In July 2014, CDF provided $5 million in New Markets Tax Credits financing to MetroSquash, Inc., a nonprofit with a mission to “use squash, academics, mentoring, cultural enrichment and community service to empower Chicago Public School students to realize their full academic, athletic and personal potential.” CDF financing supported the construction of a new 19,000-square-foot facility at 6100 S. Cottage Grove Avenue in the Woodlawn community. This dedicated facility provides a safe, secure, and permanent home for the organization, allowing it to relocate from two separate shared spaces on the University of Chicago campus.
MetroSquash serves 5th through 12th graders from 18 Chicago Public Schools whose students are overwhelmingly minority and low-income. Participants in the program receive academic enrichment and support, in addition to exposure to new opportunities through college visits and squash tournaments hosted in cities throughout the country. MetroSquash continues to demonstrate success in seeing its high school senior program participants enroll in four-year colleges and universities; frequently, the students are the first in their families to do so. The new Academic & Squash Center, which includes eight squash courts, four classrooms, and a computer lab, has allowed MetroSquash to double its capacity and serve over 300 youth through its core programming and an additional 100+ through supplemental summer programming. This project directly supports 24 permanent full-time equivalent jobs. The facility is also a key component of a $270 million redevelopment of the Grove Park housing development which is led by Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and is expected to create over 500 mixed-income housing units and 95,000-square-feet of commercial space.
NMTC equity for the project and an additional $1.5 million in NMTC allocation was provided by JPMorgan Chase.