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Nonprofit Loan Fund of Tucson & Southern Arizona Earns Important Designation

BT Don JenksMany congrats to the Nonprofit Loan Fund (NPLF) of Tucson and Southern Arizona for being recognized by the U.S. Department of the Treasury as a Certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). This designation will give NPLF access to loan funds through various Department of Treasury programs.

We have profiled NPLF previously on our blog for the good work it does providing financing to promote economic and community development in distressed and underserved areas. Don Jenks, Executive Vice President and Regional Credit Administrator for Bank of Tucson, chairs the NPLF board.

As Don pointed out, “[The NPLF] system is a win-win. Investors make a return on their investment while also helping many wonderful nonprofit organizations make a difference in our community.”

NPLF has provided nearly $2 million in loans to local nonprofits to help strengthen operations, bridge cash-flow gaps, further their initiatives and make them financially sustainable. Investors receive 2% interest, while NPLF lends money out to local nonprofits at approximately 8% interest rate. Loans range from $10,000 to $200,000 for up to five years.

After receiving the CDFI designation, NPLF applied for and will receive operational funds in the first quarter of 2018 to help run its operations. This funding will allow NPLF to bring on an additional staff member and free up the executive director to market the loan services available through NPLF to local nonprofit organizations.

“Loan demand from local nonprofits has been very strong this past year,” said Don. “More nonprofits are recognizing how NPLF can help them, but we still need to do a lot more to educate the nonprofit community about how an NPLF loan is structured to work for an organization that may not qualify for a conventional loan.”

The NPLF board plans to apply for additional funds from the U.S. Department of Treasury next year as well, this time to fund capital rather than operations.

“In the meantime, being a CDFI will also qualify NPLF to apply for community reinvestment act (CRA) funds from banks,” said Don.

Arizona Daily Star wrote about the CDFI designation for NPLF, pointing out that “NPLF is the only local CDFI to target nonprofit organizations throughout Southern Arizona.”

Locally, beneficiaries of NPLF loans include Southwest Folklife Alliance, Esperanza en Escalante, International School of Tucson, True Concord, Tucson Botanical Gardens, YWCA of Southern Arizona and more.

Many of the organizations have provided testimonials for NPLF’s website, including:

“’The NPLF loan made it possible for Tucson Botanical Gardens to move forward with confidence on major financial commitments.’ An NPLF loan was bridge financing during the pledge phase of a capital campaign [and] ensured that they could complete the new Visitors Center in time for opening of a new exhibit.”

NPLF loans have helped nonprofit organizations in our community strengthen Tucson’s reputation as a destination, educate Tucson citizens, build affordable housing and much more. It is a model for the dynamic relationship private citizens, businesses and nonprofit organizations can build to transform their communities for the better. And now, NPLF adds a Federal government agency to that formula for success.

Bank of Tucson is proud to support the efforts of Don and NPLF to elevate our community.

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Supporting Our Community and the Remarkable Ha:San Preparatory School

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L to R: Liz Barbato, Gabrielle Gary, Erin Chico, Aiden Wyaco, James Merino, Jacob Pawson

Over the past year, Bank of Tucson has provided over $20,000 in Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) donations to various organizations throughout Southern Arizona.

“Financial institutions have an obligation to reinvest in their community,” said Michael Hannley, President, Bank of Tucson. “Our focus is on giving back and providing financial assistance to organizations that support and service the lower-income communities in and around Tucson.”

One of the recipients of Bank of Tucson’s CRA donation was the Ha:San Preparatory School.

This past November, Erin Chico, VP Lockbox, presented the Ha:San School with a $2,500 CRA donation on behalf of Bank of Tucson. During her visit, Erin had an opportunity to tour the school and meet with two of the school’s honor students, Gabrielle Gary and Aiden Wyaco, along with the school’s Director of Finance and Operations, Jacob Pawson, and Academic Curriculum Coach, James Merino.

Jacob explained that many of the students travel many miles to attend school and that the school proudly boasts a 90 percent graduation rate! Lots of the school’s activities are funded through students’ fund raising efforts, such as organized car washes and providing parking space for those attending the University of Arizona football and basketball games. The school’s proximity to the UofA allows students to operate the parking lot on game days and charge a nominal fee for parking. These events provide monetary means to host activities such as school dances and field trips.

The Ha:San Preparatory School is an academically rigorous, bi-cultural community-based high school dedicated to increasing achievement for below grade level Native youth by infusing aspects of the educational experience with elements of Tohono O’dham language, tradition and Native history.

The Ha:San School continues to be a source of encouragement and inspiration! Bank of Tucson looks forward to providing further support to the Ha:San School in 2016.

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