Portland, OR — October 23, 2023 — Ecotrust Community Development Entity (CDE) has received a $60 million federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation that will further the CDE toward its strategic goals. NMTC allocations are distributed from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund, which received nearly 200 applications in the recent cycle. Ecotrust CDE was among 102 CDEs selected to receive a portion of the $5 billion awarded in total.
In keeping with its investment goals, Ecotrust CDE aims to deploy this funding into projects that support:
- climate resilience of frontline communities, which are defined by the organization as communities experiencing the most impacts from climate change and racial inequities;
- the building of broadly shared, intergenerational wealth for low income communities; or
- the advancement of lands and waters stewardship in ways that are racially and economically just.
Projects in this vein could include community infrastructure such as health care, education, emergency response, or other facilities that improve quality of life; utility infrastructure such as water, wastewater, broadband internet, electricity, and other sectors; operating businesses that adopt climate-smart manufacturing processes, or projects that add value to natural resources and are managed using climate-smart techniques.
“Our staff, partners, and the communities we serve face deep systemic challenges: persistent inequity, systemic racism, and displacement due to climate change,” says Sara Pietka, Ecotrust’s Director of Community Investments. “Ecotrust CDE’s investment strategy was developed with this context held at the forefront, and we are pleased to be able to direct NMTC funding toward projects that address these challenges.”
The NMTC program encourages investment in low income communities that often experience significant difficulties attracting capital from private investors. Ecotrust CDE serves as a financial intermediary through which capital flows from an investor to a qualified investment project.
“Ecotrust’s goals are to strengthen the climate resilience of frontline communities, build intergenerational wealth, and promote lands and waters stewardship in just and self-determined ways,” says Olivia Rebanal, Ecotrust Chief Impact Officer. “These are ambitious goals, but ones that can be reached by mobilizing resources through the unique opportunity of NMTC deployment, which is designed explicitly to draw private capital into investments where it would not otherwise land.”
Since 2004, Ecotrust CDE has received $387 million in NMTC awards and funded 36 projects to date. In the past decade, 83 percent of these funds have been invested in rural communities and 71 percent in projects serving communities that are Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC). The CDFI Fund has recorded over $1.6 billion in NMTC investments in Indian Country, of which Ecotrust CDE has invested $74 million (approximately 5 percent of the total).
“Given longstanding trends in economic inequality, we are heartened to receive this timely allocation of NMTC to catalyze direct community investment to drive intergenerational wealth building for historically marginalized communities in our region,” says Cat Goughnour, Ecotrust board member and Racial Wealth Equity Fellow at Prosperity Now. “Building upon two decades of success, Ecotrust is poised to continue seeding asset acquisition and wealth building with frontline, BIPOC community-led initiatives.”
Projects seeking NMTC financing from Ecotrust CDE should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. Beyond aligning with Ecotrust CDE’s investment strategy and service area, eligible projects must have capital budgets of over $5 million and be located in low income communities. Ecotrust CDE has particular interest in projects located in rural communities and/or on Federal Indian Reservations, Off-Reservation Trust Lands, Hawaiian Home Lands, or Alaska Native Village Statistical Areas.
Ecotrust creates and accelerates triple-bottom-line innovations to benefit our region and inspire the world. Our work is rooted in the region from California to Alaska that holds productive lands and determined people. On the farm, at the coast, in the forest, and across our cities, we work in partnership towards an equitable, prosperous, climate-smart future. We recognize the legacy of colonialism and the deep inequities of this place, and we believe that radical, practical change is possible and necessary. Since 1991, we have created durable change and sparked ideas across the globe. Join us at ecotrust.org.