Announcing a New Build with Purpose White Paper: Too Good to Be True: Lessons Learned on Solar Powering the Nonprofit Sector
We are pleased to share our findings from a new white paper of ours on solar powering the nonprofit sector. As usual, we believe in being very practical when it comes to a facility or real estate project. So along the way we learned that nonprofits can use these seven simple questions before pursuing a [...]
Jersey City Community Charter School
This gym was one of the recent additions made to the Jersey City Community Charter School, a project managed by READS with financial support from The Reinvestment Fund of Philadelphia.
Posted on November 27th, 2012 No comments
RIVER EDGE, NJ (November 2012) –Build with Purpose, a NJ-based nonprofit, is moving forward with the redevelopment of the former convent for St. Peter the Apostle Parish in River Edge, NJ. The former convent is located at 445 5th Avenue and will become home for 25 local seniors beginning in April 2013.
The concept for the senior residence came from Build with Purpose’s desire to provide seniors with a warm, safe and comfortable place to live at more affordable rates than traditional assisted living communities. “We’ve come to learn that many seniors can’t afford or simply don’t want to live alone, and many can’t afford the high cost of traditional for-profit assisted living facilities. We think this approach will help to fill the gap between living alone and assisted living,” says Brian Keenan, Director & President of Build with Purpose.
Work began on this effort in early 2012 as Build with Purpose saw an opportunity to create a new home for Bergen County seniors on the campus of the St. Peter the Apostle Church. The project is imagined as a community of seniors with a supportive environment, close to family and loved ones, but also offering residents a degree of independence.
Located adjacent to St. Peter the Apostle Church and Van Saun Park in River Edge, NJ, thisfacility and location are attractive and safe. Monthly costs at St. Peter’s Residence will start at $1,900, a fraction of the state average of $4,286 for assisted living facilities. This small and intimate facility of 25 residents will provide independent seniors with much of the same care and services provided in traditional for-profit assisted living at more affordable rates. Amenities will include: three meals a day, housekeeping, transportation, recreation, private rooms and 24-hour on-site staff.
Build with Purpose is sponsoring open houses throughout December to introduce the project to local seniors. The open house dates are scheduled for: Sunday, December 9th from 9AM until 2PM; Wednesday, December 12th from 12 until 7PM; Sunday, December 16th from 9AM until 2PM; Wednesday, December 19th from 12 until 7PM; Sunday, December 23rd from 9AM until 2PM; and Sunday, December 30thfrom 9AM until 2PM. If you would like more information about St. Peter the Apostle Senior Residence, please call Tiffany Pryce at 732-635-1000 x111 or visit our website at www.stpetersresidence.org.
Posted on October 1st, 2012 No comments
Over the last ten years, Build with Purpose has developed over 20 large real estate projects for other nonprofits. We have learned that functional boards and teams are often what make for a successful project. Understanding the role of the board versus that of management and the various project consultants is key to that success. To this end, Build with Purpose has listed the top ten responsibilities of a nonprofit board with regard to a real estate development project:
1) Determine and clearly state the purpose, goals and objectives of the real estate project. For example, “to secure a permanent home for our organization that is both affordable and meets our operating needs”.
Posted on September 27th, 2012 No comments
With the help of Build with Purpose, Jesuit Volunteers in Newark, NJ began their placement year in a new home—the Newark Volunteer House. Since the 1970’s, Newark has been fortunate to have a Jesuit Volunteer (JV) community house, and each year the house is home to 5-6 young men and women who spend a year volunteering full-time at various Newark-based agencies that offer direct service to low-income individuals.
Posted on September 27th, 2012 No comments
For ten years, Build with Purpose, a national leader in real estate development, has been working on the development of real estate for other nonprofits. We have completed the development of dozens of school projects and hundreds of units of affordable and supportive housing and our work has taught us a thing or two about what makes for a successful project. Most people would say money is the most important ingredient to a successful development project. While it is important, in fact, very important , we have found there are many other factors of equal or greater importance.
We at Build with Purpose are happy to share our knowledge and experience in the hope that it will help to build stronger organizations and communities.
10 Keys to a Successful Real Estate Project:
1) There is sufficient real estate stock to meet the project’s objectives.
