Why Give to Finance Fund on Giving Tuesday


On Giving Tuesday, December 1st, we all have an opportunity to give generously to nonprofit organizations that are committed to achieving the greater good. In this season of giving and receiving gifts, it’s easy to focus on what’s material to represent our friendship, love and best wishes. We pour our financial resources and countless hours into selecting the right item for each person, and wrapping and transporting it, for the pleasure of seeing the gift opened and appreciated by someone special.






Giving a generous gift to someone you will never meet or to an important cause or concern requires a different kind of mindset. The rewards are not immediate and results are often intangible.

As you think about making a gift during the outpouring of opportunities coming your way on Giving Tuesday, I ask that you consider Finance Fund. We are a statewide nonprofit organization that moves capital into low-income communities to create needed assets that grow local economies.

Through the generous support of donors, foundations, and our work with investors and partners, we build resources, and carefully manage them to provide grants, low-interest loans and nontraditional financing to projects that provide important goods and services to underserved areas – grocery stores, child care centers, schools, health care centers, affordable housing, manufacturing and community facilities. These businesses and organizations offer area low-income residents good, entry-level jobs that can provide health care benefits, training and opportunities for advancement. These projects contribute to the tax base, improve property values and stimulate additional private investment in neighboring businesses. From a small start, communities begin to grow and eventually to thrive.

This is our vision for the future of Ohio’s disadvantaged rural and urban communities. It is our great privilege to have sprouted or expanded many community and economic development projects since Finance Fund was founded in 1987.  Please take a look at our Success Stories to see our work in action.

Children at Construction

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We invite you to be a part of our work by giving generously to Finance Fund on Giving Tuesday. You can use PayPal or our Philanthropy Ohio account with The Columbus Foundation.

Thank you for being a friend of Finance Fund and for making this day of giving last well into the future for so many Ohioans. Please get in touch with me at dturoff@financefund.org or contact Director of Development Valerie Heiby at vheiby@financfund.org with any questions. 


Finance Fund Gains Insights From Opportunity Finance Network Conference

Mark Barbash, EVP Strategic Initiatives

Mark Barbash, EVP Strategic Initiatives

This past week, a delegation of Finance Fund staff participated in the 2015 annual meeting of the Opportunity Finance Network, the premier association of Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI).

This year, more than 1,200 professionals from around the country met in downtown Detroit, a community that is showing remarkable signs of resilience coming out of the bankruptcy filing and recent recession.

Finance Fund participants included President Diana Turoff, EVP for Strategic Initiatives Mark Barbash, VP of Lending Tara Campbell, Director of Development Valerie Heiby, and Senior Manager of Development  Amber Seitz.

Throughout the week, we discussed issues of importance to helping citizens build strong neighborhoods and communities:

  • Annie Donovan, the new Director of the CDFI Fund, talked about “supporting the growth, reach and performance of CDFIs” along with need for better data, transparency, and linking future funding with past performance
  • A unique idea exchange, sponsored by the Kresge Foundation, provided insights about how CDFIs can be more responsive to the needs in their communities
  • Discussions with many of the nation’s leading funders and peer CDFIs enabled us to exchange ideas about raising flexible capital that can more effectively support small business development
  • A well-attended panel discussion on Healthy Food Financing Initiatives featured Finance Fund and three other practitioners who compared notes on how to effectively support bringing healthy food retail into underserved neighborhoods

Jefferson-Ave-Detroit-Home1One of the most interesting sessions featured a number of CDFIs that are participating in major initiatives to bring Detroit back from the recent recession. We learned about work being done to support housing, small business, community development and strong neighborhoods; and about major investments from funders like Wells-Fargo, the Kresge Foundation and JPMorgan Chase.

We returned to Ohio with a renewed sense of commitment and fresh insights into Finance Fund and FCAP’s statewide work.



