MBEP Member Spotlight: National Development Council

When Central Coast Sign & Design needed new machinery and equipment and a larger space, a $200,000 business loan made it possible for the Salinas company to realize those dreams, expanding to better serve a broad range of clients ranging from CHISPA and CSUMB to Taylor Farms and Tanimura & Antle.

To a small business that started up with little funding, the idea of applying for a loan was intimidating. But what worked for owner Julio Gil in his personal life — saving up and only purchasing things if you have the money on hand — wasn’t helping his company move forward. Gil says the Grow Salinas Fund transformed his 13-year-old small business into an industry leader. 

“At that time, I was a small company that did small jobs and outsourced our bigger jobs to get done out of town, as we all do in the sign industry,” said Gil. “If we did decide to do jobs in house, we would spend 3-4 times longer to get certain things done, and now that we have machinery that can handle it, we were able to hire people to run the machines and keep jobs local and increase profits.”

The program behind its low-interest loan is the result of a partnership between the city’s Community Development Department and the National Development Council, a 50-year-old non-profit community and economic development organization that works with local and state governments and community-based organizations on housing and economic development efforts. Investing in a company such as Central Coast Sign & Design creates a positive ripple effect: A stronger small business, more jobs for the region, and a more robust local economy.

The City of Salinas the National Development Council’s Grow America Fund established and capitalized the Grow Salinas Fund in 2012 as an economic development tool designed to assist small business within the city. Leveraging the city’s $500,000 investment, the Grow Salinas Fund has made more than $2.7 million in SBA loans to six businesses, including a fitness salon, fast-food franchise, and machine shop. The loan program focuses on small businesses ready to expand but often unable to attain conventional bank lending.

With an average loan size of $453,167, the program has helped those companies retain and create 73 jobs.

In addition to its small business lending programs, NDC brings together the technical know-how and capital for community and economic investment to support the development and preservation of affordable housing, the creation of jobs through training and the advancement of livable communities through investment in social infrastructure.

The National Development Council also partners with the City of Santa Cruz on small business lending through the Grow Santa Cruz Fund, offering loans of $50,000 to $300,000 to financially healthy businesses in need of expansion capital.

Much of its work is done behind the scenes, providing technical expertise to cities and organizations on issues that, depending on a particular city’s needs or priorities, can range from Opportunity Zone work and housing finance education to seismic retrofitting and real estate.

In Salinas, the National Development Council continues to work with the city on housing issues and is partnering with Monterey Bay Economic Partnership and the County of Monterey on the development of a local housing trust. “We want to be a better participant in the regional activities of MBEP and that participation includes providing resources to help fund the work of MBEP,” says Chuck Depew, Senior Director for the National Development Council. “We’re committed to communities, and we’re really trying to work with the client on sectors that are important to them. We’re there to bring a national perspective and to fill the gaps.”

Across the U.S., the National Development Council has:

  • Raised over $898 million in equity from private investors and created over 11,863 housing units
  • Financed over $2.6 billion of social infrastructure through NDC Public-Private Partnerships.
  • Trained more than 75,000 practitioners in the art and science of economic and housing development finance
  • Loaned more than $269 million to over 710 small businesses, creating and retaining over 15,489 jobs, as well as thousands of construction jobs
  • Financed 94 projects using New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), leveraging an additional $2.2 billion in financing for community facilities, mixed-use real estate projects and growing businesses
  • Provided technical assistance that has enabled client communities to generate hundreds of millions of dollars of additional private and public investment for their community and economic development projects and programs.

Pictured, Central Coast Sign & Design owner Julio Gil.Photo courtesy of National Development Council.