Phoenix Community Development & Investment Corporation (PCDIC) recently provided $35 million in New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation for Phoenix-based St. Mary’s Food Bank, the world’s first food bank, to increase capacity over the next few years.
The federal NMTC program is designed to stimulate private investment in projects that create substantial community impacts in economically distressed communities. The program helps to fill project financing gaps by enabling investors to make larger investments than would otherwise be possible. Qualified areas for the federal NMTC program are based on census tracts where the individual poverty rate is at least 20%, or where median family income does not exceed 80% of the area’s median income.
“Over the past three years, PCDIC has been awarded a total of $135 million in New Markets Tax Credit allocations that go back into our community in areas that need it the most and St. Mary’s Food Bank, which distributes 250,000 meals a day, is an ideal recipient,” said Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego. “This expansion project illustrates how federal tax credits can be used to provide much needed services for families.”
Funds were provided to St. Mary’s Food Bank to build overall capacity and help streamline operations. The largest projects the NMTC financing will support are a new maintenance facility, a new driver dispatch office, and expansion of its temperature-controlled cooler spaces at its main warehouse, enabling St. Mary’s to accept more nutritious fresh food like fruits and vegetables to distribute to clients, in addition to providing certain working capital and support of operational expenditures.
“This PCDIC allocation helps St. Mary’s position itself to provide the necessary assistance to our food-insecure clients well into the next decade,” St. Mary’s Food Bank President and CEO Milt Liu said. “The combination of the worldwide pandemic and subsequent impact of inflation has doubled the number of people seeking emergency food from our St. Mary’s locations and hundreds of agency partners in just a few short years. This is a game-changer as we strive to say ‘Yes’ to every hungry family, senior and child who seeks our assistance.”
Funds will also support remodeling a recently purchased building into a new volunteer center for emergency food box packing, with dedicated volunteer parking and the ability to host larger volunteer
events. When the new center is completed, the existing volunteer space will provide additional storage room for more food, enabling the food bank to expand capacity at its main warehouse.
It is estimated that when the expansion projects are completed, St. Mary’s will be able to increase its campus-wide storage capacity by 75% allowing the nonprofit to serve additional increases of future clients. It is also projected that these funds will help support the creation of 28 new permanent jobs at St. Mary’s Food Bank.