Grateful for Our Inspired Leaders

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Finance Fund and FCAP are deeply grateful for the expertise and service of the many people who volunteer their time to provide us with community insights, business counsel and important connections to other economic development leaders and funding sources. Ninety percent of our Board members are drawn from the low-income communities we serve across the state. This gives us the kind of “frontline” perspective important to shaping our funding decisions.

I am so pleased to announce that D.R. Gossett is now serving as Chair, and Jerry Katz as Vice Chair, of the Boards of Directors for Finance Fund and FCAP. Randy Runyon, president and CEO of the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers, will serve as chair emeritus. It was our honor recently to provide Randy with special recognition for his ten years of Board service.

Board Vice Chair Jerry Katz and Chair D.R. Gossett

Board Vice Chair Jerry Katz and Chair D.R. Gossett

D.R. is executive director of the Ironton & Lawrence County Community Action Organization (CAO) which provides services ranging from early childhood education, family health care and nutrition, to emergency heating and cooling assistance, and housing and workforce development. He joined Finance Fund’s Board in 2009, and has served as Vice Chair. His career includes service as the Chief Financial Officer of the Ironton-Lawrence County CAO, and as Internal Auditor with the U.S. Department of Treasury. He also worked for a CPA firm after earning a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Berea College, Berea, KY. He received his CPA in August 1995.

Jerry is now retired from a banking career that spanned 40 years, including 31 years at Huntington National Bank, where he served as Vice President. Jerry is actively involved in the community and has served on Finance Fund’s Board of Directors for the past 25 years.  He has also supported and contributed to numerous organizations ranging from the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio to the Children’s Hospital Development Fund Drive. He currently serves on the Worthington Resource Pantry’s Board as Treasurer.

I invite you to follow this link for a complete list of Finance Fund and FCAP Board members. We continue to be led by those inspired by our mission to improve the quality of life for people.  If you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach me at dturoff@financefund.org.


Board members (front row from left): Board Vice Chair Jerry Katz, Chair Emeritus Randy Runyon, Chair D.R. Gossett, Carole Grimes (second row, from left): Phillip Smith, Ryan Miller, Ben Kenny, Greg Kiger (third row, from left): Finance Fund CEO James R. Klein, Mary Burke Rivers

Not pictured:  Vickie Eaton Johnson, Finance Fund President Diana Turoff

Finance Fund Accepts OEDA Best Project Award



Finance Fund President Diana Turoff and Geis Companies General Counsel Kevin Brokaw accept the OEDA Best Project Award

Finance Fund President Diana Turoff and Geis Companies General Counsel Kevin Brokaw accept the OEDA Best Project Award

“Finance Fund showed passion, commitment and leadership,” said Kevin Brokaw, director of development and general counsel for the Geis Companies.  “They put their investment in first and helped draw other investors to the project amounting to $25.5 million in New Markets Tax Credits.”

Brokaw addressed a packed house of economic development and business leaders at the 2015 Ohio Economic Development Association’s (OEDA) Annual Excellence Awards Program held in Columbus. Finance Fund joined the Geis Companies in accepting OEDA’s Best Project Award for “The 9” a $170 million mixed-use redevelopment project in downtown Cleveland.

The award recognizes an innovative project in economic and business development that retains or generates jobs and investment. A key criteria is to demonstrate a unique approach to the project, which can include public-private partnership, local collaboration, innovative financing and/or incentives.

It was Finance Fund’s privilege to provide $7 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing to the Geis Companies to help the project developer close the gap in funding needed to acquire and renovate two of the three buildings in the project. Financing partners included the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio and multiple banks as well as community development entities that provided federal and state New Markets Tax Credits. In addition to housing, retail and office space, the project brought a much-needed Heinen’s grocery store to the downtown neighborhood which lacked access to healthy food.

We  sincerely appreciate the opportunity to work with the Geis Companies on such a catalytic economic development project. Congratulations to all the OEDA award finalists and winners.


Finance Fund Awarded $4 Million in Ohio New Markets Tax Credits

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Finance Fund has been awarded $4 million in Ohio New Markets Tax Credit (ONMTC) allocation out of the total of $10 million available to Community Development Entities across the state. It is significant that the Ohio Development Services Agency has provided such a large award in recognition of Finance Fund’s demonstrated strength in meeting the goals of the ONMTC program.  

