Forging a New Resource for CDC Success: The Impact of the CITC program in its first three years

September 27th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

MACDC released a report today called “Investing in Impact: How the Massachusetts Community Investment Tax Credit is Improving Communities and Changing Lives that highlights how the program raised nearly $24 million in its first three years and has been a game changer for those organizations involved in the program.  The CITC program is helping CDCs leverage new private and federal dollars while increasing their strategic and collaborative initiatives.  With the majority of dollars coming from new donations, the CITC program is fueling expanded programming in a broad range of community development arenas from affordable housing, to community organizing, to economic development to arts & cultural programming.

The report includes two interactive portals that enable stakeholders to see the results for individual CDCs and to conduct their own analysis of the data. 

The report concludes that the CITC program is doing precisely what the legislature intended when it was first enacted in 2012.  Key findings include:

  • In 2015 and 2016, CDCs participating in the CITC program:
    • created or preserved 2,916 homes;
    • created or preserved 8,742 job opportunities;
    • started, grew, or stabilized 1,420 businesses; and
    • served 132,038 families.
  • The program has generated $24 million in private philanthropy for community development over the first three years of the program, with the funding growing dramatically each year from $4.7 million in 2014 to $8.2 million in 2015 to $11 million in 2016.
  • Donations are coming from new supporters, in particular those from individuals who comprise 64% of the total donations and 40% of the total dollars secured.  CITC is also attracting new and larger investments from small businesses, large companies and nonprofit institutions.
  • New and flexible funding is fueling new and expanded programming in a broad range of community development arenas from affordable housing, to community organizing, to arts & cultural programming, thereby demonstrating that CITC is fostering more comprehensive approaches to community improvement.
  • CITC is helping CDCs act more strategically and collaboratively to implement initiatives that are tailored to the local context and market.
  • CITC is helping CDCs leverage new private and federal dollars.  Over the past two years, $9.6 million in tax credits have supported a total investment of over $1.2 billion in local communities.

Beyond the numbers, the CDCs consistently report that CITC has transformed their organizations, enabling them to deepen resident engagement, act more strategically and collaboratively, and make meaningful progress toward improving the communities they serve and enhancing opportunities for the people living in those communities.

The new report underscores the importance of enacting legislation to extend and expand the CITC program.  MACDC is currently working with Senators Sal DiDomenico and Linda Dorcena Forry and Rep. Stephen Kulik to win passage of legislation that would extend the program from 2019 to 2025 and slowly increase the cap on tax credits from $6 million to $12 million annually.

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Building Opportunity

September 27th, 2017 by Joe Kriesberg

Over the past few days, MACDC had two important meetings focused on how we can better leverage our real estate construction projects to create more economic opportunity for the people in our communities.


On Friday, September 22, MACDC members met with leaders from the Massachusetts Minority Contractors Association (MMCA) to plan the launch of the “Boston Pilot Program Phase 2”, a multi-year effort to expand opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses on CDC sponsored real estate projects. Phase 2 will build on the success of Phase 1 when six CDCs undertook 12 projects that collectively spent more than $54 million on MBEs and $11 million on WBEs, representing 36 percent and 7 percent of the total development costs.  Phase 2 will grow the program to 10 CDCs, 29 projects and total development costs of $634 million. The goal of the program is for CDC projects to utilize MBEs for 30% or more of the project and WBEs for 10% or more of the project, including both hard and soft costs.  At the meeting, we talked about strategies for identifying new M/WBEs that could work on CDC projects and holding general contractors accountable for meeting goals.  One area where everyone agreed more work was needed was on soft costs (i.e. professional services) where CDCs have a much harder time meeting their M/WBE participation goals.


