For the past year, MACDC’s Boston Committee has been working with the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association (MMCA) to sponsor the Boston Pilot Program, a joint effort to help six Boston CDCs increase their utilization of minority and women owned enterprises (M/WBEs) on 11 separate real estate projects across the City of Boston. The program established the goal of ensuring that at least 30% of the work was done by MBEs and 10% by WBEs. As of June 30, six of the projects were in construction and the other five were in various stages of pre-development. So far, the projects have contracted for slightly more than $95 million in hard and soft costs, with 36% of the total going to MBE’s, 9% going to WBE’s, with a total of 41% going to either a MBE or WBE (the numbers do not add up because we do not double count minority-women-owned businesses). This means that the CDC-sponsored projects have generated a total of nearly $39 million in economic opportunity for minority- and women-owned businesses, with much more to come as these projects continue to move forward. Working with MMCA, we will continue to try to hit the 10% goal for WBE participation and try to increase the MBE numbers for soft costs where the percentage is much lower (MBE’s earned 41% of the hard costs, but just 13% of the soft costs; WBE’s were at 9% for both hard and soft costs).
Recently, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue finalized its regulations for the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program. These regulations define qualified donations (investments) to a Community Development Corporation or the Community Partnership Fund. The regulations also explain the benefits of the program and highlight some important key points for donors:
- Donors can choose to donate directly to a CDC designated as a community partner (i.e., a CDC with tax credits to allocate to donors) or they can choose to donate to the Community Partnership Fund, for which the United Way of Massachusetts Bay provides administrative support.
- Donors do not need to live in Massachusetts or have any Massachusetts income tax liability in order to make a donation and receive the tax credits. If a nonresident makes a qualified donation, he or she can file a MA nonresident tax return to claim the refund.
- Nonprofits registered as 501c3 organizations may contribute to a community partner and receive a tax credit (if the organization has unrelated business income) or a refund.
- Contributions to CDCs through a Donor-Advised Fund (DAF) are allowed. However, the tax credit or refund would be applied to the nonprofit or foundation administering the DAF, not the individual or family who established the DAF. The nonprofit or foundation managing the DAF can put the money back into the DAF, but cannot give it back to the individual or family that set up the account.
Please make sure you consult your tax advisor.
For more information on the CITC program, please visit MACDC's CITC website.
The Community Development Partnership (CDP) recently announced the launch of the first ever Winter Farmers’ Market on the Lower Cape, which will open in December. The Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market will take place at the Nauset Regional Middle School on the first and third Saturdays of the month from 10 AM to 12 Noon, beginning on Saturday, December 6th and ending April 18, 2015. A project of the CDP, the Market is offered with support from the Orleans Winter Farmers Market Advisory Committee and made possible by financial support from the USDA Rural Development Program and the Cape Cod Economic Development Council.
CDP made the announcement in preparation for National and Massachusetts Farmers’ Market Week, commemorated from August 3rd to August 9th. This year marks the 15th annual National Farmers' Market Week, recognizing the important role that farmers’ markets play in the agricultural and food economy. The U.S. Department of Agriculture began declaring a National Farmers Market Week in 2000. Since then, the number of Farmers’ Markets nationwide has almost tripled, from 2,863 markets in 2000 to 8,144 in 2013. Massachusetts has seen similar growth, now counting more than 250 markets across the Commonwealth. Cape Cod has 17 markets open this summer, which is more than double the number of markets from six years ago and its greatest number of markets ever.
“Farmers’ Markets have a long history of fueling economic development and adding vitality to the communities in which they are held,” said Jay Coburn, Executive Director at the CDP. “We are incredibly excited to be working with local growers and food producers to help them grow their businesses and create opportunities for year-round sales. And we can’t wait to show Lower Cape residents that it is possible to grow fresh and nutritious food on Cape Cod 12 months of the year.”
Wellfleet Farmers’ Market Co-founder and member of the Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market Advisory Committee, Tracy Plaut, commented about the new Market, "Being able to supply fresh, locally raised food to the community keeps our friends and neighbors healthy, as well as building a strong and vital economy. It's a pleasure to support the ever-growing number of farmers who make their living while facing the many challenges of growing on Cape Cod."
Applications are still being accepted for vendors interested in participating in the Orleans Winter Farmers’ Market. Market vendors will also have access to business workshops targeted to growers and producers, as well as individualized technical assistance. More information for vendors and the Public is available at the CDP’s website. Information will be updated over the next few months, including participating vendors, featured musicians and special Market demonstrations.
The Community Development Partnership (CDP) nurtures a vibrant Lower Cape region – Brewster, Chatham, Eastham, Harwich, Orleans, Provincetown, Truro and Wellfleet - by promoting environmental and economic sustainability, expanding opportunities for low- and moderate-income residents, and preserving our unique cultural and historic character.
In a recent article, Accounting Management Solutions (AMS) offers advice to CDCs expecting donations through the CITC program. According to AMS, organizations should be careful not to count the tax credits themselves as revenue. Until an organization receives a contribution for which tax credits are issued to the donor(s), the revenue is still considered conditional; once a donor exchanges their donation for the tax credits, then revenue can be recognized and counted. To read the full AMS article, click here.
AMS is a leading resource for outsourced accounting and financial management services in Boston and New York City.
