CHICAGO—IFF, a Chicago-based nonprofit lenderand real estate consultant, just received a $43 million NewMarkets Tax Credit allocation, its largest allocation everand its third since the federal program kicked off the more than adecade ago.

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This year, the US Treasury Department awarded atotal of $3.5 billion in tax credits to 87 organizations across thecountry. The program was designed to attractinvestment to low-income communities by allowinginvestors to receive a federal tax credit for making equityinvestments in Community Development Entities suchas IFF.

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The new allocation “will go to multiple projects,” TanyaVartivarian, IFF's senior director for structured finance,tells GlobeSt.com. “We have been vetting a variety of projects inour pipeline,” and will choose which ones benefit from thesecredits by the end of the year. IFF will give special weight todevelopments that advance its mission to create jobs, promotehealthcare access, eliminate “food deserts,” or bring educationalopportunities through charter schools, among other goals.

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In 2002 and 2011, IFF received $10 million and $25 million,respectively, in NMTCs to support community development projects.IFF used the 2011 allocation to help develop the ErieElementary Charter School and the LEARN CharterSchool Network in Chicago, and two other schools in KansasCity.

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Since it was founded in 1988, IFF has made more than 1,100 loansto nonprofits, providing $450 million in low-cost financing andleveraging $1.4 billion in total community investment.

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“The New Markets Tax Credit is definitely a program that isincreasingly being used as a way to attract investment inlow-income communities,” Vartivarian adds. “Our pipeline is usuallyoversubscribed. The demand far outstrips the supply.”

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Brian J. Rogal

Brian J. Rogal is a Chicago-based freelance writer with years of experience as an investigative reporter and editor, most notably at The Chicago Reporter, where he concentrated on housing issues. He also has written extensively on alternative energy and the payments card industry for national trade publications.