Raza Development Fund and Woodforest National Bank Team Up to Create New Joint Financing Program to Help Charter Schools Provide Quality Education Across the U.S.
THE WOODLANDS, Texas, Feb. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Raza Development Fund (RDF), the largest national Latino-focused Community Development Financial Institution, recently collaborated with Woodforest National Bank® (Woodforest) to develop an exclusive lending program focused on bridge financing of new or expanded facilities for existing charter school operators within Woodforest’s 17 state footprint.
“This collaboration presents a tremendous opportunity for RDF to support more charter schools dedicated to providing a high-quality education. As a mission-based lender, RDF is committed to seeking ways in which more dollars can be reinvested into the classroom and support programming, while ensuring families have access to dignified facilities,” said Adrian Ruiz, Chief Investment Officer, Raza Development Fund.
Paul Ettorre, Vice President, Community Banking Relationship Manager, Woodforest National Bank, added, “Large charter school operators can usually access construction financing from the bond market. But the partnership identified a significant market gap for smaller proven operators with growth strategies that cannot immediately access bond financing, which is much needed to provide quality educational facilities for students, many in low-income communities.”
Here is how it works. RDF originates and services the loan providing a level of critical credit enhancement which enables Woodforest to participate in a large share of the financing needed. This includes a loan for up to five years of construction and mini-perm financing until the charter school operator can reach full growth enrollment and obtain permanent financing. This collaboration also enables RDF to leverage their capital resources for potentially even greater community impact.
The first charter school operator to participate in the new joint loan program is Kenilworth Science and Technology School in Baton Rouge, LA. Kenilworth is a well-established charter school operator currently serving a primarily minority student population for grades 6 – 8, where 92% of students receive no-cost or reduced cost lunches at school. Kenilworth is expanding their community reach and building on their proven educational model to serving students in grades K – 8, and in partnership with Building Hope Real Estate in Washington DC, are building a new school facility to accommodate the significant growth via an $18 million construction loan.
“Since earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science, I have dreamt about creating a computer science-focused school,” said Hasan Suzuk, Executive Director, Kenilworth Science and Technology School. “And since being here, I have dreamt about making Kenilworth a K8 school since it is a better model to serve our families. This project will make both dreams come true.”
About Woodforest National Bank
Celebrating over 40 years of community banking service, Woodforest National Bank has successfully stood among the strongest community banks in the nation, proudly offering outstanding customer service since 1980. Woodforest currently operates over 760 branches in 17 states across the United States and is an Outstanding CRA rated institution. For more information about Woodforest National Bank, please visit www.woodforest.com. Member FDIC. An equal opportunity employer.
About Raza Development Fund
Raza Development Fund, Inc. (“RDF”) is a Latino-led and serving Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”) formed in 1999 by UnidosUS, (formerly, National Council of La Raza), the country’s largest and longest-serving Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. RDF was created to advance economic opportunity, social mobility, and racial justice. Since inception, RDF has directly invested over a billion dollars in 38 states, leveraging over $6 billion in the areas of education, affordable housing, healthcare, social services, and social entrepreneurship. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, RDF lends nationwide.