This is the sixth round of ONMTC  allocation authority that Finance Fund has received totaling $14 million. It is a welcome addition to the $55 million in federal NMTC allocation that Finance Fund was awarded earlier this year, bringing our total federal NMTC allocation to $295 million since 2004.

The ONMTC allocation will be applied, in combination with federal NMTCs, to attract private equity investment in impactful and catalytic economic revitalization projects.  NMTC projects are located in communities in severe economic distress with unemployment rates that exceed the national average.  Without these credits, many of these projects would not be possible.

The NMTC program is a unique and effective tool that fuels construction of new community facilities, businesses and commercial real estate projects that serve as economic catalysts to generate jobs and bring needed goods and services to the area. RotundaStreetView

I invite you to read a few of our case studies that highlight the NMTC in action:

If you have questions or would like to discuss a potential NMTC project, would you please get in touch with me at dturoff@financefund.org
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Pint-Sized Helpers Break Ground for New Childhood League Center Building


2015-09-24 12 22 12Dirt flew in all directions last week as excited preschoolers wearing pint-sized hard hats wielded miniature shovels to help break ground for The Childhood League Center’s (CLC) new building.

The event launched construction of a new, LEED-certified 41,000 sq. ft. modern and accessible CLC facility at the Fort Hayes Metropolitan Education Campus near downtown Columbus. It is expected to open for the 2016-17 school year, nearly doubling both the space of the current location and the number of children CLC can serve.

CLC is a licensed early childhood intervention program. For 70 years, the Center has provided educational and therapeutic services essential for at-risk, developmentally delayed and special needs children under age six. Without services, these children are at greatest risk of being left behind academically once they enter public or private school.

Finance Fund provided nearly $10.6 million in federal and state New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) financing to the project which is located in a qualified high-distress, low-income census tract with a poverty rate of 40%. The project will create 72 construction jobs, retain 49 current staff positions and add 18 new jobs. Capital One, the investor, provided an additional $2 million in federal NMTC allocation to the project.

CLC LogoCLC partners with all 16 Columbus City School Districts to meet the growing demand for services for at-risk and special needs children. Among the children served by the Center, 90% have been diagnosed with developmental delays related to a medical condition such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome or alcohol and drug exposure. Nearly half were born prematurely. About two-thirds of CLC students live in poverty.

In the first three years of operation in the new school, CLC anticipates a 57% increase in the number of special needs students served. Currently, nearly 450 children participate in the program each year. The Center also promotes positive parenting skills as well as healthy nutrition and physical health.

Finance Fund’s investment enables the new Childhood League Center to prepare children to reach their full potential. By the time they enter kindergarten, 65% of children who received services from the Center will no longer qualify for specialized services, according to CLC.

If you have questions or would like further information about this project or the NTMC program, please contact me at dturoff@financefund.org.

ShovelsChildren at Construction

Finance Fund CFO Matt Frank, President Diana Turoff and General Counsel Andrew Swary

(L to R) Finance Fund CFO Matt Frank, President Diana Turoff and EVP, General Counsel Andrew Swary

“Miracle on the South Side” Opens Today

Kimberly Scher, SVP Communications

Kimberly Scher, SVP Communications

On this picture perfect day, the Reeb Avenue Center officially opened on the south side of Columbus before a delighted crowd of community and elected leaders, social service and job training representatives, and contributors.

U.S. Senator Robert Portman, Ohio Lt. Governor Mary Taylor and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman took the podium to celebrate the rebirth of the 111-year-old former elementary school building at 280 Reeb Avenue.

This “Miracle on the South Side” will now provide community residents with job training, child care and education, housing assistance, after school and summer programs, family and personal counseling, addiction recovery, a fresh food market and café.

