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North Austin Community Center Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

February 15, 2023

Enhanced Capital’s Chris Shinaberry was pleased to attend the grand opening of North Austin Community Center (NACC) located in Chicago, IL, with officials from community nonprofits, former Chicago Bear Sam Acho, elected officials, former Chicago Cub standout Jason Heyward,  who now plays for Los Angeles Dodgers, the Chicago Fire FC, Alderman Emma Mitts (37th), and Mayor Lori Lightfoot, as well as hundreds of other community members. The NACC received financing from Enhanced Capital’s Small Business Lending group through federal and Illinois New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) for the extensive environmental remediation of a brownfield site after over 40 years of vacancy and to reactivate the area for recreational and educational programming.

The well-attended ceremony celebrated the opening of the NACC, a nonprofit corporation with a mission to create equal opportunities for participation in education, sports, and wellness programming historically reserved for affluent communities. The $35 million, 10-acre NACC complex includes three full-sized indoor sports fields, basketball courts, recreation space, and a safe community gathering space. In collaboration with three lead partners, By the Hand Club for Kids, Grace and Peace Revive Center, and Intentional Sports, along with premier sponsors The Chicago Fire Foundation and Jason Heyward Baseball Academy, the NACC will offer year-round indoor sports activities and highly effective state-of-the-art after-school educational programming for 400 children annually.

​​“When we set out on the journey to create a life-giving space for our North Austin youth, we challenged ourselves to ‘imagine more,’” said Donnita Travis, founder and executive director of By The Hand Club For Kids and one of the lead organizers for the North Austin campus.

Youth in low-income neighborhoods are 4x less likely to play sports and 6x more likely to quit due to barriers. The North Austin community stands to benefit tremendously from the NACC providing much-needed mentorship, sports recreation, and academic support to 25,000 youth and families holistically.

Of the residents in North Austin, 23% have a bachelor's degree or higher, and as of 2015, the census tract reported a 28% poverty rate.[1] To support local economic growth and job creation, the NACC will offer employment opportunities with higher wages than many other jobs available to those with a high school education or less. Nearly 240 temporary construction jobs and 105 permanent full-time and part-time jobs will be created from the project.

Without financing for environmental remediation and construction provided by Enhanced Capital, the project would have been scaled down, significantly delayed, and would not have catalyzed the significant levels of investment necessary from funding partners and other investors. Enhanced Capital’s Small Business Lending group is proud to play a role in transforming local economies through projects like the NACC that align with the firm’s focus on supporting economic growth, job creation and retention, and supporting underserved communities.

Watch a recording of the ceremony on WGN-TV.

[1] Based on the Novogradac NMTC Mapping Tool Census Tract No. 17031250200.