OKLAHOMA CITY – Positive Tomorrows, Oklahoma’s only elementary school specifically serving children experiencing homelessness, is ensuring bright futures for some of the state’s most vulnerable students with the construction of a new facility. Funded by a collaboration between REI Oklahoma’s REI Development Corp., Bank of Oklahoma, Wells Fargo and MetaFund Corp, the construction project will solve Positive Tomorrows’ biggest barrier to reaching more students – enrollment capacity.
For every ten students at Oklahoma City Public Schools, one is homeless, equating to nearly 9,000 homeless children in Oklahoma City. For these homeless students, learning unfortunately takes a back seat to surviving. Besides delivering trauma-informed education practices in a private school setting, Positive Tomorrows helps homeless children and their families by removing hindrances such as hunger insecurities, lack of basic needs, medical access and transportation. It also address the economic needs of families as well as providing an educational environment that is sensitive to the struggles its students face.
At the end of its 2017 school year, Positive Tomorrows had turned away 97 students, due largely in part to not having classroom space. This $15 million New Markets Tax Credit-funded construction project will create a nearly 36,000 square-foot school building, allowing more than 1,300 clients to be served annually. With only 3% of its funding coming from government sources, Positive Tomorrows is primarily funded through generous corporations, foundations and individuals.
“The New Markets Tax Credit’s sole purpose is to make communities stronger,” said Scott Dewald, REI Oklahoma President and CEO. “This school project certainly meets that objective. Our Board of Directors and staff have been honored to be a part of this project are grateful for those who played a part in making this vision come into focus,” added Dewald.
Since receiving its first federally-funded NMTC allocation, REI Oklahoma has counteracted disinvestment in the state’s communities amounting to projects of more than $1 billion, affecting more than 3,800 jobs. The tax credits are provided by the U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund and provide a 39 percent federal income tax credit for investments into qualifying businesses in low-income communities.
REI Oklahoma welcomes the opportunity to discuss the feasibility of potential NMTC-related financing projects. Call 800-658-2823 to arrange a meeting.
A non-profit economic development firm, REI Oklahoma offers services statewide. REI Business Lending collaborates closely with local lenders to help entrepreneurs navigate through business lending resources and programs. For women-owned businesses and minority-owned enterprises, REI Women’s Business Center and REI Native American Business Centers offer unique training, as well as technical assistance and access to capital. REI Down Payment Assistance provides support to potential homeowners. Additionally, business space is made available through the organization’s commercial facilities program. REI Oklahoma leverages the New Markets Tax Credit program to attract new investments into Oklahoma and create needed jobs in underserved communities. Learn more about the organization at www.reiok.org. Follow REI Oklahoma on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
Positive Tomorrows is Oklahoma’s only private, tuition-free elementary school specifically serving homeless children and their families. Each year more than 100 students at Positive Tomorrows receive a quality, trauma-informed education while their parents get the support they need to create a better life. Positive Tomorrows is a proud United Way Partner Agency, an Oklahoma A+ School, and is accredited by the North Central Association, a regional Accreditation Division of AdvancED. To learn more, visit www.positivetomorrows.org.