The following Monday, a group of Boston CDCs met with the new leadership of the New England Regional Council of Carpenter’s to talk about how CDCs can work with the union on their projects.  While many CDCs do hire union carpenters on some of their projects, the union has for years advocated that CDCs should do so more often.  At the same time, CDCs are under intense budget pressures and often can’t afford to pay union rates.  The Union Leaders shared some of their new strategies for being more competitive and we talked about how to establish good lines of communication.  The conversation also focused on how we can ensure that all contractors on CDC projects are in full compliance with employment and worker safety laws given the fact that the Attorney General recently reported that the construction industry is the worst industry in the state with respect to wage law compliance.  We also heard about efforts by the Union to continue diversifying their workforce and discussed ways that CDCs could help in those efforts.


The conversations underscored the opportunities and challenges associated with leveraging our construction projects for opportunity. We have multiple goals – hiring MBEs and WBEs; achieving high percentage of work hours for local residents and people of color; paying a livable wage and partnering with unions when possible – all while making sure the projects come in on budget and on time.  It’s not easy!  But these meetings and these partnerships are a key part of our approach to maximizing the positive impact of these projects.  No doubt the conversations and work will continue.

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Community Development Partnership Celebrates 25 Years

September 7th, 2017 by Britt Beedenbender

Over 150 people gathered at Halcyon Farm in Brewster on August 23 for the CDP's Annual Summer Evening on the Farm event. It was our 25th anniversary and our biggest summer party ever.
With Small Business TA funding from Mass Growth Capital Corporation severely curtailed due to budget cuts, our business development programs were threatened.   After hors d’oeuvres and drinks were provided by local vendors, Executive Director, Jay Coburn, told the stories of three growing small businesses, founded by young people returning to the Lower Cape and how the CDP’s programs helped to make those businesses a success.  Former State Senator Dan Wolf stepped up as auctioneer to solicit contributions in support of our small business training, technical assistance and lending programs. In an energized fifteen minutes, forty guests contributed a total of $118,500 in gifts ranging from $15,000 to $100.  The availability of the Community Investment Tax Credit helped leverage the large gifts.

It was an exciting night for our community and we are thrilled that our business development program will continue in full force to serve the Lower Cape!

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CDC Projects Receive First Community-Scale Housing Awards

September 6th, 2017 by Don Bianchi
On August 24, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and DHCD Undersecretary Chrystal Kornegay traveled to Arlington to announce $2.2 million in the Commonwealth’s first awards under its Community Scale Housing Initiative (CSHI), for development of 36 units.
Three awards were made, all to MACDC Members.  Each municipality contributed Community Preservation Act funds, and some communities pledged other funds as well.  Awards were made to the following developments:
The Housing Corporation of Arlington received $320,000 in CSHI funding for 20 Westminster, Arlington, which will provide 9 units of affordable housing and resident services. Some units will offer a preference to homeless veterans.
Metro West Collaborative Development was awarded $1 million in CSHI funding, along with other State funds, for the development of 40 River Street in Norwell.  The project will include 18 units, affordable to households across a range of incomes.
Scotts Grove in West Tisbury, sponsored by Island Housing Trust, received $900,000 in CSHI funds.  The project will consist of 9 affordable units.
CSHI is a joint pilot initiative of the MA Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and MassHousing.  The agencies made $10 million available for CSHI, and have indicated that they plan to open a new award round by the spring of 2018.
MACDC long advocated for a separate funding round for community-scale projects (rental projects between 5 and 20 units that cannot utilize low income housing tax credits).  The launch of CSHI in March, and the awards in August, are significant milestones in our efforts to advocate for funding for these smaller projects to complement the larger tax credit projects, and thereby see affordable housing built in more communities statewide.  
Our hope is that future funding rounds will result in more quality projects being funded, as MACDC Members and others have more time to develop a pipeline of these community-scale projects.  We are grateful to DHCD and MassHousing for launching this initiative.
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Who Will Lead Community Development Corporations

