NMTC Program)</a>. </p><ul><li><p><a href="https://cmcleveland.org/" target="_blank">The Children’s Museum of Cleveland (OH)</a> was able to reopen in November 2017, after an almost two-year closure and an NMTC Program investment of more than $8 million provided by Cleveland Development Advisors. JP Morgan Chase Bank served as the NMTC investor. The museum was established to provide outreach education programs and activities to elementary school classrooms. Since its initial opening in 1981, the museum has evolved from providing outreach programs to being a premier cultural and educational resource completely dedicated to early childhood development in the Cleveland area. Like many other museums seeking to enrich the lives of the underserved, this museum has partnered with Museums for All, an initiative of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), administered by the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM), to facilitate educational museum visits for low-income community members. Families that participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP; formerly the food stamps program) and active military families can receive a discounted admission rate. In addition, the museum has partnered with the Monarch Center for Autism’s Welcoming Spaces Program to provide sensory friendly rooms and autism resources. </p></li><li><p><a href="http://www.museumofflight.org/" target="_blank">Museum of Flight</a> in Tukwila, Washington is one of the largest independent, non-profit air and space museums in the world. Their Boeing Academy for STEM learning provides onsite and outreach programs for students in preparation for college and careers in aviation and engineering. The National Development Council (NDC) provided an NMTC investment of $12.2 million that was critical in building the museum’s 15,000 square-foot Charles Simonyl Space Gallery. This addition is used for education and exhibits. This is the first phase of a commercial aircraft gallery and an aviation high school.</p></li><li><p><a href="http://www.southfloridamuseum.org/" target="_blank">The South Florida Museum and Bishop Planetarium </a>is located in Bradenton, Florida, a city with an 18 percent unemployment rate. The museum has developed education programs based on Florida Standards for STEM and with input from local public and private school educators. This is in addition to professional development training for teachers, undergraduate coursework for university students, and internship programs. The museum’s newest venture is the construction of the North Education Complex, a 23,000 square-foot addition with classroom and exhibit space specifically designed to break down barriers to STEM education in nearby disadvantaged neighborhoods and to expand the facility’s capability to reach more low-income students. The Florida Community Loan Fund provided $12 million in NMTC Program investments to support this project. </p></li><li><p><a href="https://www.wittemuseum.org/history/" target="_blank">The Witte Museum </a>of San Antonio, Texas focuses on the regional history and art of South Texas as well as natural history and science. The museum holds educational summer camps for children ages 6-12 to provide hands-on learning activities and experiences. One camp, “Dino Robotics,” provides the experience of creating an animatronic dinosaur. NDC provided an $8 million NMTC allocation and JP Morgan Chase Bank provided an additional $3 million NMTC allocation (JP Morgan Chase Bank also served as the NMTC investor) to build the museum’s B. Naylor Morton Research and Collections Center, which provides visible storage for more than 300,000 artifacts and education space for scholars, archivists and children. </p></li></ul><p>Since the inception of the NMTC Program, there has been <a href="/SiteCollectionImages/PublicationImages/US%20Map%20of%20NMTC%20Museum%20Projects.pdf" target="_blank">$861.5 million in NMTC investments in museums across the country</a>. Community Development Entities (CDEs) have begun serving as important partners with these museums to ensure that students and educators in underserved communities have exposure and access to these critical education resources.</p><p> <i>Gail Thomas is a Communications Specialist with the CDFI Fund</i></p> </div>Gail Thomas2019-02-28T16:00:00ZLocal Impact63GP0|#368ed6d6-d6bb-4a27-ad10-a1a0a87661d8;L0|#0368ed6d6-d6bb-4a27-ad10-a1a0a87661d8|New Markets Tax Credit;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532