We at Build with Purpose were once asked about the possibility of building an equestrian
field/park in a heavily populated urban area. Needless to say, there was not sufficient land
available to meet the objective. So when considering your real estate project take a look at the
community you intend to develop in and determine if that community has sufficient
land/buildings to meet your needs.
BwP featured on NJ.com: ‘Backpack for Kids Campaign’ in Metuchen buys 512 backpacks for children in needPosted on August 30th, 2012 No comments
METUCHEN – As the first day of school nears, a local nonprofit is close to achieving a $10,000 goal to give low-income families backpacks and other back-to-school supplies.
“We’ve been able to provide 512 backpacks with supplies,” said Keith Timko, director of Build with Purpose, 224 Main St., Metuchen.
Build with Purpose helps construct community facilities including schools and nonprofit centers. The group works with charter schools and special-needs housing groups.The Backpacks for Kids Campaign is in its second year in Metuchen. Schools in New Jersey, New York and Massachusetts will distribute the backpacks to children they determine are in need, Timko said.
“We look for ways to have a deeper connection with the schools we work with and the community,” Timko said.
In addition to the 512 backpacks, Build with Purpose hopes to raise money to purchase another 200 backpacks with school supplies, Timko said.
The organization reports that Gibbons PC, a Newark-based law firm, donated 50 backpacks with school supplies.
For every $20 raised, Build with Purpose purchases one backpack and supplies, Timko said.
Announcing a New Build with Purpose White Paper: Too Good to Be True: Lessons Learned on Solar Powering the Nonprofit SectorPosted on June 14th, 2012 No comments
We are pleased to share our findings from a new white paper of ours on solar powering the nonprofit sector. As usual, we believe in being very practical when it comes to a facility or real estate project. So along the way we learned that nonprofits can use these seven simple questions before pursuing a solar initiative and save themselves a great deal of time and effort.
- Do you have enough space for a large rooftop solar array? (If you want someone else to pay for it as an investor, make sure you have at least 20,000 SF). Or do you have 20,000 square feet of space on the ground?
- Do you have a reasonable amount of sun on the roof?
- Is your roof older? Pitched or flat?
- Does your facility use a substantial amount of electricity?
- Do you own your facility?
- What is your risk profile? Is your organization willing to enter into a long-term electricity contract?
- Does your organization own multiple buildings with the same legal owner?
For more information on whether solar is right for your nonprofit and how we can all make solar power more viable for the nonprofit sector, please visit:Architects, Charter Schools, Commercial Real Estate, Community Development, Community Real Estate, Education, Educational Facilities, Energy-efficient Facilities, Faith-based Schools, Featured, Green Energy, green tech, Head Start, healthy foods, Non-Profits, Nonprofit facilities, Professional Development, Public financing, Public Partnerships, School Nutrition, Supportive Housing
Posted on June 14th, 2012 No comments
A fourth-generation farmer, Christina Krowicki has an old photo of her grandfather selling watermelons for 5 cents at a farmers’ market in Trenton.
As she stood behind a counter selling lettuce, tomatoes, asparagus and rhubarb at another farmers’ market here Wednesday, she could take pride in the longevity of the family business.
“He had a high demand back then, and we still do,” said Krowicki, whose family owns Krowicki’s Farm Market in Plumsted.
The New Jersey Department of Agriculture on Wednesday unofficially kicked off the farmers’ market season, with Secretary Douglas H. Fisher ringing a cowbell and bringing attention to local farmers who grow and sell produce.
Farmers should find themselves in a strong position this summer, given a growing consumer emphasis on healthy eating. But they also note that towns are adding farmers’ markets at a fast pace, raising the question of how many can survive.
The Toms River farmers’ market – each Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the corner of Water and Irons streets – attracted vendors from throughout central New Jersey, including Farmer Al’s Market in Monroe and High Mountain Foods in Roxbury.
They catered to customers such as Donna Natalini, 64, of Berkeley, who strolled the makeshift market before the rain started. She bought radishes and stopped a reporter to see if he had come across a particular bread maker from Nutley.
“We love it because everything is fresh,” she said. “I bought radishes here, and it’s got nice leaves on it. I can make a salad out of that.”
