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Aug. 17, 2018

Community Development Is a South Carolina 'Champion'

A new hotel anchors the main street of Spartanburg, South Carolina, made possible through a federal financing program called New Market Tax Credits (NMTC) that provides an incentive for business and real estate development in low-wealth communities. The city of Spartanburg has leveraged this program to invest more than $4 billion in capital projects since 2000, and plans to continue using it to address affordable housing and redevelopment of its downtown.

Community Development finance tools like NMTC, Low-Income Housing Tax Credits (LITC), Historic Tax Credits (HTC) and state financing tools are key variables in transforming and positioning communities and regions for new economic activity and growth. But information about — and education on — these financial tools is not always readily available or obvious, and that’s where our community development professionals are making a difference.   

The South Carolina Community Capital Alliance (SCCA) recently honored the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and Jeanne Milliken Bonds, senior manager, regional community development, with SCCA’s “Champion Award” during their fourth annual “Transforming Communities” conference. SCCA Chairwoman Deborah McKetty said the award recognized public policy work on Opportunity Zones as well as strategic efforts in support of community capital initiatives and statewide investment in low- and moderate-income and underserved communities.

“Our award to the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond Community Development department is for their leadership as a constant strategic and supportive partner in community development for the state of South Carolina. Jeanne most recently influenced the state to nominate Opportunity Zones, ahead of many other states, and this award recognizes her persistent continuing efforts to engage the policymakers in South Carolina on this opportunity for our communities,” said McKetty, president and CEO of CommunityWorks in Greenville, South Carolina, and  chair of our Community Investment Council (CIC).

South Carolina Community Capital Alliance Chairwoman Deborah McKetty presents the “Champion Award” to the Richmond Fed’s Jeanne Milliken Bonds, senior manager, regional community development.

Opportunity Zones are part of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The Bank’s community development professionals are engaging state and local policymakers, the banking industry, investors, foundations, universities and community finance organizations around the policy objective and the tax benefits available to investors who develop in low- and moderate-income communities, identified by governors and certified by the U.S. Treasury.

South Carolina leaders, in 2017, recognized the Bank’s research and community development professionals when they passed legislation establishing a state Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). Our Research Director Kartik Athreya had presented research on the EITC to an audience of more than 100 state legislators, business and community leaders two years earlier.

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