September 1st, 2017 by Miriam Axel-Lute

Shirronda Almeida hears the question from other colleagues of color often: “When I go to housing meetings why I am the only person of color?” As an African-American woman, Almeida—director of the Mel King Institute for Community Building in Boston, which runs training, leadership development, and mentoring programs for community developers—knows the feeling well. She says things haven’t changed on that front over her many years in community development as much as she would have hoped.  Continue reading article on Shelterforce's website

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12 MACDC Member Projects Among Rental Round Award Recipients

August 18th, 2017 by Don Bianchi

On August 15, Governor Baker and State officials announced the award of over $72 million in subsidy funding, as well as state and federal housing tax credits that will generate more than $180 million in subsidized private equity, for the development of affordable rental housing.  When completed, these 25 projects will create or preserve 1,978 rental units, including 1,698 affordable units, with 402 of these affordable units reserved for very low-income families and families making the transition out of homelessness.


MACDC Members were well represented among the awardees, with 12 receiving awards, resulting in the creation or preservation of 747 rental units, including 631 affordable units:

  • Fenway CDC will preserve 52 units, including 39 affordable units, in Burbank Gardens, located in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.
  • Jamaica Plain NDC will newly construct 47 units, including 40 affordable units, in General Heath Square Apartments, located in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood.
  • Lena Park CDC, in partnership with New Boston Fund, will construct 100 units, including 40 affordable units, on the site of the former Boston State Hospital, in Olmstead Green Mixed-Income.
  • Codman Square NDC will develop 40 affordable family units in Talbot Commons Phase 1, located in Boston’s Codman Square neighborhood.
  • Urban Edge will preserve 99 units, including 89 affordable units, in Wilshire Westminster House in Boston.
  • Just-A-Start will preserve 112 affordable units in several properties in Cambridge, including those destroyed by fire, in JAS Consolidation.
  • Berkshire Housing Development Corporation will develop 60 affordable units in Great Barrington, through a combination of rehabilitation and new construction, in Bostwick Gardens.
  • Coalition for a Better Acre will construct 44 affordable units in The Gerson Building, located in Haverhill.
  • NewVue Communities will develop Carter School, an historic rehabilitation project in Leominster consisting of 39 affordable units.
  • North Shore CDC will preserve 27 single-room-occupancy units, including 26 affordable units, in Harbor and Lafayette Homes, located in Salem.
  • Home City Housing will preserve 104 units in Springfield, including 79 affordable units, in Chestnut Crossing.
  • Domus, Inc. will develop Moseley Apartments, an historic rehab, with 23 affordable units, located in Westfield.


The strong showing by CDCs reflects the growing strength of the CDC sector in Massachusetts due in part to the Community Investment Tax Credit program, the Mel King Institute for Community Building and other capacity building efforts undertaken in recent years.  MACDC will continue to steward these programs while also advocating for for more housing resources that will enable CDCs and others to expand the production and preservation of affordable housing in the Commonwealth . 

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"Newton affordable housing group and Metro West Collaborative Development affiliate" - Metro West CDC Press Release

August 8th, 2017 by Jennifer Van Campen

Long-time Newton-based non-profit Citizens for Affordable Housing in Newton Development Organization (CAN-DO) announced today its affiliation, as of January 1, with Metro West Collaborative Development, Inc., also of Newton. Both organizations say that their affiliation move will help grow and support affordable housing in the area. This move is the culmination of a process commenced by CAN‑DO three years ago, in response to the growing challenges associated with developing affordable housing in Newton and the anticipated retirement of its executive director, Josephine McNeil. After consultation with its corporate and individual contributors, partner organizations, and appointed and elected officials, the CAN-DO board of directors determined that the best way forward was to affiliate with another nonprofit housing organization. 

“CAN-DO was attracted to becoming an organization with a more diverse collection of income sources and the opportunity of working in numerous towns. CAN-DO will not change its name and will continue to own its properties, but it is now an affiliate of Metro West,” said Susan Davidoff, president of the CAN-DO board of directors.

