Interfaith Neighbors Community Investment Continues

August 27, 2018 3:08 pm


By Michelle Gladden, Published in the Asbury Park Sun

Funding support from Wells Fargo Bank will mean an expansion of Interfaith Neighbors development and programs in the west side, the nonprofit announced during a recent community gathering.

Wells Fargo Bank invested $500,000 in the latest Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit [NRTC] funding round, which will be used to advance revitalization initiatives, Interfaith Neighbors spokeswoman Nancy Shields said.

Those initiatives include:

The recently approved Parkview AP – a 10 unit, mixed income, residential project slated for Springwood Avenue across from Springwood Avenue Park. The project is intended to provide homeownership for low-to-moderate income buyers and those in the emerging market, meaning buyers with incomes above the affordable housing income cutoff but not able to afford the cost of full market properties. It will feature three bedrooms, two and one half bath, townhomes facing Springwood Avenue and a one bedroom income rental unit above the detached garage.

A second Rights of Passage home, to be administered by Covenant House. The transitional homeless program for women is slated to be constructed next door to the current facility, which serves five young adult males.

A new career program, to be led by Second Baptist’s Samjaz Vanzant, will be aimed at employing west side residents. The program is a variation of the nonprofit’s previous Youth Corps program that worked to help those entering the employment market find jobs. Vanzant said the program will include helping candidates obtain driver’s licenses and any needed certifications. 

And, the soon to launch annual community talent show competition, being led by Kevin Oakley, 19, and Kerry Simmons, 20, both of Asbury Park. Think Asbury Park celebrates its talen via an America’s Got Talent-esque competition, Interfaith Executive Director Paul McEvily said.

“It’s wonderful that Wells Fargo has committed more funding to the city inorder to help our homeless youth, west side development and programming,” Councilwoman Yvonne Clayton said. “We are very grateful to them and to Interfaith Neighbors. I think it’s most interesting that coming out of all of this will be a project that highlights the creativity of our youth. It is further evidence of the exciting things that are happening on the west side of Asbury Park.”

Over the past 11 years, $6.7 million in NRTC funding has allowed the local nonprofit to construct affordable housing and administer economic development, employment, recreational, family and community initiatives.

“Interfaith Neighbors has shown remarkable dedication and leadership in the revitalization of the west side,” Wells Fargo Senior VP of Community Relations said Wanda Saez said in a written statement. “At Wells Fargo, it’s our goal to help communities thrive. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a partner in this work through the NRTC program.”

The NRTC program is administered by the NJ Department of Community Affairs. Corporations receive a 100 percent credit against their state business taxes for funds invested in approved revitalization plans.

“If you have a New Jersey business tax obligation, it has been a no brainer to invest through this program if you have an organization that you trust,” Interfaith Neighbors Director of Real Estate Development Patrick Durkin said, who joined Interfaith in 2007 to administer the program. “It’s a 100 percent credit against your tax obligation.”

For Interfaith Neighbors and Asbury Park, the corporate investment has leveraged capital investment from additional sources, Interfaith Neighbors’ Executive Director Paul McEvily said.

“Most philanthropically minded corporations look for a leverage ratio of 2 to 1 for their  investment” McEvily said. “For the NRTC program each corporate dollar invested through the program results in an 8 to 1 leverage ratio, which is really off the charts.”

Wells Fargo Bank’s participation is separate from that of the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, which has contributed over $1 million to Interfaith Neighbors over the past 10 years through implementation grants, and most recently through a neighborhood planning grant.

The Foundation’s grants have supported economic stability, affordable housing and youth opportunity on Asbury Park’s West Side, with regional foundation funds supporting projects across New Jersey, Delaware and parts of Eastern Pennsylvania.

“They’ve been very innovative,” Durkin said. “They try to support their grantees and they follow what’s going on and track us. They see the impact of what we’ve done. They also see how much remains to be done. They’ve come to realize it takes longer, deeper investment to turn things around.”

The NRTC funding also supports the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs, the Junior Entrepreneur [JET] Program run by KYDS at the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County, the Community Affairs Resource Center job placement programs, Second Baptist Church’s Fine Arts and Technology summer camp, and the Asbury Park Music Foundation’s Monday night concerts at Springwood Park.

During the past decade, NRTC funds allowed Interfaith Neighbors to expand its affordable housing program, which started in 1996 with support from New Jersey Natural Gas. To date, 44 affordable housing units have been constructed and sold to low and moderate income buyers in Asbury Park and Neptune, Shields said.

Other NRTC projects included lights for the Asbury Park Little League field, repairs to restore the Boys and Girls Club swimming pool, a new boxing and fitness center above the Asbury Park Public Works office, and a pilot police department video surveillance program, which has since been expanded throughout the city, she said.

NRTC funding was also used to support the development of the Springwood Center and to underwrite Interfaith Neighbors Business Development Center, the Kula Café and the Kula Urban Farm.

The latest NRTC funded projects includes investments from Amerigroup NJ insurance company and M&T Bank.

For more about the Interfaith Neighbors, visit their website.


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Aug 23, 2018

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