On March 16, 2022, Mascoma Community Development announced $7 million in New Markets Tax Credits funding for The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Inc.
The funding will be used to construct The Food Bank’s new distribution center and headquarters to provide more healthy meals to more people who experience food insecurity in the Western Massachusetts area.
Since 2005, The Food Bank has tripled the amount of healthy food distributed annually which has required it to utilize temporary and offsite facilities to supplement the capacity at its existing facility located in Hatfield, MA. The funding received today will help build a new 63,000 square foot facility, including dry, frozen, refrigerated, and office space for the non-profit. The new facility, located in Chicopee, MA, will centralize The Food Bank’s operations, services, and resources to distribute more than seventeen million pounds of food by 2025 and expand its community programs.
The Food Bank provides sustenance to individuals, families, seniors, children, and people with disabilities (including veterans) to lead healthy and meaningful lives. In addition to food distribution, it also serves as a resource to help strengthen the emergency food network and develop long-term solutions to the underlying causes of hunger in their community.
Michelle LeClair, Chief Investment Officer of Mascoma Community Development, said, “This project checks all the boxes of the New Markets Tax Credits program. It meets a profound community need. It creates a lasting impact on the surrounding area by delivering more food security to more residents at a time of record demand. And it creates new permanent and temporary employment opportunities that help revitalize this part of Western Massachusetts. We are excited to be helping those plans come alive.”
Andrew Morehouse, Executive Director of The Food Bank, said, “This project will allow us to grow and expand on the critical work we do to help families and individuals confront food insecurity. Every meal we provide improves individuals’ physical and mental health, which in turn allows them to focus on other areas of their lives, like family, work, and long-term economic stability. We are excited to partner with Mascoma Community Development and all the other stakeholders in the community on this project. We look forward to the lasting impact it will have across Western Massachusetts.”
Additionally, MCD has awarded a grant of $35,000 to Common Capital, a non-profit community development financial institution serving the area around the Food Bank. These funds will help Common Capital increase its small business lending program to make loans to area businesses, especially businesses owned by people with low-to-moderate income, owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, or owned by women. Together, these to create or retain up to seventy jobs in the area.
Mascoma Community Development was awarded the NMTC Allocation from the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI Fund), a branch of the U.S. Treasury department. Using its tax credit allocation, Mascoma seeks to provide low-cost, flexible financing to businesses throughout the northeast United States. With its NMTC Allocation, MCD emphasizes creating impactful jobs in highly distressed low-income communities nationally. MCD targets operating businesses for their ability to create quality, accessible jobs in rural communities. MCD also targets downtown redevelopment projects that will help revitalize the community, provide services to residents, and create additional private investment. Mascoma Bank is a $2.5 billion mutual community bank and Certified B-Corporation® with twenty-eight branches and 2 loan offices throughout Northern New England and is the controlling entity to Mascoma Community Development. The bank has a 123-year history of serving communities and businesses primarily in rural and minor urban areas.