CAN-DO was founded in 1994 as a non-profit developer of affordable housing for low- and moderate-income individuals and families in Newton. The organization has created 44 housing units in Newton, including transitional housing for victims of domestic violence, a congregate building for individuals with developmental disabilities, permanent rental apartments, and condominium units. Thirty-seven of these units are deed-restricted and will remain affordable in perpetuity.

Metro West CD is a regional non-profit community development corporation whose mission is to develop 100 units of affordable housing over the next five years in its 21 partner communities, and to encourage economic development that improves neighborhoods. Metro West has developed 57 affordable homes and apartments since 2003.

Each organization will continue to exist as an independent entity but will share an interlocked board that will govern both. Each organization will also continue to independently own its properties and to abide by the agreements pertaining to those properties. On February 1 Metro West will take over management of the CAN-DO properties through its offices on Chapel Street in Newton. The affiliation does not affect the requirements of occupancy nor impose any tenant re-screenings or new income certifications from tenants, except as regularly scheduled

“Both organizations believe that their long-term sustainability will be improved  by an affiliation,” said CAN-DO executive director Josephine McNeil. McNeil will officially retire as of February 1, but will continue to serve as CAN-DO’s executive director emeritus through June to help with the transition and organize CAN-DO’s 14th Annual Celebration. McNeil was one of the organizing members of CAN-DO and its first president of the board of directors.

“Metro West was attracted to the idea of working in the largest municipality in its catchment area,” said Jennifer Van Campen, executive director of Metro West. “Working with CAN-DO in Newton increases the opportunities for both organizations.”

Under the affiliation, the chairperson of the combined board will, for at least the first three years, be a resident of Newton. The agreement also provides that the combined board will establish a Support Services Subcommittee that will guide and oversee the combined organizations’ commitment to service-enriched housing. CAN-DO currently collaborates with local social service organizations and others to provide services to residents in several of its properties with the goal of securing more stable futures for themselves and their families. The goal of the subcommittee is to expand these services to all CAN-DO residents.

Each organization will retain the charitable contributions it raises. CAN-DO’s will continue to fund development and advocacy efforts in Newton. 

CAN-DO will sponsor its annual fundraising gala, Yes In My Backyard, on March 12 at the Marriott in Newton. Tickets can be obtained by visiting

The Metro West Collaborative Development offices are located at 79-B Chapel Street, Newton.

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"E2E, Quaboag Region Workforce Training and Community College Center" – a new resource for Community Building

August 8th, 2017 by Sheila Cuddy

In 2013 as the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corporation was developing its new Community Investment Plan, one of the most pressing community needs was for post secondary education. Employers were concerned about finding fully trained workers. Unemployed and underemployed residents needed educational resources to attain and update job skills. There was no educational facility beyond high school located in this 400 + square mile region with little public transportation. QVCDC research indicated education levels that were dramatically behind the Massachusetts average in several communities.

As QVCDC and the community began a series of meetings to work on solutions, important links and partnerships were built. A local community banking partner of QVCDC offered to donate 4500 ft. of Class A space in downtown Ware to house this new facility. A local community foundation utilized Community Investment Tax Credits to support the establishment of the facility. With a physical location and demonstrated community support in place, Holyoke Community College signed on to provide onsite workforce training, and online credit bearing classes at E2E. Local employers donated equipment and labor to fit out the space, and the local vocational school built a beautifully crafted podium. Additional support provided the sign, technology and computers for students to use. The Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board launched a pilot program to provide regular onsite staff support for both job seekers and employers closing a 30 mile gap to their closest office.

In addition to being a respectful space for people to access job skill and educational resources, E2E has created an eye-catching visual presence in the downtown Ware streetscape. It brings vibrancy as well as resources to downtown Ware.

Community Investment Tax Credits have been used to accomplish community building that is not just a program, but is a physical space located in the heart of the downtown.

