300 Students Start Year on New Campus Thanks to Recovery Act Funds

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About 300 students at College-Ready Academy High School #7 stepped onto a new campus Monday—a move made possible by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (Recovery Act) funds that arrived just in time for the beginning of the school year. The Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund provided a Recovery Act award to the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) in June. LIIF, along with Clearinghouse CDFI and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), provided a loan to a charter school developer, which allowed the high-performing school to add a grade level and about 100 students at its new four-acre site in the Crenshaw district at 2941 West 70th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90043.

“Funding from these kind of partnerships is invaluable to creating campuses where we can fulfill our college-ready promise,” said Judy Burton, CEO and President of Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, a charter management organizations that runs 16 schools in underserved areas of Los Angeles. “Our students now have a campus they can be proud of.” The Alliance plans to expand to include a middle school and grow the high school to 500 students, which will also mean 100 new jobs for faculty and staff.

Donna J. Gambrell, Director of the Department of the U.S Treasury’s CDFI Fund, will appear at a ribbon cutting event at the high school at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, September 2, 2009, to underscore the importance of Recovery Act funding in low income communities. “By promoting investment in underserved communities, the Recovery Act awards made by the CDFI Fund are stimulating new economic growth and opportunities to Americans most in need,” she said. “I commend the Low Income Investment Fund for xpeditiously utilizing their Recovery Act award to finance the College-Ready Academy and bring needed jobs and educational resources to this community.”

Charter schools often find their biggest challenges fall outside the classroom – securing financing and finding appropriate facilities. “Quality facilities let students see the investment the community is willing to make toward their well-being,” noted Glenn R. Pierce, President of Pacific Charter School Development (PCSD), the developer for the high school. “Finding and developing each new educational facility always has its challenges, especially in this economic environment when it is even tougher to put together financing for new projects. Receiving an affordable loan from LIIF and the other CDFIs was essential for PCSD to provide a new campus for this school.”

CDFIs have also come under pressure as their traditional capital sources are pulling back even as emand for their services rises. Thanks to its recent Recovery Act award of $2 million from the CDFI Fund, LIIF was able to provide PCSD with financing to acquire the site. The $7 million loan, made in partnership with Clearinghouse CDFI and Local Initiatives Support Corporation, was finalized in August – just in time for Alliance to open the school yesterday.

“A good education equals earning power. It is a central to ensuring a good future for kids and is a key to unlocking poverty,” said Nancy O. Andrews, President and CEO of LIIF. “We are thrilled that we could work with PCSD, Clearinghouse CDFI and LISC to support Alliance in this project. That would not have been possible without the Recovery Act award LIIF received from the CDFI Fund. We appreciate that Director Gambrell has made it a priority to see the direct impact of the support that the CDFI Fund provides.”

Media Contacts:
• Samantha Hojo, Marketing and Communications Manager, Low Income Investment Fund, (415)772-9094, shojo@liifund.org
• Mary Forgione, Communications Coordinator, Alliance College-Ready Public Schools, (213) 943-4930 ext. 1026, mforgione@laalliance.org
• Jeffrey Graham, Chief Operating Officer, Pacific Charter School Development, 213-542-4705, jeffrey@pacificcharter.org