“We need to rebuild our families as the basis for rebuilding our communities,” said Senator Portman, who played a critical role in securing $500,000 in HUD funding for the project. He IMG_1542-e1443208708825quoted comments made by Pope Francis during yesterday’s address at a House Chamber event: “Young people are caught up too often in a maze of violence and despair.” The Senator added that our challenge is to help people see that they are part of the American dream – that they can get back on their feet and have the dignity and respect that comes with a job. “We are the country of opportunity, the country of hope,” he said quoting the Pope.

Lt. Governor Taylor said, “This Center will in fact save lives. It represents the power of community involvement. It will strengthen and help so many people achieve their American dream.”

One of the many highlights of the opening ceremony was an original song “Hub of Hope” written by Christina Grote and performed by Franklin County Court of Common Pleas Judge Kimberly Cocroft and Tom Crouse. The song was inspired by the Mayor’s despair at the closing of the South Side Settlement House in 2011 and the sight of a father and son walking through the neighborhood with a grocery cart filled with hub caps and pop cans for sale.

Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman

Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman

Mayor Coleman said, “I believe in the power of God and in miracles. This miracle on the south side exists thanks to the support of many people and organizations. Everyone came together in a holistic partnership.” He recognized the leadership of fundraising co-chairs Tanny Crane and Jane Grote-Abell who raised more than $12.5 million in capital campaign contributions.

Children from the South Side Learning & Development Center joined the dignitaries at the podium. As the children held up letters that spelled out “thank you,” the Center’s Board President Mary Cusick noted, “Our school is a place where children can feel secure and happy. The return here is equality of education.”

Finance Fund Awarded OEDA “Best Project” for The 9



Finance Fund CEO Matt Frank

Finance Fund CFO Matt Frank

Finance Fund has good news to share.  Our project entry “The 9” won first place in the Best Project category of the Ohio Economic Development Association’s (OEDA) 2015 Annual Excellence Awards Program.

The Best Project Award honors an innovative project in economic and business development that retains or generates jobs and investment. A key criteria is to demonstrate a unique approach to the project, which can include public-private partnership, local collaboration, innovative financing and/or incentives. 

The 9 is a massive, mixed-use redevelopment project that is leading the economic revitalization of downtown Cleveland and becoming a major economic catalyst in the area following decades of vacancy and demolition threats amid urban decay. The $170 million transformation of the approximately 750,000 sq. ft. project includes the historic former AmeriTrust tower, Cleveland Trust rotunda (Rotunda) and adjoining 1010 Euclid building (1010 Building). The complex includes a mix of subsidized and upscale apartments, a luxury hotel and offices.

Finance Fund provided $7 million in New Markets Tax Credit financing to The Geis Companies to acquire and renovate the Rotunda and 1010 Building located at the intersection of East 9th Street and Euclid Avenue. The site includes 90 apartments, 40 of which offer subsidized rents and are aimed at restaurant, grocery and hotel workers and other low-to-moderate income residents.

The 9 resulted from a highly complex financing deal that required the collaborative efforts of public and private funding partners united by a common vision. Funding sources included the City of Cleveland, State of Ohio and multiple banks as well as multiple community development entities (CDEs) that provided federal and state New Markets Tax Credits. The development also includes property tax abatement, tax increment financing, and federal and state Historic Tax Credits. _DSC7068-3

Central to the success of the overall project is a full-service Heinen’s grocery store, owned by a local grocery chain based in Warrensville Heights. The new grocery store provides fresh food to an underserved area and is driving increased rents, greater pedestrian traffic, and entry-level employment for nearly 100 workers.

The hotel and offices opened in the fall 2014 and the grocery opened in February 2015.

Finance Fund will accept the award during the OEDA’s 2015 Annual Summit to be held October 20-23 in Columbus.

CDFI Fund Awards FCAP $3 Million for Ohio Healthy Food and Small Business Expansion

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Diana Turoff, Finance Fund President

Finance Fund Capital Corporation (FCAP) was recently awarded a total of $3 million from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund). Nationwide, the CDFI Program awarded $202 million in grants and loans to 195 Community Development Financial Institutions.

