As a small CDC operating for almost 30 years in the Western part of the Commonwealth Valley CDC has often struggled with maintaining our community development capacity even while the Board and staff have worked hard over the years to diversify our funding streams.
In 2014, the Commonwealth rolled out the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) Program awarding $3 million in credits to 38 participating organizations from across the Commonwealth. Valley CDC was able to raise approximately 87% of its goal that first year. In 2015, the Commonwealth doubled our award and we raised 150% more in 2015 than 2014. While this is not all new money (it includes existing donors who increased their giving level), it has made a significant impact on the work that Valley CDC undertakes.
Valley CDC was successful in utilizing all of its 2015 credits as well as the remaining 2014 credits raising a total of $213,672. At the end of December, Valley CDC also had to direct investors to make donations to United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley and designate Valley as the recipient because we had no remaining local credits.
Increasing capacity is vital to ensuring that underserved populations in our service area have access to all levels of homeownership assistance, small business assistance as many people seek self-employment, and affordable housing both for families and individuals, including homes for individuals/families experiencing homelessness.
The success and impact of our 2015 CITC campaign has increased our cash on hand which helps to eliminate stress on the day-to-day operation of the agency. Additionally, Valley CDC is now in the position to recruit a real estate project manager this spring, which will allow Valley CDC to increase its housing development capacity.
Valley has a great track record in the development of affordable housing, and had lost its long-term housing project manager as a result of the financial crisis of the last few years as many agencies struggled financially. It has been almost four years that the executive director has been primarily responsible for housing development activities. We successfully completed our 38-unit family development – Parsons Village in Easthampton – in August and all families were in their new homes by mid-October. Valley is now poised to get funded for its redevelopment of the Northampton Lumber Yard into 55 units of family housing in downtown Northampton. The addition of a real estate project manager is critical to Valley’s continued success as a nonprofit housing developer.
The success of Valley CDC’s CITC campaign has also allowed us to utilize a highly skilled consultant to bring us through a robust strategic alliance and strategic planning process that includes a commitment both to expanded community engagement activities and a real focus on diversity and inclusion. Our upcoming Board/staff/committee retreat will focus exclusively on diversity and inclusion.
The legislature and the Commonwealth are already seeing the results that the community development field projected would come of this generous tax credit as MACDC aggregates data from the CITC participants. It is truly making an impact on the lives of low- and moderate-income people and other underserved populations in Hampshire County.