February 2021 Loan Round-up February 28, 2021

In February, IFF closed six loans totaling $10,914,000 for community-driven projects in the Midwest. We’ve included below a roundup with information about several of the organizations that received the loans and what they’re doing with the capital. To learn more about IFF’s lending, visit our Capital Solutions page.

Commongrounds Cooperative

Traverse City, Michigan’s Commongrounds Cooperative is a four-story, mixed-use cooperative (architectural rendering featured above), which is owned by over 650 community members and tenants. With a goal to foster community, the cooperative will house various local nonprofits and organizations within the arts, food, and health sectors. Additionally, the facility will include an early childhood education center, creating up to 40 spots for children in this high-need area, as well as over 15 affordable housing units. Upon an unexpected funding gap, IFF provided a $1.5 million loan to Commongrounds to support the construction of the project. IFF’s loan to Commongrounds was supported by an investment made to IFF by the Rotary Charities of Traverse City. Read more about the project in our story, “Commongrounds Cooperative Puts Community First in Traverse City.”

Elgin Math and Science Academy

IFF closed a $7.2 million loan for the Elgin Math and Science Academy Charter School (located in Elgin, IL) which is being used to refinance a previous predevelopment loan; facilitate the gut rehab of a vacant 22,100-square-foot gymnasium at a school facility to add middle school classrooms, a kitchen, a cafeteria/multi-purpose space, an improved gymnasium, new bathrooms, break-out and meeting spaces, and administrative offices; create warm, safe and dry conditions in its three other historic campus buildings, including limited demolition, environmental remediation, roof repair/replacements, and mechanical ventilation, thus securing an additional 30,000 square feet for future instructional use. Once completed the project will provide adequate space for all 468 of EMSA’s anticipated K-8 students and all of its anticipated 70 employees/jobs.

Family Christian Health Center

Family Christian Health Center, a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) located in Chicago’s south suburbs, received a $3.5 million loan to refinance all of the organization’s long-term debt, with the exception of debt associated with New Markets Tax Credits. The loan strengthened the organization’s capital structure and reduced its average cost of capital, providing it with more flexibility during the pandemic. Family Christian Health Center provides care to 18,000+ patients annually and is designed to provide holistic care to medically underserved individuals and families that addresses physical, spiritual, emotional, psychological, and financial health.


RefugeeOne, the largest refugee assistance agency in Chicago serving over 2,000 refugees a year, received a $2.9 million loan from IFF to facilitate the acquisition of a new site in Chicago’s West Ridge community. The scope of the project later expanded to include demolishing the newly acquired building and constructing a brand new permanent home for RefugeeOne on site. IFF increased our loan amount to $4.1 million in 2021 to help cover the updated project costs.

Walnut Way Conservation Corp.

IFF provided Walnut Way Conservation Corp. (Milwaukee, WI) with a loan of $284,000 so that the nonprofit could acquire a facility to house its social enterprise, Blue Skies Landscaping Company, as well as equipment needed to scale the operation. The turnkey commercial property consists of a two-story building with office space, storage, and a work area; a six-bay garage for an on-site mechanical/repair shop; and an additional standalone garage for storage. Blue Skies provides Walnut Way with an important source of revenue, while also beautifying the community, emphasizing eco-friendly practices, and offering a job training and re-entry program for individuals who face employment barriers. Read more about the project in our story, “A New Facility in Milwaukee Has Eco-Friendly Blue Skies Landscaping Seeing Green.”

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