This is great news for Ohio as this funding expands FCAP’s capacity to provide needed capital and credit to economically distressed communities that lack access to affordable financing. The award includes $1 million in Financial Assistance that will be used for small business lending, and $2 million in funding from the CDFI Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI). The HFFI funding enables FCAP to expand its statewide healthy food-focused financing activities to help meet the unique needs of healthy food projects operating in economically underserved communities. FCAP, a certified CDFI affiliate of Finance Fund, is one of 11 CDFIs nationwide to receive an HFFI award.

The CDFI Fund is a program within the U.S. Treasury Department that offers funding opportunities, technical assistance, awards and CDFI FUnd Logoresources to community based organizations that promote economic revitalization in low-income areas nationwide.

Improving access to healthy, affordable food in underserved areas is a priority for FCAP. We’ve worked alongside The Food Trust and the statewide Ohio Healthy Food Financing Task Force to identify and quantify the need for increased access to healthy affordable food, frame public policy, rally a strong and diverse statewide coalition, and engage legislators to take action. Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the FY 2016-17 operating budget that includes a $2 million provision of state seed capital to create a Healthy Food Financing Initiative. 

FCAP provides flexible financing options for nonprofit and for-profit clients on projects that build assets, create jobs and provide access to needed goods and services. Products include the US Small Business Administration Community Advantage Fund, the Small Business Loan Fund, the Healthy Food Loan Fund and the Community Health Loan Fund. Since 2006, FCAP has leveraged $44.3 million on an investment of $18.4 million.

You can learn more about our work to improve access to healthier food for a healthier Ohio by visiting our website, or contacting me at dturoff@financefund.org

Small Business Financing Headlines Recent Conference Agendas



Mark Barbash, EVP Strategic Initiatives

Mark Barbash, EVP Strategic Initiatives

At two recent conferences, Finance Fund joined other Ohio economic and community development finance champions to discuss ways to enhance access to existing small business lending programs, and improve the effectiveness of economic development incentive programs such as the New Market Tax Credit (NMTC).

The Council of Development Finance Agencies’ (CDFA) annual “Ohio Financing Roundtable” gathered finance professionals from around the state to share the “latest and greatest” ideas in community development. Included in the discussion was a unique “Let’s Make a Deal” session where community representatives presented their development projects. In addition, participants discussed the future of the NMTC program. As one of only five groups in the state to get a NMTC allocation this year, Finance Fund was active in the conversation about ways to make the case for the effectiveness of the program and the need to make it a permanent part of the IRS code.

Streetscape2Finance Fund was also front and center at Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman’s 13th Momentum II annual Small and Minority Business Conference which hosted more than 400 small businesses from around Central Ohio to network and learn ways to help their businesses start or grow.

Finance Fund Vice President of Lending Tara Campbell participated with a group of small business lenders who answered tough questions about what it takes to get a small business loan. Other panelists included Eric Diamond from ECDI, Laura Frum from Community Capital Development Corporation, Stan Uchida from Park National Bank, and Nancy Crooks from Huntington Bank. I moderated the lively discussion, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Financing: But were afraid to ask.”

Important recommendations included:

  • There are a number of small business loan programs that can assist when a bank feels that a loan is too risky. Included in these are Finance Fund’s SBA Community Advantage loan program.
  • The most important thing to do before applying for a loan is to have a business plan. Know where you want your business to be now and in five years, and how you’re going to get there.
  • How you handle your personal credit is important to how a lender evaluates a business loan. While there are ways to solve credit problems to improve the chances of getting a loan, honesty and a willingness to make changes are critical.
  • Being a small business owner takes patience and commitment.

Tara and I would be happy to assist with small business finance or economic development questions. You can reach Tara at tcampbell@financefund.org or me at markbarbash@financefund.org.

Contact Us

P: 614.221.1114 | 800.959.2333
E: info@financefund.org
A: Finance Fund
175 South Third Street, Suite 1200
Columbus, Ohio 43215

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