FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Monday, February 26, 2007
Sue Cobb or Sarah Moss, Mayor’s Office, 720-865-9016
DENVER OFFICIALS LAUNCH NEW COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT FINANCIAL INSITITUTION
Public-Private Financing Entity will Support Affordable Housing, Revitalization, Small Business Growth, and Asset-Building
(DENVER) Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, City Council President Michael Hancock, City Councilman Rick Garcia, City Councilman Doug Linkhart and City economic development officials announced today the launch of a new, private, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI). Seedco Financial Services of New York City will operate the CDFI, which will work closely with the City on community economic development, including neighborhood commercial revitalization, affordable housing and small business expansion. It will leverage and invest at least $17 million in 2007 alone in local projects to create jobs and stabilize distressed neighborhoods.
“This exciting and innovative partnership is a is a key component of our comprehensive neighborhood revitalization and economic development strategies,” said Hickenlooper. “We are pleased to welcome Seedco Financial, a group with a national platform from which to raise much-needed capital. This community development financial institution will greatly advance our efforts to meet the affordable-housing and commercial-development needs of our community. We thank the many business, nonprofit and civic leaders who helped us establish this entity.”
Seedco Financial Services is a national, nonprofit intermediary with $178 million in assets and historic ties to the Ford Foundation. The new CDFI is certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury and will be the largest CDFI in Denver. The Colorado Housing and Finance Authority is supporting the venture and will provide in-kind office space during the start-up period.
The new entity, Seedco Financial-Denver, will be an important permanent element of the Denver community development landscape, Hickenlooper added. It will partner with local institutions to deploy more than $50 million in Denver over the next few years.
“This is the biggest opportunity for Denver to attract new community development capital in some time,” said Garcia. “Seedco’s national reputation will attract new capital into Denver to support more difficult community development projects throughout our city. I welcome Seedco to Denver and to this unique partnership.” Garcia is the chair of the Council’s Neighborhood, Community and Business Revitalization Committee.
“Denver is a great city with a strong commitment to economic growth and the revitalization of distressed communities,” said Seedco Financial President William Grinker. “We are delighted to have been selected to collaborate with the City and County of Denver and other public and nonprofit entities to manage their comprehensive neighborhood revitalization effort. It is with pleasure that we welcome Denver to the Seedco Financial family. We are confident that the financial and technical assistance resources we bring to Denver will substantially enhance the community development initiatives.”
A community-based committee selected Seedco Financial as the private financial partner to lead the CDFI. Representatives from the private and nonprofit sectors, Council President Hancock, Council members Garcia and Linkhart and staff from the Mayor’s Office and the Denver Office of Economic Development served on the committee.
CDFIs are mission-based financial entities that provide equity and debt financing to projects that benefit low- and moderate-income people and fund projects that cannot secure sizable amounts of financing from conventional sources. They often serve as a conduit for private entities—including foundations, pension funds and individual social investors—that do not typically utilize government as a vehicle for investing in community projects. The new Denver CDFI will leverage capital from sources that are not currently investing in the Denver region. It also will draw support from local and statewide institutions such as the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
The City has been working on a number of fronts to expand and diversify the resources and tools available for community revitalization and economic development. In 2005 the U.S. Department of the Treasury awarded the City, in partnership with the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority, a $40 million allocation of New Markets Tax Credits. The City also received an award of $849,000 in federal grant monies for individual development accounts (IDAs).
In 2005, the City commissioned Shorebank Advisory Services to conduct a Denver market study that found gaps in Denver’s infrastructure of community development finance products and programs. The study recommended entrepreneurial approaches to expanding capital and creating new financing products that focus on the unique challenges of certain types of revitalization and economic development projects.
The City will invest federal block grant funding into the CDFI; no general fund dollars will be used to support this effort.
Seedco Financial Services Inc. (Seedco Financial) is a national, nonprofit community development financial institution (CDFI) with $178 million in assets under management. Its mission is to provide affordable financing and technical assistance to small businesses, nonprofit organizations, and anchor commercial projects in low-income and economically distressed communities. Financing programs are designed to fill critical capital and capacity gaps within local markets. Seedco Financial works closely with community partners to link its financing and technical assistance activities with comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategies that are intended to benefit low-wage workers and their families; minority-, women-, and immigrant-owned small businesses; and faith-based and community organizations. www.seedco.org/financialservices
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