Nearly 40 years ago, the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) set its sights on the abandoned Haffenreffer Brewery, which had become a blighted property and neighborhood eyesore. Five years later, the JPNDC had raised the funds necessary to purchase and renovate the Brewery, which today houses 50 businesses and employs over 500 people.
One of those small business owners is Tony Williams, owner of the Tony William Dance Center. Tony credits dance to saving his life from the streets when he was 16 years old. He also credits the JPNDC for providing him the support and space he needed to get his business off the ground, and bring others from the community together in a safe space.
JPNDC is just one example of the Community Development Corporations that the state’s new Community Investment Tax Credit (CITC) is supporting. Since the program’s launch two years ago, United Way has raised over $2.4 million from businesses and individuals for dozens of CDCs across the state, making it the largest single private funder for these organizations.
The Community Investment Tax Credit offers a 50% state tax credit for a philanthropic donation to Community Development Corporations (CDCs). These organizations are the “feet on the street” in cities across the state, fueling small business development, housing production and neighborhood revitalization. As a long-time partner of CDCs and a believer in their work and their results, United Way helped successfully pass the CITC in the Massachusetts Legislature.
“The success of JPNDC didn’t happen overnight,” says Tim Connelly, Partner at Brown Brothers Harriman and one of United Way’s first CITC donors. Referring to The Brewery, Connelly says, “This was a site that no developer would have touched. CDCs do work where no one else will go in the most challenging of circumstances.”
Beyond affordable housing, CDC’s are an important source of innovation, including small business incubation – as we saw – over the past half century. Now, the CITC Program is helping to greatly accelerate and deepen this work, as well as provide new and sustainable sources of funding. These donations, together with smart policies, will fuel economic change that lasts.
For more information about donating to United Way through the CITC, contact Susan Dickason at email@example.com.