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Spanning The Region

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Illinois Tax Credit Program To Help Small Businesses

A new tax credit program is designed to stimulate the economy in low-income areas in Illinois by helping existing small businesses expand and by attracting new small business projects.

The Illinois New Markets Development Program will provide state tax credits to investors against their state income tax liability. The program is expected to pump at least $125 million into small businesses through New Markets Tax Credits.

To qualify, investors must make investments into federally approved Community Development Entities (CDEs). CDEs are organizations that are federally certified by the Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Fund and that demonstrate a mission of serving low-income communities. CDEs are held accountable to the communities they serve through representation of community members on the CDE’s governing board.

Businesses that benefit from CDE investments normally are unable to borrow from traditional lenders because they lack an established credit history or collateral.

Investors and organizations interested in learning more about the Illinois New Markets Development Program or becoming an Illinois-qualified CDE should contact the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity at its Springfield office at 217-782-7500 or at its Chicago office at 312-814-7179. For information on becoming a CDE or on the U.S. Treasury’s New Markets Tax Credits program, visit the CDFI Fund web site at

ECD/HOPE Strengthens Presence in Arkansas

After serving residents and businesses in the greater Little Rock area for more than 40 years, College Station Community Federal Credit Union merged with Enterprise Corporation of the Delta/Hope Community Credit Union (ECD/HOPE) in November 2008.

ECD/HOPE and College Station have long been rooted in a commitment to community development. The merger will broaden access to ECD/HOPE’s services in Central Arkansas while continuing to serve College Station members.

ECD/HOPE is a financial institution, intermediary and policy center dedicated to strengthening communities, building assets and improving lives in economically distressed areas in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee. Through its efforts, more than $1 billion in financing has been provided to entrepreneurs, homebuyers and community development projects in the Delta.

For more information, contact HOPE Community Credit Union at 501-490-0646.

Grant To Help Kentucky with Foreclosure Prevention

The Kentuky Homeownership Protection Center will receive a grant in excess of $1.5 million from NeighborWorks America as part of the federal Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008. Included in the grant is funding for legal services, training and staffing for partner agencies that will provide foreclosure intervention and default counseling.

Since its creation last August, more than 2,100 Kentuckians have reached out to the Kentucky Homeownership Protection Center for foreclosure prevention help. The grant will help an additional 2,200 Kentuckians who are in danger of foreclosure receive counseling and assistance.

Each homeowner who contacts the center through the web site,, or through the toll-free number, 1-866-830-7868, will be referred to a counseling agency.

Memphis Groups Offer “Pizza with Planners”

Neighborhood leaders and residents in the Memphis, Tenn., area can enjoy pizza while learning about their community’s inner workings in a series of workshops presented by the Coalition for Livable Communities.

“Pizza with Planners: A Citizen’s Guide to How Your City Works” provides residents with the tools to improve their neighborhoods and the opportunity to be active in the planning process.

Recent topics included information on how planning works on a neighborhood level and a review of Memphis’ long-range transportation plan.

“Pizza with Planners” is sponsored by the Community Development Council of Greater Memphis, the Community Foundation of Greater Memphis, and the Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development. The Coalition of Livable Communities represents a diverse group of local stakeholders.

For more information about “Pizza with Planners,” contact Sarah Newstok at