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MACDC Members Learn to Partner with Hospitals

July 26th, 2017 by Kermshlise Picard

The healthcare field is increasingly thinking about social determinants of health (SDOH) and how to partner with non-health organizations to improve the health of their shared communities. This is a great opportunity for CDCs, who were working on SDOH before most of us even knew what SDOH were! To help prepare CDCs and other community developers for this opportunity, and thanks to a generous grant from Blue Cross Blue Shield, the Mel King Institute held three trainings this summer called “Forging CDC-Hospital Partnerships.”  

Nearly 50 people from 39 organizations participated in the trainings across Massachusetts—on June 6 in Northampton, July 13 in Boston and July 18 in Lawrence. Instructor Enid Eckstein taught participants about hospitals’ obligation to invest in their communities, challenges hospitals face in doing so, potential sources of funding from hospitals, and more terms and strategies around approaching a hospital about community development. Participants in Northampton and Boston learned from Department of Public Health officials about the new Determination of Need guidelines that hospitals must follow, and participants in Lawrence learned about them from Enid. All participants worked through a case study of a local hospital in order to practice analyzing hospital financial data and reports on community programs. Through these case studies, participants realized that there is much room for improvement in how hospitals spend their community benefit dollars and for clarity on which health concerns each hospital is prioritizing. While these issues can be challenging to navigate, they also present a chance for CDCs to demonstrate their value in engaging with community members and leading successful initiatives that address the SDOH in their communities. 

At the end of the trainings, all three groups discussed what they can do next to put their new knowledge to use and potentially join forces to build relationships with local hospitals. Participants in Boston and Lawrence wrote themselves letters for the future, explaining their vision and strategies they would hope to implement after attending the trainings. MACDC and the Mel King Institute intend to continue supporting these efforts: MACDC has hired Enid Eckstein to provide some direct follow-up technical assistance to CDCs or groups of CDCs that want to move forward. MACDC will also work with MACDC members who are interested in creating a Community Health Committee to continue these conversations and develop strategies to improve the health of their communities. MACDC will be advocating for strong policies and practices in this arena as part of the Attorney General’s Task Force on Community Benefit, of which MACDC President Joe Kriesberg is a member.  And, of course, the Mel King Institute will offer additional workshops and sessions on this and other related community health topics. 

All in all, we hope these trainings are just the first step towards building more productive cross-sector collaborations that create healthier communities all over Massachusetts. We look forward to seeing this movement develop and supporting our members along the way.


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Eastern Bank Renews $300k Community Investment Tax Credit Donation for 2nd Year

July 12th, 2017 by John Fitterer


Boston, MA -  Eastern Bank has announced that it will award $300,000 in grants for the second year in a row to Community Development Corporations (CDCs) across Massachusetts participating in the Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) program.

“Eastern Bank continues to be an incredible supporter of CDCs in Massachusetts,” commented Joseph Kriesberg, MACDC’s President.  “CDCs will use this support to expand economic opportunity in local communities across Massachusetts.”

Organizations involved in the CITC program have deepened their community engagement, expanded their programming, and increased their impact.  In 2016, these organizations engaged nearly 2,000 community leaders to achieve the following results:

  • Homes Built or Preserved:  1,195
  • Job Opportunities Created or Preserved:  3,903
  • Small Business Assistance Provided:  717
  • Families Served with Housing, Jobs, or Other Services:  70,840
  • Invested in Local Communities:  $489.6 million

“Eastern Bank is thrilled to continue supporting CDCs through the Community Investment Tax Credit program,” remarked Gary Leach, Eastern Bank Senior Vice President, Community Development Lending Group Head. “Eastern Bank is committed to supporting organizations working within low- and moderate-income communities.  The CITC increases the impact of support and helps ensure the long-term revitalization neighborhoods and town in Massachusetts.”

The CITC program provides a 50% refundable state tax credit for donations between $1,000 and $2 million.  Because the donation is refundable, organizations, such as foundations and donor advised funds, can support CDCs across Massachusetts through the program as well as individuals and businesses.


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