ANNUAL REPORT 2021 FULFILLING OUR MISSION OF REMOVING REAL ESTATE AS A BARRIER TO AN EXCELLENT EDUCATION
For the past 20 years, Civic Builders has worked to remove facilities as a barrier to the growth of high-performing charter schools. We have partnered with school leaders nationwide to manage the creation of their facilities from idea to reality. We are proud to work with visionary charter schools and to continue to adapt alongside them, providing an excellent education to every student no matter the circumstance.
This included prioritized communication with families, attentiveness to student and teacher needs, and widely distributed resources. With a majority of schools returning to in-person education, the need for learning spaces that prioritize the health and safety of students is more important than ever. Across the country, leaders are rethinking what a school facility looks like and how it will meet the growing needs of students and communities. Yet despite their strong overall academic performance and influx in student enrollment, charter schools typically lack access to many of the financial and development support options available to traditional public schools for developing a highquality facility.
The past few years have introduced unprecedented challenges to the public education system. An urgent need to quickly adapt during the pandemic caused many traditional public schools, whose policies and infrastructure were not set up for rapid resiliency, to struggle.
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Another report from the Center for Research on Education Outcomes (CREDO) found that charter schools “demonstrated resilience and creativity in responding to the physical and social challenges presented by COVID.”
Yet because of their innovation and flexibility, charter schools rose to the occasion, leading many families to enroll their children in these excellent educational options.
In this report, you will learn about our impact through statistics, milestones, and the stories of the schools we partner with. As we continue to offer innovative financing solutions and turnkey developments, we are grateful for the dedication of our staff, the generosity of our donors, and of course, the resiliency of our partner schools for enabling our journey of mission-driven work to continue. CHAIR THE
A MESSAGE FROM THE CEO &
According to a recent report from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, charter school enrollment grew 7% during the 2020-21 school year, the largest increase in five years.
BRAHMBoardCRAMERChair IN THIS REPORT DAVIDCo-FounderUMANSKY YorkNewBuffalo,Science,ofAcademyBuffaloPhoto: Civic Services and Impact04 Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Racial Justice Commitment 22 Charter Facilities Lending12 Connecting with Our Community24 Technical Support for Early Stage Development 18 Financial Review26 Civic Schools’ Path to Ownership20
For 20 years, Civic Builders has been focused on working to ensure that all children have access to an excellent public education. Since our founding in 2002, our commitment has always been to communities where the need is the greatest: neighborhoods which have historically not been well-served by traditional district schools.
• We unlock public financial resources for charter schools by accessing lowcost capital through products like the New Markets Tax Credit and U.S. DOE Credit Enhancement programs.
• We act as project management or owner’s representation on thirdparty developer projects to ensure timely and affordable completion of school buildings.
• We design and steward innovative loan products like the $300 million Facilities Investment Fund (FIF), providing 5-year fixed-rate loans for new construction, acquisition and facility renovation.
REAL DEVELOPMENTESTATE ASSISTANCE
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• We provide schools with a path to school building ownership through our affordable, cost-based purchase option.
• We work with each school to create a comprehensive plan to meet their vision, mission, academic goals, financial resources, and project objectives.
Our team’s extensive expertise in both real estate and lending enables us to provide support to the charter schools we partner with through three crucial categories:
• We develop charter school facilities from start to finish; from site identification, financing, and development through construction and school occupancy; all on time and on budget.
06 07CIVIC BUILDERS ANNUAL REPORT 2021 IMPACT IN NUMBERS 33 2 2 2 2 2 2 2 3 3 3 3 33 1 1 1 1 1 1 11 1 1 1 10 School facilities nationwide constructed or renovated 4,690 More students accessing a high-quality education every year $121 mil Invested in schools 703,000 Square feet constructed CIVIC ACROSSPARTNERBUILDERSSCHOOLSTHECOUNTRY
Since our start in 2002, we have partnered with 70 high-performing schools, delivered more than $1.3 billion in financial support, and created over 37,000 school seats for communities in need.
YorkNewBronx,Classical,BronxSouthPhoto: DOES A CIVIC SCHOOLBUILDERSLOOKLIKE?
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Civic Builders partners with charter schools in high-need communities to create educational spaces intentionally designed to prepare students for success within and beyond the classroom.
