Making an Impact

Executive Message

Nimble. Effective. Innovative. A good partner. Dedicated to serving vulnerable people. Helping to create stronger communities. As CEDAC enters its fifth decade, these are the values that guide us in our work supporting community development in Massachusetts.

In March 2019, we celebrated CEDAC's 40th anniversary at an event honoring legendary community activist and former state representative Mel King. What began as Mel's pioneering vision to support non-profit community-based development organizations has evolved over these decades to become a national model for strengthening communities. We were pleased to have the opportunity to recognize Mel and to hear directly from him about why CEDAC's work remains important. Our 40th anniversary celebration – which we have recapped in this annual report – served as a reminder to the Commonwealth's entire community development sector that there is so much more we can accomplish by working together. In Mel's words, "Teamwork makes the dream work!"

FY19 was a particularly strong year for CEDAC in our efforts to provide early-stage, predevelopment financing to our non-profit partners throughout Massachusetts. We are seeing incomparable demand for this critical high-risk capital financing, reaching record high levels of loan commitments. CEDAC supports an active predevelopment portfolio of over 100 non-profit-sponsored affordable housing projects, which will serve a variety of populations in cities and towns across the Commonwealth. It's no secret that the demand for quality affordable housing is strong in Massachusetts – and CEDAC works to ensure that there is a robust pipeline of projects to help meet that demand. Equally important is CEDAC's role in producing quality affordable housing, combined with access to supportive services, that stabilizes and improves the lives of residents.

Among the projects we supported in 2019 was the preservation of 97 affordable units at Newcastle/Saranac in the Lower Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. Newcastle/Saranac was part of a portfolio of projects financed under MassHousing's 13A program decades ago and represents a successful example of using a public/private partnership to preserve long-term affordability. In early 2019, CEDAC provided the largest loan in our 40+ history: a $29 million acquisition loan to Fenway Community Development Corporation (Fenway CDC) and its development partner The Schochet Companies. Our key role was in assembling capital, and issuing and closing on loan commitments with our banking partners, including Eastern Bank, Boston Private Bank, The Life Initiative, and Massachusetts Housing Investment Corporation. We also worked closely with public partners including the City of Boston, the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), and MassHousing to help keep those families in their homes. In August, all of the stakeholders, including the residents, gathered at the project site to celebrate this important preservation victory.

CEDAC also works to improve cross-sector collaboration in the planning and delivery of supportive services so that those providing child care, health care, and other integrated services coordinate their work with community developers to help families thrive. CEDAC's affiliate, the Children's Investment Fund, helps non-profit organizations in Massachusetts develop high-quality facilities for early education and care - an essential component of strong communities. Over the past few years, CEDAC and the Fund have worked together on projects that co-locate affordable housing and quality learning space. In 2019, we were pleased to celebrate several of these projects coming to fruition. One example of this model is in New Bedford, where the YWCA of Southeastern Massachusetts completed the expansion of its historic headquarters, which created housing for eight formerly homeless women and licensed year-round care for fifty children.

We are fortunate to have the support of the Baker-Polito Administration through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Department of Housing and Community Development, and the Executive Office of Early Education and Care, along with other elected leaders in Massachusetts. They've demonstrated their commitment to investing in community development, offering resources to developers and projects from Boston to Pittsfield through the largest Housing Bond Bill in the state's history. That means tremendous opportunity for organizations working to provide housing, child care and services to the individuals and families that depend on them. CEDAC and our partners have also benefited from the leadership of former CEDAC Board Chair and Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development, Janelle Chan. From 2018 to 2020, Chan provided vision and enthusiasm for CEDAC's work. We wish her well in her new role as Senior Policy Fellow at the Massachusetts Housing Partnership.

Looking ahead, CEDAC is well-prepared to assist the community development sector as it works to address the needs of our vulnerable populations. The core of our work is helping to serve people in need and supporting the organizations that serve them. Moving forward, we remain committed to this mission. We look forward to an equally productive 2020, guided by the values that define our approach to community development.

Roger Herzog

Roger Herzog
CEDAC Executive Director

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