Funding to support expansion of high-performing charter school in southwest Atlanta
ATLANTA (Nov. 28, 2022) – Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), in partnership with Reinvestment Fund, today announced the closing of a $18.1 million construction and mini-permanent loan to fund the expansion of Ethos Classical School, an independent charter school located in southwest Atlanta. The loan is part of LIIF’s Tennessee and Georgia Charter School product that provides flexible lending terms to charter schools.
Marking the fifth charter school transaction LIIF has completed in collaboration with Reinvestment Fund in the southeast, the loan will enable the construction of a 44,162-square-foot, three-story facility that will connect to the existing school structure. The addition will allow Ethos to reach a full enrollment of 648 students by the start of the 2025 school year. This is up from an original capacity of 340 students in grades Kindergarten, first grade, second grade and fifth grade. The school will grow by one grade level per year until it reaches full capacity across grades K-5.
“The outsized impact this financing will have in bolstering Ethos’s ability to meaningfully serve its students and faculty is the cornerstone of our work at LIIF,” said Amir Ali, Deputy Director at LIIF. “With a student and teacher population that is majority Black, Ethos is making much-needed strides in advancing racial equity, which aligns directly with our own mission to close the education gap in underserved communities. We are proud to once again partner with Reinvestment Fund to help catalyze growth and transformation through our charter school lending.”
LIIF and Reinvestment Fund each contributed $9.1 million to the loan, which is the second financing for Ethos. In January 2022, LIIF and Reinvestment each provided $3.2 million to support the purchase of property for the expansion, various pre-development efforts and related site work for the first phase, which began in April 2022.
Construction on the second phase will begin in November 2022. Once completed, the school will encompass more than 50,000 square feet and feature 24 K-5 classrooms, multiple enrichment rooms, a library, an outdoor play area and additional spaces to support educational development.
“We believe that students learn best in spaces envisioned for their success, and the expansion of Ethos will provide students the capacity they need to flourish,” said Khaliff Davis, Senior Director at Reinvestment Fund. “In partnering with LIIF, we are using our financing to empower a school we have supported since its inception. We’re proud to be able to contribute to Ethos in this way and look forward to watching the school’s community continue to bloom.”
Since launching in 2019 in a former church building with a total student population of 124 and founding staff of 16, Ethos has since grown to 416 students and more than 40 staff members. Currently, more than 75% of students are being instructed in overflow classrooms housed in temporary trailers adjacent to the existing building in the current campus design.
The school’s curriculum is rooted in tailored, small-ground instruction, with two teachers stationed in each classroom. After-school education includes Spanish, martial arts, dance tumbling, robotics and chess.
“The loan is a key factor in ensuring every scholar whose education we are entrusted with has an extraordinary elementary experience”, said Emily Castillo León, Founder and Executive Director of Ethos Classical. “For the past four years, we’ve been getting results with our scholars in spite of our building. Moving forward, we’ll be able to accelerate our impact with our expanded space. What a gift.”
In addition to Ethos, LIIF has partnered with Reinvestment Fund on the financing of other charter schools in the Atlanta area, including a $4 million loan to support Genesis Innovation Academy in southeast Atlanta and a $4.8 million loan to fund The Rise Schools in East Point.
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About the Low Income Investment Fund
The Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is a national community development financial institution (CDFI), headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., that invests in communities of opportunity, equity and well-being. As a CDFI, LIIF supports projects that have high social value but lack access to traditional financial institutions. Since 1984, LIIF has deployed more than $3.2 billion to serve 2.5 million people in communities across the country from its five offices. An S&P-rated organization, LIIF funds healthy communities by providing innovative capital solutions.
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that everyone has access to essential opportunities: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets, communities, and impediments to opportunity—and how investment and policy decisions can have the most powerful impact. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities. Learn more at reinvestment.com.