DOR Finalizes CITC Regulations

July 30th, 2014 by

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.

Commenting Closed

Community Development Partnership Announces Launch of Winter Farmers’ Market

July 30th, 2014 by

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. 

Commenting Closed

CDCs Get Creative With Green Innovations

July 30th, 2014 by

In Hyde Park, goats are feasting on poison ivy and other invasive plants. In Dorchester, three bus shelters are getting new “green living roofs” that will help improve air quality and reduce stormwater run-off. Both projects, led by local CDCs, are examples of green innovation by Community Development Corporations.

The West Street urban wild in Hyde Park had long been overrun with poison ivy, buckthorn, Japanese knotweed and other invasive plant species. The Southwest Boston Community Development Corporation’s Green Team wanted to find an efficient way to clear the area for green space without relying on chemicals or machinery. Enter the goats.

The four goats – Cole, Chester, Dalia and Christopher, on loan from a “goatscaping” company in Plympton – will clear away the unwanted plants from two acres of land. As it turns out, the poison ivy that’s so bothersome to people is a delicacy to goats. The goats will live and eat in Hyde Park’s urban wild for about eight weeks, after which Green Team members will start pruning trees and building footpaths, restoring access to the space for neighborhood residents.

Meanwhile, in Dorchester, the Fairmount-Indigo Line CDC Collaborative and the Talbot Norfolk Triangle Eco Innovation District have teamed up with a sustainable landscaping company to install living roofs on three bus shelters near the Talbot Station of the Fairmount / Indigo Commuter Rail Line. These living roofs contain a few inches of soil and local drought-tolerant plants along with a special filter map that can retain up to 24 gallons of water during a major rainstorm. The mat will absorb water to keep it out of the road, while the plants will help keep the air clear along Talbot Avenue. Each of the bus shelters will also display a poster from the EPA highlighting the benefits of the living roofs.

While the project offers green benefits and helps promote public transportation, these living roofs will also create job opportunities. In partnership with YouthBuild Boston and the TNT Green Teens Program, the landscaping company will train local youth to do the construction and maintenance of the living roofs.

Commenting Closed

MACDC Interviews Governor Patrick

July 24th, 2014 by John Fitterer

On Wednesday, July 23rd, MACDC's President Joe Kriesberg sat down for an interview with Govenor Deval Patrick to talk about the Community Investment Tax Credit, why he signed into law this program and why CDCs are so important to all communities across the Commonwealth.  Check out the complete interview below!


CLICK HERE to view video.

Commenting Closed

10-Year Impact of CDCs in Massachusetts

July 17th, 2014 by

During the last decade, Massachusetts CDCs have had a lasting impact on the Commonwealth. From affordable housing development and small business assistance to job training programs and leadership engagement, CDCs have strived to improve Massachusetts' cities and towns and ensure opportunities are available for all community residents. From 2004 to 2013, CDCs have:

  • Built or preserved 13,011 homes 
  • Created or preserved 24,567 job opportunities 
  • Helped 15,073 small business owners and entrepreneurs start, grow or stabilize their businesses 
  • Engaged 20,538 community leaders to help shape and guide local neighborhoods 
  • Supported 328,362 families with CDC programs, economic opportunities, housing, job training and other services 
  • Invested $2.9 billion into Massachusetts communities 

MACDC's annual GOALs reports highlights the yearly successes of the community development field in Massachusetts. In this one-pager, data from the past ten years is combined to provide an overview of CDC's impact over the course of a decade. While the state's communities and economy changes and adapts with time, the CDC field continues to demonstrate its depth and commitment to Massachusetts communities. 


Commenting Closed

Advice for CITC Donors and CDCs

July 17th, 2014 by

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. 

Commenting Closed

CITC Provides Dual Opportunity for Community Impact and Tax Savings

July 10th, 2014 by Evelyn Moreno
By Evelyn Moreno, Nixon Peabody
A new Massachusetts tax credit that took effect on January 1 of this year provides individuals with an opportunity to magnify the impact of their charitable giving while gaining significant tax benefits. The Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) is designed to encourage individuals (and companies) to donate to qualified Community Development Corporations that are helping to expand economic opportunities for families and communities in Massachusetts. These community development corporations enable local residents to work together to improve their communities by building affordable housing, renovating dilapidated properties, starting and growing local businesses, helping families develop financial knowledge and capacity, and otherwise improving the quality of life in their communities. 
The CITC allocates $3 million in tax credits (this year) to 38 community development corporations (“CDC’s”) across Massachusetts. These tax credits allow donors to receive a 50% tax credit for every dollar donated to these selected organizations: give $10,000 and receive a $5,000 tax credit on your Massachusetts state taxes. And if you don’t have any tax liability, you can get a refund! This means that Donor Advised Funds can participate as well, with the 50% refund (or rebate) being deposited back into the Fund for future giving. 
Furthermore, out-of-state taxpayers who have no income tax liability or are not otherwise required to file a return in Massachusetts may make a donation to a qualified CDC and claim a refund of the credit. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue recently released its draft regulations which explain how individuals and different entities can claim the credit (see 860 CMR 62.6M.1).
The CITC will generate a total of $6 million for community development in 2014 and $12 million in 2015 through 2019, when the tax credit cap is extended to $6 million annually. The structure of this new program provides a unique opportunity for individuals to work with qualified community development corporations in Massachusetts to improve local communities. 
Commenting Closed

