Read a brief overview of the five impact investments in CCM’s Impact Award 2020.
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CCM’s Impact Award 2020 Finalists are:
Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center – Oakland, CA (Taxable Municipals)
The Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center in East Oakland is in a moderate-income, high-minority, high-poverty census tract where 99% of the population are minorities and 25% live below the poverty line. The center was newly renovated to include a new media lab, dance studio, classrooms, security cameras, and food pantry. The ADA-compliant center offers computer operation and repair classes, literacy and reading clubs, an investment club for youth, a teen center, a conflict resolution center, and a Friday Night Live for teens.
The Arroyo Viejo Recreation Center offers children access to the Early Head Start program. Early Head Start promotes school readiness for children from birth to age five. The program offers free early childhood education and care, prenatal education, and family services to eligible Oakland residents. Families experiencing homelessness and children in foster care are automatically eligible. Programs include:
- Individualized Early Childhood Education: Early Head Start prepares children for kindergarten using a variety of learning experiences. The program focuses on every child’s intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth and development.
- Health Services: All children receive health and development screenings, vision screenings, dentalcare, and mental health support.
- Family Services: Head Start supports and strengthens parent-child relationships by engaging families in their children’s learning and development.
- Disabilities Services: Children with disabilities have individualized education plans or individualized family service plans.
- Nutrition Services: Every child is served a nutritious breakfast, lunch, and snacks daily through the US Department of Agriculture Child and Adult Care Food Program.
Howard University – Washington, D.C. (Corporates)
Howard University is a private university founded in 1867 with campuses in Washington, D.C., and Maryland. It is one of 101 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the U.S. and is consistently ranked as one of the top universities in this category by U.S. News & World Report.
On July 15, 2020, Howard University issued a taxable bond to refinance debt from a previous bond issuance whose proceeds are being used toward general upgrades, renovations, and construction of facilities on the university’s Main Campus, East Campus, and West Campus. These included heating, air conditioning, and sprinkler/fire systems, modernization of classrooms, upgrading laboratories for research, roof replacement and repairs, and renovating buildings for safety and access. It also funded the installation of modern instructional and clinical equipment and the equipping of classrooms, teaching laboratories, and other building learning spaces with enhanced multimedia technology, improved information systems, fiber optic wiring, camera surveillance, and entry access systems as well as new construction of a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics building, and an interdisciplinary building.
The upgrades may have helped smooth the university’s transition to remote learning in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Because it had recently completed IT network upgrades and many faculty members were already trained in online teaching platforms, the transition was successful and required only modest additional investments in software licenses and laptops for faculty and student use.
With interest rates low, many educational institutions are tapping the bond market to raise capital for projects, renovations, and other funding needs. So far in 2020, more than 100 U.S. universities have issued $27 billion in bonds. Howard University is the only HBCU so far to join this trend, issuing two bonds in 2020. Even as the market continues to favor borrowers, most HBCUs simply do not have the financial profile to enter the bond market and take advantage of low-interest financing as can wealthier universities.
Kinder Towers – Bloomfield, NJ (Agency CMBS)
Kinder Towers is an affordable rental property for seniors and people with disabilities in Bloomfield, New Jersey. All 99 residential units of this property receive Section 8 assistance and offers residents a community game room, a picnic area, laundry facilities, and an on-site library. A large park is a five-minute walk away.
Kinder Towers is owned and managed by National Church Residences (NCR), the largest non-profit provider of senior housing in the country. With a faith-based mission, NCR believes every senior should be able to live a vibrant, healthy, and independent life. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCR took decisive action to protect the vulnerable population it serves, including:
- Forming a physician-led COVID-19 task force that meets daily to develop and adjust infection prevention plans for all NCR properties.
- Implementing the highest level of infection prevention in every setting where it serves seniors, including helping its residents to shelter in place, with staff delivering food and providing creative ways for seniors to stay engaged and connected in a time of isolation.
- Launching a rapid response service coordinator program to help seniors get access to services and supplies.
- Launching a COVID-19 staff support hotline where staff can get immediate guidance and resources.
- Providing additional crisis compensation to support its frontline staff in a time of widespread financial impact from the virus, and to thank its staff for going above and beyond to serve senior residents.
San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) – San Francisco, CA (Taxable Municipals)
In 2016, San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District (BART) reached a critical juncture. The transit agency faced a growing backlog of rebuilding needs – the system was at risk of major system failure if those needs were left unattended. The challenge was compounded by the fact that BART did not have enough funding to do the needed rebuilding work. BART estimated that if nothing were done, in just 10 years nearly half of the system’s assets including long stretches of track and power cables would be at the end of their design lives.
On November 8, 2016, San Francisco Bay Area District voters approved the authorization of Measure RR, allowing the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit District to issue general obligation bonds in an aggregate principal amount not to exceed $3.5 billion to rebuild the aging BART system. The overall goal of the Better BART rebuilding program is to make the system safer and more reliable and to reduce traffic.
In addition to allowing BART to move forward with critical rebuilding work, projects are also boosting the Bay Area’s economy by creating hundreds of high-quality construction and support jobs. From June of 2019 to June of 2020, Measure RR projects have created 129 full-time jobs, 358 consulting positions, and 114 contractor openings.
These Green Bonds meet the criteria established by the Climate Bonds Initiative regarding reporting and transparency and will finance projects that provide low-carbon transportation alternatives for Bay Area residents and reduce the impacts of climate change.
BART is committed to advancing regional sustainability by providing safe, affordable, equitable, and environmentally friendly transit to move people to jobs, recreation, and services. BART maintains a sustainability policy and a sustainability action plan.
Simon C. Fireman Community – Randolph, MA (Agency CMBS)
Simon C. Fireman Community is an affordable housing complex for seniors in Randolph, Massachusetts. The property is in a majority-minority census tract where 69% of the population is minorities, and all 159 residential units receive Section 8 assistance. The Fireman Community offers seniors affordable, independent living that supports personal wellness, including Vitalize 360, the community’s personalized wellness coaching program. This program promotes healthy aging in all aspects of life: health, physical and mental fitness, lifelong learning, community connection, and spirituality. Vitalize 360 helps seniors find purpose and meaning as they age.
Healthcare and wellness services are offered on-site, including access to home health care. A podiatrist, massage therapist, and chiropractor are also available, as is a 24-hour emergency response and check-in system. Fireman Community amenities include a staffed fitness center with personalized training and group classes, an art studio, a library, a computer center, and a full-service salon. The property also offers a small general store and a coffee shop with lunch options, both staffed by resident volunteers. Weekly banking and bus service to local supermarkets are provided.
The Simon C. Fireman Community is owned and managed by Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), New England’s largest non-profit provider of senior health care and living communities and a national leader in redefining the experience of aging. It is the only senior care organization affiliated with Harvard Medical School and is home to the only long-term chronic care teaching hospital in the United States. Through this partnership, it conducts influential research and trains more than 1,000 future doctors, nurses, physical therapists, and other medical professionals each year. The Adam and Matan Adelson Multigenerational Program at HSL has nursing students visit the Fireman Community to learn about geriatric nursing firsthand from older adults.
The Residents’ Council works with Fireman Community staff to plan social, educational, and recreational activities, cultural events, and holiday celebrations. The community provides spiritual care with programming led by a chaplain, who also provides individual support to residents. The chaplain is board-certified in interfaith chaplaincy to ensure that residents of all faiths and backgrounds can receive spiritual support.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HSL created an in-house infection control team and implemented strict protocols to protect its residents. It also expanded virtual programming, video chat capabilities, and other efforts to support the physical and emotional well-being of its senior residents.