Spirit of the Tongass: Providing Financial Services in Remote Alaskahttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=64Spirit of the Tongass: Providing Financial Services in Remote Alaska<div class="ExternalClass820927602FD7442F8C720977862696BB"><p>In 2005, the only bank branch that served the Metlakatla Indian Community in Alaska closed. An island community only accessible by boat or float plane, Metlakatla was left without a way to easily access basic financial services. Community employees struggled to cash payroll checks through their Tribal government office, which typically ran out of cash well before the last person was served; likewise a local ATM machine would run out of cash within hours of being reloaded. There was a great need for a financial institution in the community. </p><p>Metlakatla turned to Tongass Federal Credit Union (Tongass FCU), a certified CDFI headquartered in Ketchikan, Alaska, a short floatplane ride away. The credit union had little experience with working with a Tribal community, but agreed to provide some financial services on the island. Tongass FCU began offering services once a week at the Metlakatla Indian Community council chambers in the summer of 2005. A few staff members flew over to the island and opened accounts and began transacting business for the new credit union members. Within a few months, the credit union was able to open an office in the old bank branch. Three part-time employees worked two hours a day, processing transactions on paper at first until computers were installed the following year. </p><p>Tongass FCU established a local advisory board for the Metlakatla branch, which helped the credit union develop and target its services to the community. Tongass FCU worked with the Metlakatla Indian Community and the local housing authority to provide home equity loans and home equity lines of credit on Metlakatla’s leased tribal lands. They also provided on-site tax assistance during filing seasons, collected utility payments, established youth savings programs, hosted financial education visits at the local high school, and provided other affordable financial services for the community. The credit union also commissioned a branch sign, “Spirit of the Tongass,” with the institution’s logo in both English and Sm’algyax, the language of the Metlakatla people. </p><hr /><i> <div class="floatcenter" style="text-align:center;"><div> <img alt="Tongass Logo" src="/SiteCollectionImages/PublicationImages/Tongass%20Logo.PNG" /> </div><div> The Tongass Federal Credit Union sign in Sm'algyax and English </div></div> </i><p> </p><hr /><p>The story of Tongass FCU demonstrates that financial institutions can be successful even under difficult circumstances if they are willing to work with the local community. “Many of the residents gave us a warm welcome,” said Helen Mickel, current Tongass FCU President and CEO, recounting stories of Metlakatla residents who shared artwork and gave tours of the island. She believes Tongass FCU’s local advisory board (now part of the Tongass FCU Community Corps), which listens and responds to the community, has been instrumental to their success. </p><p>In 2012, Tongass FCU completed a new branch building in Metlakatla. The new branch is staffed by six employees who are all from the Metlakatla Indian Community. As of August 2018, there were more than 1,200 Metlakatla Indian Community members of the credit union – 85 percent of the local population. </p></div>2019-03-19T15:29:00ZLocal Impact64GP0|#c8a5d5bc-32cc-47a9-88a8-702f1f974786;L0|#0c8a5d5bc-32cc-47a9-88a8-702f1f974786|CDFI Certification;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#ab4fe4dc-3e5a-4bf0-9957-93afe828ea67;L0|#0ab4fe4dc-3e5a-4bf0-9957-93afe828ea67|Alaska
CDFI Finances Industrious West Virginian's Successhttps://www.cdfifund.gov/impact/Lists/Posts/ViewPost.aspx?ID=65CDFI Finances Industrious West Virginian's Success<div class="ExternalClassC16E054C99AD43B9AFABE565DF02DC60"><p> Many American small businesses began as good ideas born out of necessity and were then grown out of home offices or garages. The Mountaineer Brand small business is no exception. While growing a beard may seem like a natural and simple thing, in reality it isn’t. Growing and maintaining a well-groomed beard requires the use of products that reduce skin irritation and ensure healthy facial hair. In response to this need, Eric Young developed a natural beard oil in his kitchen. His own luxurious beard soon became the best advertisement for his product. Soon, many friends and neighbors were asking to buy his product and in 2013 Mountaineer Brand was born.</p><p>To read the full story, <a href="/Documents/CDFI%20Finances%20Industrious%20West%20Virginian%27s%20Success%20031919A.pdf" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p></div>2019-03-26T17:00:00ZLocal Impact65GP0|#c8a5d5bc-32cc-47a9-88a8-702f1f974786;L0|#0c8a5d5bc-32cc-47a9-88a8-702f1f974786|CDFI Certification;GTSet|#52f34ab0-6f81-4fe6-b393-2715c7089532;GP0|#5f36292c-da70-4234-84e0-ea4608ace999;L0|#05f36292c-da70-4234-84e0-ea4608ace999|West Virginia