Science LabsSurrounding Land with Walking Trails & Tree up-to-dateClassroomsHouseswithTechnology Art & Kiln RoomsMaker Spaces Natural Light Libraries Mindfulness Rooms Dance Studios Community Spaces
11ANNUAL REPORT10 CIVIC BUILDERS A space where our vision can actually play out and live. Committed to diverse partnerships, Civic Builders and Achievement First have together set a target to award 30% of the $23.5MM project contracts to organizations led by women and people of color. A building that will not only impact our kids and families generationally but will impact our neighborhood as well. JOELLE FORMATO Founder and Head of School of Persistence Preparatory Academy XANTHE JORY COO of Achievement First KYLE SMITLEY Founder of Detroit Achievement Academy OUR SCHOOLS ARE: CIVIC BUILDERS SCHOOLS: Provide a free or reduced lunch to 78.5% of students 93% of Civic Builders students are students of color Have a high school graduation rate of 94% in NYC 20 points higher than the sending districts YorkNewYork,NewAcademies,ScholarsHarlemEastPhoto: YorkNewBronx,Classical,BronxSouthPhoto:
In 2021, we supported five schools with $50.7 million in funding through the Facilities Investment Fund, adding 2,633 seats for students and constructing more than 41,000 square feet of modern facilities for them to learn in. Since the fund’s inception in 2018, we have invested more than $176.4 million in 22 schools, creating nearly 11,000 seats for their communities and constructing more than 1.2 million square feet of school space.
a high percentage of students eligible for free or reduced lunch.
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Throughout 2021, we continued to provide support to schools through the Facilities Investment Fund, a $300 million loan fund from the Walton Family Foundation, Civic Builders, and PNC Bank that provides a leading affordable financing option for high-performing public charter schools nationwide. These five-year loans support the construction, acquisition and renovation of school facilities with low, fixed interest rates and sizes of up to $25 million. The fund prioritizes investing in schools led by leaders of color and schools with
1.2 Million Sq. ConstructedFt.
Serving 270 elementary school students, Persistence Preparatory Academy prioritizes community partnership and empowering the families it serves to be more involved in their child’s educational process. In need of a larger space, Persistence Prep purchased its own building, but the space was in need of substantial renovations. The school connected with the Facilities Investment Fund and received a $7.6 million FIF loan to create a new, modernized facility.
JOELLE FORMATO Founder of and Head of School at Persistency Preparatory Academy in Buffalo, New York
14 15CIVIC BUILDERS ANNUAL REPORT PROGRAM BY THE NUMBERS $176.4 InvestedMillion 10,900 StudentsServed 22 SupportedSchools
Buffalo has no facility financing options for charter schools so we’re completely on our own. Finding the right partner who understands specifically younger charter schools was a huge win for us.
The new building has had a transformative impact on its community: it features a mindfulness room, a dance studio, a library, and larger classrooms with updated technology. The 22 classrooms will also allow Persistence Prep to grow its student enrollment to 490, nearly doubling the number of students it can serve.
KEVIN SVED Chief Executive Officer, Navigator Schools in Watsonville, Los Angeles
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We knew the NMTC delivery would be optimal for us given our challenges with affording the construction and it was difficult to find organizations that had that allocation. Working with Civic was a very smooth and professional process.
PROGRAM BY THE NUMBERS $173 InvestedMillion 9,611 StudentsServed 17 SupportedSchools
The Civic Builders team worked with two exceptional schools through the New Markets Tax Credit program, completing the deployment of Civic Builders’ 2020 award from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. In 2021, we invested $16 million in two schools: SEED Los Angeles and Navigator Watsonville.
New Markets Tax Credit Loan, enabling the school to transform the new space. The new building includes a dedicated library space, an assembly room, a play space with climbing walls, and an abundance of natural light. Most significantly, the building’s 19 classrooms allow for 565 seats, 265 more than the school’s previous space. This enables Navigator to grow significantly and alleviates the challenges of managing two separate sites.
