Belle Glade is known to be one of the most impoverished communities in Florida, with a high unemployment rate, gang and drug activity, and a violent crime rate of 4x the national average. Since 1971, Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County (BGCPBC) has operated 13 clubs reaching a total of 8,600 young people county-wide, including 7 clubs in the high-poverty area known as “the Glades.” One of these clubs, the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center, is functionally obsolete and too small to accommodate the growing number of youth in need of services.
With financing through the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program, BGCPBC will build a new 13,860 square foot building that will triple its current capacity and reach an estimated 900 low-income youth annually, to provide an after-school safe place for youth and teens. The new facility will offer academic enrichment programs and technology-based career training with exposure to the most promising jobs and first rate workforce readiness. There will also be space for nutrition classes and a garden.
Youth served by the center are minority (99%), eligible for free or reduced lunch (81%) from single-parent or non-traditional households (77%), and live below poverty level (41%). BGC provides services for $30 per child annually – or free if needed; no one is turned away due to inability to pay. In addition to after-school and summer activities, the club serves 78,000 meals annually.
As the largest youth development organization in Palm Beach County, BGCPBC provides nationally recognized programs to deliver three priority outcomes: Academic Success; Good Character and Citizenship; and Healthy Lifestyles. The success rate is high, with a 99% graduation rate in 2017, and 75% continuing on to post-secondary education.
Florida Community Loan Fund (FCLF) provided $8.4 million in federal NMTCs for the Smith & Moore Family Teen Center. The investor is US Bank CDC. This transaction was completed in April 2019.
“Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County reach children with invaluable mentoring emphasizing career counseling and workforce readiness, in addition to providing a safe space. It’s gratifying to be part of a project that provides such needed services to the youth of Belle Glade, a community that continues to struggle with persistent poverty and unemployment. Financing through the NMTC Program allows worthy projects such as this to happen right now, rather than years in the future.” – Nelson Black, FCLF Chief Lending Officer
- Income 43% of AMI (area median income)
- 35% Unemployment Rate – 4x National Average
- 51% Poverty Rate
- FEMA-Designated Disaster Area, Brownfield, USDA Food Desert
Learn more at www.bgcpbc.org.