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2015 and 2016 have been transformative years for the NC Community Development Initiative. We’ve entered into a strategic collaborative with the North Carolina Housing Coalition, provided community development expertise and capital for a variety of innovative community development projects across North Carolina, and created a comprehensive policy agenda that will shape the policy and advocacy component of our work for years to come. Through this work we continue to carry out our mission of creating just, prosperous, and sustainable communities across the state.
We’re excited for what the future holds!
On behalf of the board and staff, thank you.

 — Tara Kenchen, President and CEO

The Collaborative:
The Initiative and The NC Housing Coalition

In recognition of the deep connection between affordable housing and community economic development, in late 2015 the Initiative formed a strategic collaborative with the North Carolina Housing Coalition, a statewide nonprofit committed to expanding access to affordable housing and housing-related services. Through this partnership the Housing Coalition, the Initiative, and Initiative Capital, the Initiative’s lending arm, are working to build strong communities and  support strong families. With our joint focus on policy and advocacy, strategic investment, and sector leadership, we have dramatically enhanced our capacity to transform underserved communities throughout the state. Click here for more information about the Collaborative »

Smart Policy

Integrated Policy and Advocacy Agenda

In the past year the expanded resources of the Collaborative provided critical support and technical assistance for local and regional advocacy efforts.

  • Secured a $5 million increase in funding for Workforce Housing Loan Program in 2016 NC General Assembly short session.
  • Developed an affordable housing plan for Greensboro.
  • Provided multi-faceted technical assistance and consulting to pass affordable housing bonds in Asheville, Greensboro, and Orange County, and a housing and transit bond in Wake County. Collectively, these bonds will provide more than $60 million to finance affordable housing development, rehabilitation and preservation.
  • Crafted a joint policy agenda for the 2017 long session of the NC General Assembly after conducting listening sessions across the state.
Strategic Investment

Innovative Financing for Greater Impact

Leveraging the resources and expertise of our lending arm, Initiative Capital, the Collaborative delivered financing for a number of unique community development projects in 2015-2016. Highlights include The Scrap Exchange in Durham and Goler CDC in Winston-Salem.

  • The Scrap Exchange: An Innovative Partnership for Community Transformation
    Initiative Capital provided The Scrap Exchange, a community-based reuse arts center, with a $2.5 million bridge loan to acquire 80,000 square feet of the north end of the Shoppes at Lakewood shopping center in Durham.  This multi-pronged project will create jobs, increase affordable housing, and transform the former strip mall into an environmentally friendly creative reuse arts district that fosters community unity.
  • Bridge Financing to Laurel Street Residential Critical to Completion of Affordable Housing Development in Winston Salem
    Initiative Capital provided regional affordable housing developer Laurel Street Residential with a bridge loan that allowed Laurel Street to cover predevelopment costs for 757 North, a mixed-income housing development located in downtown Winston Salem and created in partnership with Goler Community Development Corporation. The complex will provide 115 units of housing, 25% of which will be reserved for low-income individuals and families.

Investing for Change

In addition to projects finalized in 2016, the Collaborative has been developing new financing products and partnerships that will debut in 2017, including our new working capital loan program with our longtime partners at The Institute.

  • Diverse Business Working Capital Loan Program: A Partnership with The Institute
    Initiative Capital is working with The Institute (formerly The North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development) to develop a product that will foster growth, employment, and wealth building in the construction and building trades throughout North Carolina. Through this program, set to debut in early 2017, Initiative Capital will provide loans that will offer “cash flow bridges”, allowing women and minority owned businesses to access the capital necessary to take advantage of the contracting projects offered by public sector and larger institutions across the state.
  • Strengthening Rural NC Through Community Facilities Financing
    Initiative Capital has been selected for a $1 million grant from Uplift America, a coalition of funders led by the Mary Reynolds Babcock Foundation.This grant, coupled with a $5 million line of credit from the USDA Community Facilities relending program, will ensure that Initiative Capital will play a key role in rebuilding small rural communities in the coming years.
Sector Leadership

Financing, Cultivating, Providing Sector Leadership

  • Youth Leadership Program: Now in its 10th year, this program works with schools across the state to identify rising high school seniors who may not have access to traditional leadership development programs and offers them a diverse, structured leadership development training for those looking to create progressive change.
  • Community Economic Development/Conservation partnership with The Conservation Fund and Conservation Trust of NC:  This evolving partnership includes a pilot urban agriculture project and creation of statewide cross-sector working groups to address common challenges and opportunities.
  • Investment Focus on Rural Communities: In partnership with community and religious leaders and local governments, the Initiative is identifying investment and partnership opportunities, with an early focus on northeastern NC.  In keeping with this investment strategy, the  Initiative has received a grant from Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust  to restore The Hive House in Bertie County, a multi-purpose health, education and community program.
  • Housing Counseling Leadership: The Association of Housing Counselors (TAHC) received HUD certification and more than $900,000 in funding to support the work of counselors across the state. The Collaborative also received national certification of TAHC’s foreclosure prevention counseling curriculum.
  • Leveraging Resources to Support the Sector:  Initiative Capital has joined with affordable housing developers and intermediaries from across the country in a new social venture formed by the Housing Partnership Network to enhance financial stability for affordable housing developers. Initiative Capital’s investment in the new venture, HPN Select, will facilitate financial sustainability and increased capacity for our network of community-based development organizations, including the membership of the North Carolina Housing Coalition.
Our New Look

New Communication Tools Expand our Network

Our success in 2015-16 has come through partnership, both within our Collaborative and with partners across NC who share our goal of building thriving communities with opportunity for all. We invite you to explore our new website, including our Resource Center and Data Tracker.

We look forward to working with you in 2017!

Financial Partners


NC Initiative Staff

Tara Kenchen
President, CEO

Kimberly Askew
Special Assistant for Programs and Administration

Tara Campbell
Senior VP for Lending and Investments

Erin Crouse
Community Development-Conservation Collaboration Project Manager

Marya McNeish
Communications Strategist

Angela Poole
Chief Financial Officer

Wazym Williams
Senior Accountant

NC Housing Coalition Staff

Satana Deberry
Executive Director

Stacie Darden
Housing Programs Manager

Samuel Gunter
Director of Policy and Advocacy

Tyran Hill
Local and Regional Policy Advocate

John Niffenegger
Deputy Director

Board of Directors

James Speed
Retired CEO, NC Mutual Life Insurance Company

William Wilson
Attorney, Wilson and Reives

Sharon Jeffries-Jones
Director, CRA/Community Development, BB&T

Joanna LeClair
VP, Sr. Comm. Dev. Officer, Wells Fargo

Nikitra Bailey
Executive V.P., Center for Responsible Lending

Kim Cameron
Community Development Relationship Expert, Woodforest National Bank

Evan Covington-Chavez
Development Manager, Capitol Broadcasting Company

Ted Edwards

Attorney, Banks Law Firm

Nation Hahn
Chief Growth Officer, EducationNC

Karla Haynes
Executive Director, Cleveland County CDC

Tara Kenchen
CEO, NC Community Development Initiative

Louise Mack
Executive Director, Prosperity, Inc.

Selina Mack (not related)
Executive Director, Durham Community Land Trustees

Robin Merrell
Pisgah Legal Services

Mark Morgan
MC Morgan & Associates

Tyler Mulligan
Associate Professor, UNC School of Gov’t

Mark Shelburne
Principal, Novogradac & Company, LLC

Jeanne Tedrow
Executive Director, Passage Home

Napoleon Wallace

Social Investment Officer, The Kresge Foundation