On June 26th, Harvard University's Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) released the 2014 State of the Nation's Housing report, during a live webcast. The report, released annually by JCHS since 1988, includes a current assessment of the state of the rental and homeownership markets; the economic and demographic trends driving housing demands; the current state of mortgage financing; and issues with ongoing housing affordability.
According to the report, the housing market is still on track to recover, but faces significant challenges, and millenials will be the key to a stronger recovery. Overall, the housing market's growth and improvement mirrors the broader economy: slow and steady. Among the key points highlighted in the report:
- Tight credit, higher mortgage interest rates, stagnant incomes and rising student loan debt are tempering the growth of the housing market and keeping many young Americans from purchasing a home.
- As millenials age, the demand for housing should grow, and the next generation of homebuyers will be the most diverse in the nation's history, as miniorities represent a growing share of the homebuyer market.
- Demand for rental housing remains strong, with an increase in the development of rental properties, but the cost burdens of housing are particularly high for renters. More than 35% of Americans are cost burdened when it comes to housing, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing costs. Approximately 50% of renters, however, are cost burdened, with nearly a quarter of renters severely burdened (paying more than 50% of income on housing).
- Supplying housing for low-income and extremely low-income families continues to be a challenge. The primary barrier for these families is availability - there is a significant gap between the number of low-income and extremely low-income families needing a home and the number of affordable homes available to them.
The full report, with all the data and conclusions, along with an executive summary and interactive maps, are available on JCHS's website. The State of the Nation's Housing report has earned national recognition as an authoritative source of information on the housing market, routinely referenced by researchers, analysts, policy makers, and the larger community.
On Friday, June 27, the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center (MVSBC), a program of Community Teamwork, announced that it had been designated as an intermediary for the SBA (Small Business Administration) Microloan Program, with approval for $200,000 in loan funds to support small businesses throughout the Merrimack Valley.
“Local small businesses now have an additional access point for SBA microloans and the technical assistance this program offers,” said SBA District Director Bob Nelson. “This is excellent news for small businesses and for the local economy and we are confident that the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center is going to be a phenomenal resource.”
The MVSBC approved its first SBA-funded microloan to the Food Train, a Haverhill-based startup business and the first food truck operation to be established in Haverhill. Slated to open this month, Food Train owners Thomas and Tiffany Bell have been working with the MVSBC staff since early 2014 to complete a thorough business plan and loan application, which was approved in May in the amount of $14,000.
“When Thomas and I were turned down by multiple banks for conventional loans to start our business, we turned to the MVSBC. From our very first meeting, we knew that finally we were working with people who believed in us and our dream,” said Tiffany.
MVSBC Director Liliana Kualapai and Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini both expressed their thanks to the SBA Microloan Program for supporting the Bell family’s dream and helping sustain local small businesses. In addition to Director Kualapai and Mayor Fiorentini, other officials on hand to publicize and celebrate this program included Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, Deputy District Director Anne Hunt of the Small Business Administration, Community Teamwork Executive Director Karen Frederick, and State Representative Linda Dean Campbell.
“In order to boost job growth and continue growing our economy, we need to invest in creative ways to help America’s small businesses,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “I have long supported federal programs like the SBA’s microloans because they can accomplish this goal through effective public/private partnerships. With this federal support, the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center and Community Teamwork will further their important mission to support the local small business community. By pinpointing and addressing the differing needs of the many small businesses across our region, we can keep our local economy on an upwards path.”
“Thomas and Tiffany Bell of Haverhill’s Food Train are just the type of determined entrepreneurs this support is meant for, to help them make their dream a reality. There are so many inventive companies clustered throughout the Third District developing imaginative and state-of-the-art products and services in myriad industries. With federal, public and private support, we can ensure they don’t just remain competitive, but remain business and innovations leaders.”
For more information about Community Teamwork's programs, please visit their website.
The College of Public of Community Service at UMass Boston was approved, by the Board of Higher Education, to launch a new undergraduate major in Community Development. Employees of Community Development Corporations, desiring to complete a baccalaureate degree may select the major immediately and may begin studies in the fall 2014 semester. First-time college attendees and individuals transferring credits from an accredited institution of higher education are encouraged to apply.
Students in the major will take core community development courses and choose a concentration in either community health or economic development. The College of Public and Community Services anticipates adding more concentrations as the program develops. The Bachelor of Arts degree combines theory and history of community development; technical skills in research and community analysis, Geographic Information Systems (GIS); skills in leadership and organizing; and community development principles and practices.
Graduates of the program will find employment in various fields, in the public and private sector, and in such jobs as a Community Organizer, Health Education or Economic Development Specialist.
“It was important to create a major to meet the community development demands of the 21st century that prepares students to promote and facilitate comprehensive development and community empowerment,” said Anna Madison, Dean of the College of Public and Community Service.
To see the required courses or download a fact sheet about the program, visit the CPCS website: www.cpcs.umb.edu
To apply, visit www.umb.edu/admissions. For further questions, email email@example.com or call 617.287.7175.
The College of Public and Community Service is located in the Wheatley Building on the campus of the University of Massachusetts, Boston, 100 Morrissey Boulevard, Boston, MA. The college forges partnerships with public agencies, community organizations, and labor organizations to build healthy, safe, sustainable communities.