U.S. Treasury program awards $5 billion to promote economic growth and job creation in distressed communities across the country
New York, New York – September 1, 2021 – The Community Development Venture Capital Alliance (CDVCA), a nationally recognized leader in impact investment for business development and job creation, has received a $45 million tax credit allocation from the highly competitive federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program.
Administered by the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), NMTC awards spur economic growth and development in low-income urban and rural communities across the county. CDVCA is one of 100 organizations, selected from a pool of 208 nationwide applicants, to receive an allocation in the 2020 round.
CDVCA has a 26-year history of promoting the availability of critical startup and growth capital to businesses in distressed or underinvested areas, directly supporting nearly 350 businesses and the creation of over 12,225 jobs. Unlike many allocatees that use the tax credit primarily for real estate development, CDVCA focuses its allocation exclusively on operating businesses. It has developed innovative structures to provide smaller and shorter-term financing to businesses, including high-risk equity financing similar to venture capital, CDVCA seeks investment opportunities that create quality jobs that are accessible to low-income people.
The full announcement on the U.S. Treasury program can be found here:
The NMTC Coalition released its 2017 report on the impact of New Market Tax Credits (NMTCs) on Rural America. According to the report (relying on data from 2003-2014), the NMTC program has financed over 800 projects and generated almost 50,000 full-time jobs. Also, for the same period, $4.8 billion in funding, or 27% of total financing in rural communities, was allocated to projects in the manufacturing and industrial sector. To download this NMTC Coalition impact report, click here.
On August 31st, Pacific Community Ventures (PCV) released its Good Jobs Recap for the month of August. Key topics include an updates on wages and the demographic distribution of employment opportunities in the US manufacturing sector. PCV also cites a report by Walmart and the Boston Consulting Group that proposes solutions to adressing the job shortage and skills gap in the manufacturing industry. CDVCA is an equity investor in one of Pacific Community Ventures’ funds, PCVIP III. To view PCV’s Monthly Good Jobs Recap, click here.
In line with its efforts to address regulatory and administrative issues of the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, the Novogradac NMTC Group submitted recommendations to the Senate Finance Committee last August 2017. Among its recommendations were obtaining permanency for the NMTC program, increasing the program’s annual credit authority, and modifying the recapture rules to enable greater efficiency. For full details, read the article here.
On October 29th 2015, two Innovate fund investments were named winners of the World’s Largest Business Idea Competition, “43North“, in which $5mm is awarded to 11 businesses as $250K-$1M investments along with business support. The business support ranges from mentoring advice from seasoned professionals in related fields, free incubator space in Buffalo for a year, as well as access to programs like the Start-Up NY program of tax-free zones. As an extra boost for the area, the contest gets 5% ownership in the companies, and they have to remain in Buffalo for the year of the contest. This means that even if the companies leave after their year of residency, the area will benefit. The competition operates through the support of the New York Power Authority is part of Governor Cuomo’s Buffalo Bill initiative and drew 11,000 applications from 117 countries and all 50 states.
The winning companies both belong to Z80 technology incubator lab, an Innovate fund investment. Based in Buffalo New York, the lab provides entrepreneurs the ability to build new and innovative tech companies in Buffalo. Two of the labs start-ups emerged as winners from the 43 North competition. CoachMePlus, a sports training data tracker, walked away with $250K while ACV Auctions, an app that allows car dealers to sell vehicles in 20-minute online auctions, took top prize of $1M.
On Monday November 9th, The Gym Group, a portfolio company of Bridges Ventures Sustainable Growth Fund II (Bridges II), made an initial public offering of its stock on the London Stock Exchange, at a valuation of £250million. The Gym’s shares rose to 204¼p on its first day of trading, or 5% above the 195p issuance price.
Bridges Ventures is a long-time member of CDVCA, and the CDVCA Central Fund was an early investor in Bridges II. All told, Bridges II has committed £17.5 million to The Gym Group, across multiple financing rounds. As part of this public offering, Bridges II sold about a third of its stake, retaining a 14% shareholding in the company. Based on Monday’s offer price, the fund’s investment in The Gym is currently valued at 5.8x cost.
The Gym Group – which was co-founded by Bridges alongside CEO John Treharne in 2007 – pioneered the low-cost gym concept in the UK. Offering flexible, affordable gym memberships, with two-thirds of its sites in economically challenged areas, it provides accessible exercise facilities (and jobs) to an under-served demographic. After opening its first location in Hounslow in 2008, it added 20 new locations within its first three years of operation; today it has 66 locations and over 363,000 members, a third of whom have never been members of a gym before.Between 2012 and 2014, the company’s revenue increased from £22.3m to £45.5m – a compound annual growth rate of 43% – while adjusted EBITDA more than doubled to £16.7m.
