Program Overview & Objectives

The Community Economic Development Capacity Building Program is a subset of CDFA’s Tax Credit Program that focuses on strengthening organizations in New Hampshire committed to community economic development.  CDFA’s Tax Credit Program was established by New Hampshire RSA 162-L to:

  • Contribute to the development or redevelopment and economic wellbeing of target areas or target populations;
  • Improve the economic development of the state;
  • Increase or maintain threatened primary employment; or
  • Provide affordable housing opportunities to low and moderate income people.

CDFA also seeks to increase the overall number of community economic development projects and advance the capacity of organizations seeking to support community economic development throughout New Hampshire.

The program’s principal objective is to support organizations, communities, cooperatives, and nonprofits in building their capacity to advance community economic development and infrastructure projects that will support priority populations.

CDFA’s strategic vision calls for deploying capital in place-based strategies that support underserved populations, invest in underserved places, and fundamentally impact communities and strengthen local economies. CDFA capital is invested in both nonprofit organizations and cities and towns across the state. Our experience shows that for these investments to be successful, communities need several types of capacity – leadership, financial, grant writing and administrative expertise, project development and program planning – to support and sustain investments.

Capacity building can strengthen skills, abilities and processes that nonprofit organizations need to thrive, be resilient and sustainable. Capacity building support can help organizations successfully fulfill their mission and help to strengthen economy and community.

The priority areas of the Community Economic Development Capacity Building program are:

  • Supporting networks, coalitions, and collaboration among community economic development efforts to create meaningful impact and change for communities.
  • Organizations, projects or initiatives led by and/or directly benefiting priority populations.
  • Place-based strategies that support priority populations, revitalize community, and strengthen local economies.
  • Innovative models of governance, initiatives, or organizations where the innovation enhances the outcomes of community economic development.
  • Efforts to engage the community broadly and deeply for community priority setting; identification of community economic development assets; and place reinvestment and revitalization.

The following are definitions of key program terms and should be used to further clarify the program priorities.

Asset based community development Focuses on the assets of a community such as local community members, institutions, organizations and other community strengths to address issues and opportunities to improve the community.
Authorized Official The Authorized Official (AO) is the person who has authority to approve the submission of a grant application and legally enter into a contractual agreement on behalf of the organization or municipality.

The AO for a non-profit may be the Executive Director, Chief Executive Officer, a department head, Board officer, or another high-level team member. The AO for a municipality may be a town/city representative such as a town manager, town finance representative, Select Board, or someone who has been given such authority.

Capacity Building An investment in the effectiveness and future sustainability of a nonprofit. Capacity building activities improve the organization’s ability to meet the mission and may include leadership development; organizational effectiveness; financial oversight; fundraising and development capacity; strengthening governance; staff development; program development; pilot initiatives, program evaluation; diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives; communications, volunteer management.
Collaboration The process by which agencies, organizations, and businesses make formal, sustained commitments to work together to accomplish a shared vision.
Community Building (also called Placemaking) The process to create or strengthen community among individuals within a geographic area or place. The strengthening of community can lead to trust, collaboration, civic pride, investment, leadership and belonging.
Community Economic Development The effort to improve a specific place such as a town or neighborhood. There is an understanding that addressing and improving social issues and economic conditions are interrelated. Community members take an active role.
Community Engagement Bringing people into the process to shape the outcome. When the engagement prioritizes a variety of styles of engagement then underrepresented voices are more likely heard.
Community Progress Indicators (CPI) Data plays a pivotal role in our work. The Community Progress Indicators (CPIs) are a set of 13 metrics that assist in measuring socioeconomic well-being and community need at the municipal level in New Hampshire. These indicators were chosen through collaboration with the New Hampshire Fiscal Policy Institute and a fellow from the UNH Carsey School of Public Policy. The CPIs are grouped into three categories: Basic Human Needs, Access to Opportunity, and Community Sustainability and Vibrancy.

These metrics were chosen due to their level of statistical reliability, public accessibility, probability of continued collection, relevance to the three categories, as well as other factors. CPIs are publicly available on CDFA’s Resource Hub and provide towns, cities, and counties across the Granite State access to up-to-date data and information about their community’s needs, issues, strengths, and challenges. The data is updated annually and released in December each year.

Evaluation Program applicants are subjected to a substantial programmatic and financial review. Among other requirements, projects must provide a public benefit, be for a public purpose, and demonstrate that adequate funding was not otherwise available. Recommendations for funding will be based upon applicant’s goals, measurable objectives, activities, and needs. A project is considered on its own merits and as it compares to the other applicants in the funding round.
Faith-based nonprofit CDFA will apply the following principles when considering an application from eligible, faith-based nonprofit organizations:

·       Recipients may not discriminate against a project beneficiary on the basis of religion or religious belief.

·       Funds may not be used for explicitly religious activities (including activities that involve overt religious content such as worship, religious instruction, or proselytization). Such activities may be offered outside of activities that are supported with CDFA resources.

·       Participation in any explicitly religious activities must be voluntary.

Infrastructure Investments in infrastructure are those that provide resources to support the advancement of a project or initiative that addresses community economic development challenges or opportunities. Traditional infrastructure investments include building, renovating, and improving physical systems, spaces and places. Nontraditional infrastructure investments include creating new models, programs, or partnerships that improve internal or external practices or systems.
Municipality Any city, incorporated town or village, or county in New Hampshire.
Nonprofit A tax-exempt public charity that operates exclusively for public benefit under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Nonprofits must have up-to-date annual reports with the NH Secretary of State and Form 990 tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service. Qualifying nonprofits are those regulated by the Charitable Trusts Division of the NH Department of Justice, governed by volunteer boards with significant fiduciary obligations, and staffed by experienced professionals.
Priority Areas Places with a high need as outlined in the Community Progress Indicators which measure socioeconomic well-being and community need at the municipal level in New Hampshire, including Basic Human Needs, Access to Opportunity, and Community Sustainability and Vibrancy.
Priority Populations Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC); immigrants and refugees; women; people with disabilities; LGBTQ and gender non-conforming; rural; youth; unhoused residents; low- and moderate-income. Identified priority populations are based on the findings of the Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice in New Hampshire. Applicants may define additional priority populations with supporting data in their application.
Public Support The community has taken ownership of the proposed project and demonstrated the project will have support now and over the long term.

Grants awarded under this program are provided to organizations in the form of tax credit equity, typically over a two-year period.  Businesses with New Hampshire tax liability support awarded projects by purchasing the awardee’s credits, resulting in the nonprofit receiving a donation and the business receiving a 75 percent New Hampshire state tax credit for their contribution. The purchased credit can be applied against the Business Profits Tax, Business Enterprise Tax, or Insurance Premium Tax. The donation may also be eligible for consideration as a charitable contribution for state and federal tax purposes.

CDFA’s founding legislation and foundational guidance for the Tax Credit Program can be found in New Hampshire RSA 162-L.

We understand that raising tax credits can be challenging for organizations pursuing capacity building initiatives. CDFA will offer to raise up to 100% of that year’s tax credit equity on behalf of the recipient (only for the first year for those grantees receiving two years of credits). Applicants wishing to raise awarded tax credits on their own will have the opportunity to communicate this on the application.

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