Also by Reinvestment Fund

Reinvestment News Spring 2016

 

Philly Moves Toward Universal Pre-K

Mayor Jim Kenney at announcement
Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney at Rising Stars APM Child Care Center, a Fund for Quality awardee.

In March, Reinvestment Fund received a $15 million grant from the William Penn Foundation that will expand the Fund for Quality, a joint project with Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) that has created 630 high-quality early childhood education seats for low-income children.

This new grant will help create an additional 1,500 seats by 2021, which means that over the coming years, thousands more children from low-income families will have quality early learning opportunities across the City of Philadelphia.

Also critical to the success of Fund for Quality is another joint project, Philadelphia ChildcareMap, based on Reinvestment Fund research into the gaps in the supply of and demand for quality early childhood education in neighborhoods across the city. We are currently replicating this work for Newark, NJ, and other cities.

EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY IN BALTIMORE

Reinvestment Fund is piloting a “developer apprentice program” in Baltimore with long-time borrower Ernst Valery, which will offer training and employment opportunities to local workers. Actor Wendell Pierce, known for his role as Detective Bunk on The Wire, recently invested $20 million in Valery’s residential project next door to the Chesapeake Building, which we financed.

Market Value Analysis, a toolbox for cities

Reinvestment Fund is working with city and municipal governments nationwide to improve the use of data in how community development resources are directed into neighborhoods. At our inaugural Community of Practice convening in Milwaukee, 40 senior administrators and city officials gathered to discuss challenges and success stories, and how Reinvestment Fund’s Market Value Analysis can help cities visualize their market strengths and weaknesses to achieve their goals. The conversation that began in Milwaukee will be ongoing—we have launched an online forum through LinkedIn where this practitioner network can continue to engage with us and their peers as they work through how to use their data to chart a redevelopment path.

In their own words:


Collaborating to improve access to healthy food

Since 2014, Reinvestment Fund has led the ReFresh collaborative, CDFIs working together to provide access to capital to supermarkets, food co-ops, and other business and nonprofits providing fresh food to low-income people and communities. The initiative has grown from four founding members to 18, with coverage from coast to coast.

We recently joined ReFresh partner South Carolina Community Loan Fund to finance the expansion of Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. The organization currently provides over 45 million pounds of food and household items to a 19-county region of North and South Carolina where over 500,000 individuals, including over 189,000 children, are food insecure. Our investment will double the size of its warehouse, increasing the percentage of fresh product to 40% of total distribution—nearly 20 million pounds annually.

To date, ReFresh projects have led to 749 full-time equivalent jobs and 315,000 sq.ft. of food retail serving over 132,000 people. CDFIs interested in joining ReFresh can learn more on our website.

HFFI GRANTEES GO TO WASHINGTON

This week, our fifth annual Healthy Food Financing Initiative convening brought 150 stakeholders and federal grantees from across the country to Washington, D.C., to learn from experts, share ideas and best practices, network, and connect to a national movement.

PolicyMap president honored as “Tech Disruptor”

Reinvestment Fund’s PolicyMap President Maggie McCullough received an inaugural Tech Disruptor Award from the Philadelphia Business Journal for the impact that PolicyMap has had on the local technology field.

The concept for PolicyMap—which now includes more than 37,000 data indicators frombroadband availability to segregation andpublic school access and equity—grew out of Maggie’s vision for democratizing data and making it easy for decision makers to access reliable data. That process is now even easier and more robust with the new version of PolicyMap that launched last week (check it out!).

Much of the data on PolicyMap is available for free, with advanced features available bysubscription. PolicyMap houses Reinvestment Fund’s Limited Supermarket Access Analysisand is the platform for Philadelphia ChildcareMap and CultureBlocks. PolicyMap is also helping public and private organizations manage their data, including NYU, Baltimore County Public Libraries, the City of Philadelphia, and the USDA.


Targeting investment in the arts

Artists value the process of remaking space and help reveal the potential for recovery inherent in many urban neighborhoods. Reinvestment Fund has invested over $70 million in arts-related projects, including the Crane Arts building in Philadelphia, and Centre Theater in Baltimore, MD. Now, supported by the Kresge and Surdna Foundations, Reinvestment Fund’s creative placemaking fellow, Rebecca Chan, is developing a strategy to target investment in the arts, creating a Baltimore Cultural Space Inventory and conducting interviews with cultural space stakeholders to develop best practices for financing the arts in distressed neighborhoods in ways that build community.

In the first of a three-part series on her work, Chan discusses a number of examples of how art in Baltimore is building a complex web of community-based activity that goes far beyond the traditional idea of art as tourism. The creative community is working with underutilized spaces and the work of artists and arts activists is helping to reverse negative narratives about city neighborhoods and open conversation about issues from the 2015 Baltimore uprising to sexual violence.

Part 1: Understanding Baltimore’s art scene is available on our website.

Artists Katey Truhn’s and Jessie Unterhalter’s mural for Open Walls Baltimore 2012. Photo credit: Martha Cooper

IMPACT SOLUTIONS

Reinvestment Fund’s Felicia Bender, from our policy solutions team, joined representatives from Sustainable Business Network and Alliance Taxi Co-op to discuss best practices for moving mission into legislation at Generocity’s March Impact Solutions meetup.

Investing in climate solutions


Environmentally responsible development is embedded in Reinvestment Fund’s mission, as low-wealth people and places disproportionately bear the risks and costs of climate change. This commitment has resulted in $84 million of investment in climate solutions like windfarms and solar power, and in the reduction of our country’s carbon footprint through the built environment, including energy efficient building design, local food systems, transit-oriented development and more.

We most recently supported a portfolio of residential solar projects in Connecticut, and our investments in Ecosave are helping upgrade building efficiency—a sector that, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, accounted for 41% of U.S. energy consumption in 2014. Our investment includes the headquarters of an association of nonprofits providing services to America’s seniors, which will be 25% more efficient. Our financing also helped Paseo Verde, a transit-oriented affordable housing project in Philadelphia, achieve LEED Platinum for Neighborhood Development. Learn more.