FY15 Housing Capital Budget Increased by $11 Million

July 10th, 2014 by Don Bianchi

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick released his capital budget for Fiscal Year 2015, and the Housing Capital Budget is increased by $11 million over the FY14 amount, now totalling just over $190.5 million. The capital budget for privately-produced housing (not including public housing) is now at just over $100 million, the first time it has reached this milestone in the eight years of the Patrick Administration. This is good news!  

For FY15, there are significant increases for the Housing Stabilization Fund, the Housing Innovations Fund, the Facilities Consolidation Fund, and the Home Modification Fund. MACDC, in collaboration with CHAPA and our allies in The Building Blocks Coalition, have long advocated for an increase in the Capital Budget and we are very pleased to see such a significant increase this year. It will directly result in the production of more housing for families who desperately need it.

Click here for a spreadsheet with the detail of the FY15 budget, along with a comparison of how the housing capital budget has varied over the past eight years.

Commenting Closed

Backyard Gardeners in Worcester

July 10th, 2014 by Sarah Dupere Ostro

Chandler Street, a major commercial corridor in Worcester, boasts diverse restaurants, shops and offices alongside a busy mix of vehicle and pedestrian traffic. There are also a fair number of residential buildings, from triple deckers to converted mixed use properties, such as Worcester Common Ground's 133 Chandler. When rehabbed in 2003, the property was fenced and landscaped, so that residents could have access to, and flexibility in the use of, a backyard green space.  

For the first few years of her tenancy, resident Jovita Padilla was excited to try to create a garden in the space; she used the back fence of the property to grow produce such as onions, eggplant and tomatoes. She attempted both in-ground direct seeding and transplanting, but struggled with plant damage as a result of the car wash run-off from the neighboring auto sales company. Frustrated with her limited success, she'd decided not to try again this year, until neighbor Arline Rosario, along with her two sons, moved into the building.

Arline, who grew up in Worcester, had just returned to Massachusetts from a stint in Philadelphia.  She and her family were members of the Point Breeze Gardens (at 1348-1350 Bouvier Street), where Arline says she learned a lot of what she knows about urban food production. Arline suggested to Jovita the whole building tackle gardening as a group, using raised beds. Although Jovita declined, Alrine was able to recruit WCG Property Manager Jeshenia Luyando, and tenant Lisandra Diaz to participate. The three women who comprise the group share watering and weeding responsibilities and the garden now has a healthy mix of flowers, herbs and vegetables, including peppers, Mexican Tarragon and squash.

Of the three raised beds, the tomato bed is thriving the most; it holds a special plant from a field trip Arline's son's class took to Community Harvest a couple of months ago.  Delano (Arline's son, seen in the photo above) is clearly delighted by the garden and showed off "his" tomato to recent visitors. 

The gardeners' biggest challenge to date is squirrels, who have made short work of sunflower seeds and squash plants alike. The scarecrow suggested by Delano has had some impact, but the women plan to infill with seedlings over the next couple of weeks (a new sunflower, slated for the garden, sits on Jeshenia's desk awaiting transplant).

So, why garden? The reasons are different for each of the women. Arline is excited by the idea of reintroducing a once-common practice; she says, "gardening is a lost way of life and it's making it's way back." Lisandra likes that the garden is a group effort. "It['s] neat to be a part of something in my community," she says, although she's equally interested in the produce to come; "cooking with the harvest will be the most enjoyable!" And although anyone that has ever met her knows her pure joy for flowers, for Jeshenia, there is a spiritual and metaphorical component to gardening as well. She loves the idea, she says, of "what goes on underground that you don't see." It is the work that you do beforehand (often unobserved) she notes, that determines the "fruits of your labor." 

Commenting Closed

The State of the Nation's Housing

July 10th, 2014 by

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. 

Commenting Closed


Subscribe to News