Spanning the Region

Illinois Investor Receives CDE Designation

SWIDA Investment Group has been designated a community development entity (CDE), which will allow it to participate in the New Markets Tax Credit program. SWIDA, a wholly owned subsidiary of Southwestern Illinois Development Authority, is one of two entities in downstate Illinois to receive the designation from the Treasury Department.

To qualify as a CDE, the entity must have as its primary mission serving low-income communities or providing them with investment capital.

The New Markets Tax Credit program permits individuals and corporate taxpayers to receive a federal income tax credit for making qualified equity investments in the CDE. The credit provided to the investor totals 39 percent of the cost of the investment and is claimed over a seven-year period. Substantially all of the investment must support business activities in low-income communities.

SWIDA has applied for $50 million in tax credits.

Arkansas Jump$tart Coalition Takes Cause to State Capitol

To raise awareness among Arkansas legislators about financial literacy education, the Arkansas Jump$tart Coalition has planned an April 3 event at the state Capitol in Little Rock. The coalition, which promotes financial education for youth, will set up booths at which legislators can find information and resources on financial literacy education. The governor has also proclaimed April 2003 as Financial Literacy for Youth Month.

Coalition members participating in the event will be the University of Central Arkansas, the Arkansas Council on Economic Education, the Arkansas Securities and Exchange Commission, the Arkansas Federal Credit Union, CardRatings.com, Family Service Agency, Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service and the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, Little Rock Branch.

Outreach Program Assists Louisville Organizations

The Housing Partnership Inc., a nonprofit developer of affordable housing in the Louisville metro area, has begun a technical assistance and outreach program for neighborhood organizations. The program provides assistance with project planning, financial administration, creating a housing strategy, construction management and home ownership education.

The Housing Partnership also provides speakers to explain the program to neighborhood organizations. For information, write Renita Rosa at Housing Partnership Inc., 333 Guthrie Green, Suite 404, Louisville, KY 40202; call her at (502) 814-2706; or e-mail her at rrosa@housingpartnershipinc.org.

Memphis Fund Targets Small, Minority-Owned Businesses

Officials recently announced the creation of the Memphis Opportunity Fund for small and minority-owned businesses in the Memphis area.

The loan pool is a collaboration of First Tennessee Bank, National Bank of Commerce and Union Planters Bank. Each has committed $5 million to the pool. In addition, the city of Memphis will contribute $1 million, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati will contribute operational support.

The fund will be administered by Southeast Community Capital, a statewide nonprofit economic development agency and certified community development financial institution. Southeast Community Capital will also provide technical assistance to the businesses. The loans range from $35,000 to $500,000.

For information, call Southeast Community Capital in Memphis at (901) 526-9300, ext. 111.

St. Louis Area Listserv Focuses on Community Development

A new listserv, focusing on community development issues, has been developed for the St. Louis area by the University of Missouri Outreach and Extension Service and the Community Affairs Office at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. A listserv collects information, announcements, calendar items and topical discussion postings and automatically notifies registered users by sending an e-mail.

The listserv will provide information on investments, training events, policies and regulations, community lending and community development financing at the local, state and federal level. The idea for the listserv came from the St. Louis Community and Lender Luncheon group, whose goal is to advance communication within the community development and investment industry in the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Those invited to join the listserv include financial institutions; foundations; nonprofit and for-profit development organizations; and federal, state and local government staff. To receive an invitation to join, send an e-mail to communityaffairs@stls.frb.org.

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