To increase access to quality public education for families, in August 2017, Civic San Diego (CivicSD) closed on a $6.7 million New Markets Tax Credit Program investment with Thrive Public Schools to help finance the new charter school and community center in Linda Vista that celebrated its opening Sept. 14.
Thrive Public Schools (Thrive) is an award-winning free, public K-12 charter organization serving students from all over San Diego. Thrive’s innovative approach to engaging students and personalizing their learning has been nationally recognized. At Thrive, students academically advance about 1.5 years of growth every year. Thrive currently serves close to 1,000 students with campuses in Linda Vista and Mid-City. Students come from 45 different zip codes and more than half the families live at or below the poverty line.
In February 2017, Thrive partnered with the Bayside Community Center to construct the new, approximately 35,000-square-foot facility that includes 30 unique learning spaces, a technology lab, an outdoor classroom, learning lounges, collaborative student offices, and community rooms. The 500-student K-8 campus component will allow Thrive to serve 250 additional families. Bayside Community Center will also offer social services, counseling and health education to all community members.
“Since our founding in 2014, establishing a school in Linda Vista has been a top priority for Thrive Public Schools. The area surrounding the Bayside Community Center is reported to be one of the six most distressed blocks in San Diego with under-resourced housing and educational facilities,” said Nicole Assisi, CEO of Thrive Public School. “The opportunity to partner with Bayside, a true community champion, allows us to immediately address the educational inequity that exists in this community. Offering quality education in a first-rate building in a disenfranchised neighborhood creates a sense of pride and is the starting point of community transformation.”
In 2012, CivicSD formed the Civic San Diego Economic Growth and Neighborhood Investment Fund to become certified as a Community Development Entity. The main role of the Community Development Entity is to secure New Markets Tax Credit Program funds as well as manage qualifying low-income community investments to continue the work of revitalizing San Diego’s underserved neighborhoods. CivicSD has received four allocations of program funds totaling $133 million from the United States Department of the Treasury. “A key component of the New Markets Tax Credit Program is to provide tangible benefits to the residents of those neighborhoods,” notes CivicSD Assistant Vice President Michael Lengyel, “and we are very excited about the partnership between Bayside Community Center and Thrive Public Schools to provide comprehensive services to the Linda Vista community.”
Congress established the New Markets Tax Credit Program in 2000 to drive investment in both businesses and real estate projects in low-income communities. The program attracts investment capital to these communities by allowing corporations and individuals to receive a credit against their federal income taxes in exchange for making direct equity investments in entities such as CivicSD. With the new Thrive facility, for instance, CivicSD provided $6.7 million in New Markets Tax Credit Program funds that were then purchased by Chase Bank to provide flexible financing to support construction of the new school and community center that will be a benefit to the Linda Vista community.
CivicSD is actively working to identify qualifying projects to receive this type of investment. To qualify, a project must be located in, or directly benefit, a low-income community by creating quality jobs, or providing goods or services to low-income persons. This form of financing is intended to provide no more than 20 percent of a project’s total cost, and is best suited for large capital projects of $8 million or more. To present CivicSD with potential projects for New Markets Tax Credit Program funding, contact Michael Lengyel at firstname.lastname@example.org.