The Gym has raised £90m from the float: it plans to use £75m to pay down debt and the remainder to fund expansion. The company, which is now the only fitness chain listed on the London Stock Exchange, plans to open between 15 and 20 gyms per year in the future.
Says Bridges co-founder and managing partner Philip Newborough: “The Gym is a great illustration of Bridges’ core thesis: that positive social impact really can drive commercial success, and vice versa.”
On October 22, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued Interpretive Bulletin 2015-01 (“IB 15-01”), which provides clarification on the conditions under which a fiduciary of a plan that is subject to the fiduciary standards of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”) may invest plan assets in economically targeted investments (“ETIs”). Put simply, the conditions required for ERISA pension funds to able to invest in ETIs.
The guidance note substitutes the Bush administration’s language in the 2008 bulletin, (“IB 08-01”), which is widely considered to have had a startling effect on economically targeted investing and reinstates the 1994 guidance, (“IB 94-01”). The IB 94-01 allowed fund managers to consider social and environmental concerns in their investment decisions. The DOL cites the dissuading effect of the IB 08-01 language on fiduciaries propensity to consider ETI investments, one of the main reasons for switching back to the language of IB 94-01. This new guidance clarifies to fiduciaries that there are no additional considerations that fiduciaries must examine when contemplating ETIs. Instead, social benefit might serve as a “tiebreaker” when evaluating two investment opportunities that with the same potential financial return.
The Community Development Capital Alliance strongly supports this important guidance note for its ability to open the door for fund managers to consider social impact investments while satisfying their fiduciary duty to pension holders
CDFI Public Policy Initiatives Roundtable Tuesday, November 10
White House briefings? The Office of Management and Budget? Why do these things matter when we are in the business of responsible lending? Because Federal and State policies affect how CDFIs operate on a daily basis, and can influence our industry’s future. Come participate in this CDFI Public Policy Roundtable discussion.
CDFI Performance and Growth: A 20-Year Longitudinal Analysis Wednesday, November 11
OFN recently completed a 20-year analysis of OFN Member CDFIs’ performance, including a growth rate analysis of a set of CDFIs that have been OFN Members for the entire time period. At this session, you’ll hear the results of the study, learn the characteristics of CDFIs with different growth rates, and discuss what the findings mean for CDFIs, funders, investors, and the future of the industry. The report will be released during the OFN Conference.
Advancing OFN’s CDFI Industry Equity Plan Thursday, November 12
In 2014, OFN began developing a diversity, inclusion, and equity strategy for itself with the stated goal of extending and expanding that work across the CDFI industry. In October 2015, the OFN Board approved OFN’s plan to increase opportunities for Members to participate in Equity work, support that work, and increase understanding of and support for industry-wide Equity activity going forward. The purpose of this work is for OFN Members and other CDFIs to make Equity an integral part of their organizations. Join this roundtable discussion with OFN leadership to learn more and to share your ideas on how OFN and its Members should move this important work forward.
Bond Opportunity. For All. Thursday, November 12
Until this year, the CDFI Bond Guarantee Program (“BGP”) was only utilized by some of the industry’s largest CDFIs. That changed in 2015, when a diverse group of seven CDFIs came together to successfully borrow under the program. In this session, panel participants who were part of the 2015 seven-party Bond will share their unique perspectives on what it was like to apply under the BGP. The goal of the session is to shed light onto how this program can benefit CDFIs of all types and sizes.
On Wednesday October 21, 2015 The CDFI fund officially opened the 2015 round of the New Markets Tax Credit Program (NMTC Program) through the release of the Notice of Allocation Availability (NOAA). The NMTC program channels private sector capital into struggling communities by providing tax credits to taxpayers who make equity investments in Community Development Entities (CDEs). The CDEs then employ the capital raised into businesses and projects in low-income communities. To date, the CDFI Fund has given out 912 awards to CDE’s. These awards amounted to $43.5 billion in tax credit allocation. To learn more about deadlines and the application steps, the CDFI fund has posted detailed information on the NMTC program page.
On October 8th 2015, as members of the impact investing and social entrepreneurship field gathered for the SOCAP event Wharton Social Impact initiative used the opportunity to launch their first-ever report on the financial performance of impact investing. The report, titled Great Expectations: Mission Preservation and Financial Performance in Impact Investing suggests that investors may not need to expect lesser returns as a tradeoff for social impact. The result of two years rigorous research, the report looks at successful exits from impact investment funds in order to examine the balance between financial returns and mission preservation.