Ferguson Community Empowerment Center
After the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis (UL) began making plans to restore and repair the wounds suffered by the community in the aftermath of the protests. With a $6M NMTC allocation, the UL converted the site of the burnt-out QuikTrip in Ferguson into a new Empowerment Center in collaboration with the Salvation Army, Lutheran Family Services, and other partners. This facility is home to numerous social service providers, all intent on giving residents the economic and educational empowerment and support they need. For example, the Urban League’s Save Our Sons program provides education, job training and employment assistance to 350 low-income, predominantly African American men in the community annually – resulting in 98% of those individuals either finding a job, entering the military or enrolling in post-secondary training and education. Their Microsoft Office Professional Suite training program trains 60 people from the community annually – equipping them with the computer skills necessary in today’s job market. Mini-job fairs reach another 500 to 700 people annually, while their financial literacy and training counselors serve at least 240 clients annually helping them track spending, build budgets, repair credit and find a path to financial stability and independence and homeownership. The Salvation Army, Lutheran Family Services and other partners offer unique services to address the community’s needs, including job training, and placement assistance, youth programs and food pantry services for more than 4,000 clients annually. This center serves as a beacon of community engagement, community healing and community improvement.
A project very close to home and close to our hearts, Smith NMTC was honored to be asked to join the team that made the Ferguson Community Empowerment Center a reality. Smith NMTC structured the transaction, facilitated the closing and is working with the Urban League to ensure all regulatory, statutory and tax compliance and reporting requirements are fulfilled through the 7-year compliance period.
AT A GLANCE
Nonprofit Community Services and Empowerment Center/Hub
Project Close: July 2016
CDE: Heartland Regional Investment Fund
Investor: US Bancorp CDC
- Poverty: 33.4%
- Median Family Income: 39.63%
- 1.44 x national unemployment rate