Navigator prioritizes small group learning for its students and professional development for its staff. As Navigator’s student population soon outgrew its original shared space, the school had to split up between two sites one mile apart, which created a strain on both the administration and students. In urgent need of a larger space, Navigator signed a lease for a section of a building that had been vacant for over a decade and needed renovations. Navigator connected with Civic Builders, through which the school received a $6 million These investments opened seats for 965 Sincestudents.our participation in the New Markets Tax Credit program in 2013, Civic Builders has supported the construction or renovation of 17 schools with $173 million deployed, creating 9,611 new seats for students.
NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT PROGRAM
MichiganDetroit,Academy,AchievementDetroitPhoto: 1.25 Million Sq. ConstructedFt.
outgrew its space quickly, having to split students between two separate sites, which felt isolating for a portion of students and staff. After an extensive search for a partner ground-up construction, and projects within mixed-use developments. The team also provided pro-bono, technical assistance to schools throughout the Northeast as they navigated school reopenings and COVID-related building issues. to help them find a new facility, Comp Sci High connected with Civic and immediately knew it was an ideal match. Civic provided guidance on every stage of the pre-development process from identifying the space to hiring the right architects. These early steps of the project are often a barrier for charter school leaders - requiring financial resources and real estate expertise. As a mission-aligned partner, Civic helps early school building dreams become realities. The new building, which will open in summer 2024, will allow Comp Sci to operate on one united site and will further enable the school to execute on its mission to serve as many students and members of the community as possible.
With Civic Builders very early on, we were true partners. Civic is there to support schools - they understand their needs. From the very beginning, it felt like Civic was on our side.
The vision of Comp Sci High has always been to combine the fundamental components of a typical charter school with a career-oriented curriculum, giving students the tools they need to support not only themselves but their families and their community. Located in the South Bronx, the school seeks to provide its students with learning opportunities they would not otherwise have, including resume preparation and mock Compinterviews.SciHigh
ANGEL MORALES Chair of the Board of Comp Sci High in the Bronx, New York
PROGRAM BY THE NUMBERS $765.3 InvestedMillion 14,011 StudentSeats 30 1.4 SupportedSchools Million Sq. ConstructedFt.
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Throughout 2021, Civic Builders partnered with five schools through Owner’s Representative and Turnkey Development services. These schools are all located in New York City: in the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Upper Manhattan and include standalone renovations,
In 2021, Civic Builders supported two schools through this purchase option: Great Oaks Legacy High School and Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School School. Great Oaks was able to purchase its facility for $3.12 million below construction costs and Blackstone Valley Prep was able to purchase its facility for $2.45 million below construction cost. This is a significant benefit that drives down each respective school’s occupancy costs post-acquisition. One of these three schools includes Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School, which was renovated from a former religious facility and features bright classrooms and intentionally designed space. In 2021, BVP exercised their purchase option, meaning that the school was able to buy the building significantly below the cost of development. This opportunity enabled BVP to secure the long-term certainty and financial flexibility needed to invest more into operational support for students.
Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) is an intentionally diverse public charter school with the mission to prepare every scholar for success in college and the world beyond. The school began in a local church building and became aware from an early stage of the real estate challenges surrounding growth. In need of a partner whose expertise in real estate would address this challenge, BVP connected with Civic Builders. Through this partnership, BVP has been able to finance, construct and renovate three separate school buildings, serving more than 1,000 students in total.
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ACHIEVING FINANCIAL STABILITY THROUGH SCHOOL OWNERSHIP
As opposed to many for-profit charter school developers, Civic Builders provides our charter school partners with the opportunity to purchase their property at a price well below the cost of development, allowing the school to save significantly on long-term rental costs. Most for-profit developers charge above development costs, while Civic’s mission-aligned approach sells the building to schools at an affordable price. These dollars are then available to reinvest into the classroom, which is the ultimate goal of school leaders and of Civic.
CEO and Superintendent of Blackstone Valley Prep in Cumberland, Rhode Island
Civic Builders is not a vendor, they’re a partner. When there have been questions from our side, Civic has been quick and eager to respond. They have been incredibly thoughtful and responsive as we have navigated various challenges. You know when you’re working with a partner with shared values, you’re ultimately set up for succeeding.
