New Life Community Investments

New Life Community Investments

Access to capital is a major growth challenge for many businesses, especially those on Chicago’s West Side. A recent study by the National Minority Business Development Agency found that minority-owned firms are less likely to receive loans than non-minority-owned firms,especially those businesses with gross receipts of less than $500,000. In addition, when minority-owned firms do receive loans, the dollar value is often less, while the interest rates tend to be higher.

Since 2002, Bethel New Life has been able to counter this trend by providing low-interest loans through its New Life Community Investments program to businesses and non-profits that are located in and provide products or services to low income communities in Cook County, primarily on the West Side of Chicago. These funds were provided through the New Market Tax Credit program administered by the US Treasury Department. Since the program’s initiation, Bethel has made more than $9.9 million in investments into West Side businesses, with the final servicing of these loans occurring in 2013. These funds have been used for:

Loan Use

  • Start-up capital
  • Operations and expansion capital
  • Increasing inventory
  • Renovating space
  • Operations & expansion
  • Purchasing furniture/equipment
  • Constructing an addition to a building

Bethel New Life was instrumental in the development of the New Market Tax Credit program and was one of the first allocatees of tax credits in the country in 2003. The New Market Tax Credit program was designed as a tool to attract investors to make investments in communities of poverty. Approved community development entities (CDEs) receive tax credits through the Community Development Financial Institution program of the Treasury and these tax credits are provided to qualified investors over a period of seven years. During this time, the CDE works in conjunction with CDFI to assure that qualified investments are made.