Imagine being part-owner of your neighborhood shopping center. That’s the vision that Lyneir Richardson brought to West Baltimore’s Walbrook neighborhood. Richardson is co-founder and CEO of Chicago TREND Corporation, a social enterprise that strengthens neighborhoods by catalyzing and accelerating strategic retail and other commercial development. Supported by Reinvestment Fund and the Neighborhood Impact Investment Fund, TREND is redeveloping Walbrook Junction, a local shopping center with tenants like Save-A-Lot, a Rite Aid, and other retail. In a somewhat nontraditional approach, TREND sought investors through crowdfunding, giving residents the opportunity to purchase a stake in the shopping center. TREND has since welcomed over 130 individual investors – each of whom owns a portion of the shopping center and directly benefits from the retail services while building both individual and community wealth.
“The community investment sets this project apart from others—but what really makes it special is our pool of investors,” said Richardson. “There’s the 80-year-old grandmother who invested $1,000 because she wanted her grandson to know what ownership means.…And a charter school parent who drives by the center every day and wants her kids to have better options. This means a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but the bottom line is that being a stakeholder means having a voice.” READ MORE
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, early learning organizations have been hit particularly hard. It has been difficult to keep students enrolled, keep staff from turning over, and maintain essential cleaning protocols. One in four early learning sites in Philadelphia—predominantly owned by women and people of color— reported being in danger of closing or having to consolidate. As part of our effort to help Philadelphia-area early childhood centers continue operating, Reinvestment Fund has awarded a third round of relief aid totaling $1.5 million under the Philadelphia Emergency Fund for Stabilization of Early Education (PEFSEE). Since launching in April 2020, PEFSEE has provided $8.3 million in emergency grants to 416 childcare providers in Philadelphia. Initially funded through grants from the William Penn Foundation and Vanguard’s Strong Start for Kids Program™, PEFSEE has since received additional funding from PNC Bank, Wells Fargo, and individual contributors. Learn more about the program and its awardees.
It may be easy to take libraries and museums for granted, but new research shows that these community anchors have a powerful impact on the social wellbeing. The multi-year, multi-market study for the Institute of Museum and Library Services, Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation’s Libraries and Museums, was led by Reinvestment Fund, in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania’s Social Impact of the Arts Project (SIAP) and HR&A Advisors. The study found the presence and usage of public libraries and museums is associated with elevated levels of social wellbeing—including community health, school effectiveness, institutional connection, and cultural opportunity.
“This study reveals the deeper, more significant roles that museums and libraries play in communities—which go far beyond art hanging on walls and books lining shelves,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President & CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “They are trusted institutions, safe spaces, and a place to access critical public health, social services, and technology resources. They are a reflection of what happens when inclusion and belonging are prioritized. Museums and libraries are indispensable connective tissue that keeps healthy communities together.”
News & Resources
- The application round for this year’s America’s Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) Targeted Small Grants Program is open. Apply now for HFFI funding.
- The Inquirer analysis finds Philadelphia remains one of the most racially segregated cities in America. Reinvestment Fund’s Emily Dowdall weighs in on potential solutions.
- Reinvestment Fund is proud to receive a $60 million New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) allocation to fund the high-impact projects in communities across the nation.
- Hindered by gentrification & inequitable lending policies, Black homeownership has declined nationally. The New York Times references Reinvestment Fund’s reverse mortgage research in Philadelphia in article on challenges that many Black homeowners face.
- The first cohort of 15 financial professionals recently graduated from the Reinvestment Fund’s new Train the Trainer—a program that prepares them to serve as coaches to childcare providers seeking to strengthen their business operations.
- Congratulations to Reinvestment Fund staff on their recent promotions including: Michelle Buchanan-Hines, Construction Loan Manager; Khaliff Davis, Senior Director, Southeast; Justin Copeland, Loan Servicing Manager; Beth Lawless, Senior Portfolio Manager; and Christina Simmons, Closing Operations Manager.
- HFFI grantee MARSH grocery cooperative celebrates grand opening in St. Louis. The project aims to make shopping for quality groceries and produce accessible to more people in the Carondelet community and neighboring areas.
- Reinvestment Fund’s HR team is among the 2021 finalists for the HR Department of the Year in the Delaware Valley region.
- More than just institutions of education, schools play a part in the emotional and physical wellbeing of America’s future. Reinvestment Fund’s Khaliff Davis explores why it is critical to center equity in education.
- New report from Reinvestment Fund presents the results of descriptive and spatial analyses of the child care landscape in Philadelphia in 2021 as the economy was beginning to re-open.
- Housing that is welcoming & feels safe can help with repair and healing. How can community developers use trauma informed practices to help support racial healing? Learn more from Build Healthy Places Network latest Crosswalk.
- A research brief from Reinvestment Fund examines the eviction process and identifies ways in which the court experience can be improved, and made more equitable for both tenants and landlords in Philadelphia.
- To help communities tackle vacant and abandoned properties, the Center for Community Progress, the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland collaborated on a new book. Authors include Reinvestment Fund’s Emily Dowdall and Ira Goldstein.
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