Total Project Cost: $9.2M Total Project Cost: $7.4M Purchase Price: $6.1M Purchase Price: $4.9M Savings: $3.12M Savings: $2.45M
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DIVERSITY, EQUITY, INCLUSION AND RACIAL COMMITMENTJUSTICE
Civic Builders believes that every child deserves access to a high-quality education and a beautiful place to learn. Unfortunately, our country falls short in fulfilling this promise, especially in communities where the need is greatest. To attack this problem, Civic partners with the country’s best educators to provide schools that change lives and revitalize communities. Specifically, we strive to ensure that facilities are not a barrier to providing children with the experiences and opportunities they deserve. Because we support schools that serve lowincome communities and communities of color and operate in sectors that have historically upheld racist and exclusionary practices, we have a particular responsibility to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice in all that we do within our organization and in our work with partners and Ourschools.commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice is core to all that we do and does not have an endpoint. We know this work can be difficult, but we apply sustained effort in our individual roles and collective actions. We go beyond intention and measure our progress to ensure we are having a positive impact. We hold ourselves and each other accountable, take responsibility when we fall short, and implement corrective actions when Clicknecessary.Here to Read our Full Commitment on our Website
In summer 2021, we launched our Education Finance Analyst Program, a collaborative effort with the Equitable Facilities Fund to recruit and train early-stage professionals to succeed in mission-driven financial services roles. In the first cohort round, we received over 400 applications resulting in the
DAY IN THE SCHOLARSHIPLIFEFUND
An alumna of New Heights Academy, a Civic Builders partner school, Sierra
We celebrated the eighth year of our Day in the Life Scholarship program, which provides selected students with a grant for college expenses, supporting their growth and success beyond their high school graduation and into adult life. In 2021, five high school seniors each received scholarships to put toward their college expenses. Since launching the program, we have provided 35 students with $155,000 in college scholarships.
placement of three full-time Analysts, all of whom identify as people of color. Through the EFA program, Joy Kalua was hired upon graduating college for a two-year position as a Financial Analyst at Civic Builders. The position includes training on accounting, charter school financing, and other topics essential for success in the mission-driven financial service sector. The program was piloted in 2021 and will recruit its next cohort of fellows in Fall 2022.
I have been able to hone and expand on so many skills through this program. It has always felt like a welcoming environment that has fostered my growth. When I found out I had been selected, I was so excited because I knew my hard work had been noticed. I’m so grateful for this scholarship and it has meant so much.
Alumna of New Heights Academy
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JOY KALUA had always known she wanted to make a difference in the world and that her education would enable her to do that. As one of five students to receive a 2021 Day in the Life Scholarship from Civic Builders, Sierra is currently a freshman at Howard University and pursuing a future as an emergency medicine physician. For Sierra, the scholarship meant funding for her college tuition, but also invaluable validation for all of her efforts throughout high school.
27ANNUAL REPORT26 CIVIC BUILDERS FINANCIALSAGGREGATEBALANCESHEET 202120202019 TOTAL ASSETS TOTAL LIABILITIES & NET ASSETS UNRESTRICTED CASH $ 12,749,185 $$$$15,466,0935,735,708$4,452,14471,298,22087,590,783$43,224,277$ 120,258,205 $ 120,258,205 $ 11,624,010 $$$16,457,7063,419,7413,221,708 $ 98,643,661 $ 114,415,956 $ 43,655,978 $ 145,719,380 $ 145,719,380 $ 18,037,122 $$25,690,778$2,126,87615,811,362 $$$112,903,057111,183,24455,692,573$ 170,722,506 $ 170,722,506 RESTRICTED CASH CURRENT FIXEDRECEIVABLESLIABILITIESLONG-TERMLIABILITIESASSETSNETASSETS BOARD OF DIRECTORS NEW MARKETS TAX CREDIT ADVISORY BOARD David Umansky Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder Brahm Cramer Board Chairperson David Loo Board Vice-Chair, Treasurer Eben Ellertson Board Secretary Richard Berlin Eben Ellertson Yetta Lewis Scott Pearson Joanna Cannon Katia MarkJamesIzyumovaMerrimanVanBruntKharyBarnesRonBeitSimoneBrodyGengerCharlesKeithRandBrianReichJ.DavidSweenyVipulTandon
Photography by: Matthew Digati, Paul Rivera, Albert Vecerka, Edward Caruso by: Second Marriage Studio
Civic Builders, Inc. 180 Varick Street, Suite 1414 New York, NY 212-571-726010014 www.civicbuilders.org