Our Impact On

Healthy, livable neighborhoods feature a thriving commercial life—from retail shops to restaurants, arts centers and other businesses. By investing in community assets, TRF works to create and improve these amenities in low-income communities, where they create jobs and stimulate market recovery.

Mapping Philadelphia’s Creative Assets

A simple question from Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter inspired CultureBlocks: “Do we have a map of all the cultural activity in the city?” In response to this question and a growing feeling that the depth of cultural activity was far greater than we knew, a partnership formed to explore culture and neighborhoods in the city. Partners included TRF, the Department of Commerce, the Social Impact of the Arts Project at the University of Pennsylvania (SIAP) and the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy (OACCE).

CultureBlocks is built on TRF’s PolicyMap platform, and with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and ArtPlace, TRF built out the data and functions of CultureBlocks based on the input of experts in the arts, culture, tourism, economic development and philanthropic communities. The result is a robust tool that helps make it easier than ever to gather data to inform a project, research into a specific neighborhood, or collect information for a citywide initiative.

CultureBlocks offers a variety of data from point level data on cultural assets in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods to cultural participation rates. For example, Philadelphia’s Northern Liberties has high cultural participation rates and is home to one of TRF’s early arts investments, Crane Arts. Since it opened in 2006, Crane Arts, a unique space for artists to create and showcase work, has become a beacon of activity in its neighborhood.

A Commitment to Sustainable Development

TRF is committed to building a clean and sustainable energy future for our region, and since 1993 we have helped our customers make sound energy decisions by offering technical services and innovative financial products that support energy retrofits for existing buildings and new clean energy projects. Our investments in sustainable energy have created or conserved 5.7 million MWh of energy—enough to power 600,753 homes for a year.

In 2013, TRF and Philadelphia Industrial Development Corporation partnered to finance an energy efficiency retrofit of five buildings on the campus of Drexel University in West Philadelphia. The borrower in this project is an energy services company, SCIenergy, rather than the university itself, and SCIenergy’s revenue will come from the energy savings of the measures it installs—$500,000 per year, 2.2 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, and 23.4 million cubic feet of natural gas. This lending model is increasingly common for energy projects.

TRF also incorporates energy components into the financing packages for charter schools, affordable housing developments and commercial real estate projects. Such investments lead to more environmentally friendly and sustainable development and lower annual utility costs for our operators and homeowners.

In 2013, our projects created 1,400 full-time equivalent jobs and over 2,500 construction jobs. All told, TRF investments have supported more than 60,000 jobs since inception.

Centre Theater, Baltimore, MD

Originally built as a car dealership in 1913, and redesigned in 1939, the Centre Theatre in Baltimore’s Station North neighborhood has been vacant for more than a decade. In 2011, Jubilee Baltimore, a nonprofit, acquired the building at public auction with plans to transform the space into a mixed-use, multi-tenant commercial property. TRF has supported this project from an early stage, providing predevelopment financing. TRF followed this with bridge financing and New Markets Tax Credits financing. Additional financing for the project includes Maryland Sustainable Communities Tax Credits, Federal Historic Tax Credits and capital grants.

The facility will house a new joint film program by Johns Hopkins University and Maryland Institute College of Art. The renovation will restore the exterior of the structure to its historical appearance, while remodeling the interior to include academic and office space as well as a restaurant. The renewal of the North Avenue Market, the redevelopment of the Chesapeake Building, and the MICA Studio Center are three TRF investment efforts that have brought new energy to the neighborhood. The resurgence of the Centre Theater will only continue that momentum and serve as an anchor for the community.

Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral

In West Philadelphia, TRF is financing a 41,000 square-foot, mixed-use development adjacent to the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral. The Cathedral serves a vital role in the community, working to fulfill its mission of servant ministry and care for the poor and the most fragile.

This NMTC project contributes to the continued renaissance of West Philadelphia and the University City District and will further the Cathedral’s mission and community service work. The development includes a new community center and childcare center. The community center will have a kitchen that supports the expansion of the Cathedral’s food pantry offerings to as many as 800 meals to 270 families per month. The childcare center will enroll 100 children and provide a quality option for local residents and employees in an underserved childcare market.