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The Skills Center

Geography Florida

Reinvestment Fund financing is helping The Skills Center (TSC), a sports-based youth development organization in Tampa, Florida, invest in its growth and stability.

TSC is a Black-led nonprofit focused on academic and leadership success for children by connecting them with sports and athletic programs. One of Tampa’s most impactful youth development organizations and a recognized leader in sports-based interventions, TSC was founded in 2007 by three former colleagues from the City’s Youth Opportunity Movement program. TSC works across a range of sports, with both boys and girls, both in school and with extra-curricular programs to create an environment for students to be trained in the on-court leadership, discipline and focus that will empower them off the court in the classroom, the office and the home.

Despite its success and strong community connections, TSC has never owned a permanent home. They have always rented facilities or worked out of schools. Reinvestment Fund financing is helping TSC acquire a new facility in a predominantly Black neighborhood that will house its headquarters and expanded programming. The new facility will enable TSC to expand into offering e-sports, a growing area of interest for their students and to connect students to a larger set of wraparound services through their partner organizations. TSC also expects to expand their non-programmatic sport offerings (coaching, travel teams, leagues etc), to help generate revenue towards a sustainable future for itself. TSC expects to serves 3,500 youth as a result of this project, more than 80% of whom will come from low-income households.

Reinvestment Fund is providing an acquisition and construction loan to help TSC purchase two properties to create a 5-acre campus. Partners for Common Good is a partner in the financing. The first property is a currently vacant 35,000 square foot former skating rink and office building which TSC intends to fully renovate and occupy collectively with other local Black-led nonprofits as their core facility. Long term they intend to construct additional gymnasiums and other program space on that portion of the property. The second property is a fully leased 40,000 square foot industrial complex with 20 individual tenants that will provide ongoing cashflow.

The nonprofits TSC plans to co-locate with are:

  • Computer Mentors Group bridges the technology divide for underserved youth and young adults through innovative education and employment programming.
  • Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa, Inc. (CDC of Tampa) delivers programming in the areas of youth success, workforce development, housing counseling and financial capability, as well as residential and commercial real estate development.
  • Girls Empowered Mentally for Success, Inc. provides gender specific social and emotional youth development to at risk girls ages 10-17.
  • Men of Vision, Inc. provides mentorship and leadership development for young men and prepares them for life.

The project will create the only multi-purpose facility of its type in Tampa, consistent with the City of Tampa’s “Transforming Tampa Tomorrow” initiative, which focuses City development activity and resources on underserved areas. Rehabilitating, repositioning and reactivating this campus will create more positive uses, impact the immediately adjacent residential community and support a broader transformation of an area historically excluded from investment at scale.

This facility, when constructed, would be the only one in East Tampa dedicated to afterschool and summer youth programs across a range of sports leagues, sports training and travel sports teams. The facility will also be a premier event space for East Tampa for athletic, corporate and community events. CDC of Tampa indicated that this would be the only large gathering space available to the community and a central location to manage their job-training, Safe and Sound streets and other service delivery programs.

This project impacts TSC and their partner organizations in a wide range of ways, but the mission is focused on three main goals:

  • To create equity in education, health and workforce readiness for young people in Hillsborough County, especially the East Tampa community.
  • To build a strategic alliance between five Black-led nonprofit organizations to leverage resources, programming, funding and impact.
  • To design a Social Enterprise Venture that provides sustainability to TSC and the community.

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