The number of farmers’ markets has grown to 148 from about 40 a decade ago, Fisher said. It has contributed to an agriculture industry that in 2007 generated $986.9 million statewide, according to a Rutgers University study.
The state maintains a list of farmers’ markets at http://www.state.nj.us/jerseyfresh/searches/urban.htm.
Some farmers said they visit two markets a day, helping them add to revenue they generate selling to customers at roadside stands or to grocers and restaurants wholesale. And some customers said they take heart knowing that they are buying locally grown, healthy food that helps preserve open space.
Not that the business is without worries. Farmers’ markets are popping up so frequently that Karley Corris of E.R. & Son Organic Farm in Colts Neck joked that soon they would outnumber farmers.
The risk, she said, is that she might lose customers to other farmers’ markets.
“It’s the same people spending the same money but spread over more locations,” she said.
Fisher said the state was nowhere near the saturation point, although he advised towns to work closely with farmers to ensure their markets will be viable.
Krowicki said she has been careful about which markets to attend. But she wasn’t quite as worried. Growing up, she considered first becoming a hygienist and then a nurse, before deciding to join the family farm. She said she has little reason to reconsider her career.
“Everybody’s got to eat,” she said. “There’s nothing to worry about.”
Posted on April 19th, 2012 No comments
The notion of “food deserts” has been around for awhile now. The idea that low-income urban areas are full of fast-food restaurants and corner stores with limited options while being devoid of places with adequate healthy choices like supermarkets and grocery stores has been a driving force in the battle over obesity facing children in the city. But now, a couple of studies that have recently been released question the connection and state that there is no relationship between obesity and the type of food available in a neighborhood.
These studies show that, yes, there are a plethora of fast food establishments and corner stores in urban neighborhoods, but there are also many supermarkets, grocery stores and other places with healthy options nearby as well. These studies may shed some light on why obesity levels have pretty much remain unchanged for years but they are not without their limitations. For example, the researchers look at places that sold food but not how obese people were. Other studies used larger geographic segments, like areas based on zip codes, for their research which would yield more diverse results and not necessarily isolate areas of low income.
Regardless of the results, it’s clear that just having easy access to healthy food options is not the only answer to stall obesity. This needs to be married to educating kids and parents on the benefits of better eating and making sure these options are first and foremost in city schools. For more information on the studies, click here to read the full New York Times article on them.
Posted on February 13th, 2012 No comments
After a prolonged legal battle, the residents of Paradise Trailer Park may lose their homes because of an inability to obtain financing for the purchase of their community.
The residents of Paradise Trailer Park may soon be facing eviction. After years of fighting an uphill legal battle to ensure their legal right to purchase their three acre mobile home park, the challenge to secure sufficient financing may not only prevent residents from buying their community but also push more than 50 individuals and families onto the streets.
In 2006, the homeowners in Paradise Trailer Park received word that their community and homes were being demolished to make way for high-end luxury condominiums. The residents of this community, who are largely low-income, banded together, raised what funds they could spare and challenged the developer and the courts to protect their right to purchase the community under New Jersey law. In October 2011, the courts agreed that the rights of those living in Paradise Trailer Park were denied and required the developer to give the homeowners the right to purchase. Since that time, however, residents have struggled to find a bank or government entity willing to loan them the funds. “It’s not that we can’t repay the loan because we can. Our rents are more than sufficient, and the property is excellent collateral,” said Lori Dibble, President of the Paradise Park Homeowners Association. “Maybe it’s because our homes are trailers? If so, that is discrimination. Not everyone can afford a McMansion.”
In December 2010, Build with Purpose, a nonprofit real estate development company with experience in securing financing for resident ownership of mobile home parks, was engaged to assist with securing the $3 million necessary to purchase the community. Brian Keenan, Director and President of Build with Purpose, said that there is interest from one lender to provide half the necessary funds, but they are struggling to secure the remainder. “They need to buy the community by April 6th. If we miss that date, it is all over. These people are not asking for a ‘bail-out’ or a grant. They just want a loan, a market rate loan at that.” Keenan has spoken with various state agencies about the issue, including the NJ Department of Community Affairs, the NJ Housing Mortgage Finance Agency and the NJ Economic Development Authority with no success. “We have been told that while they feel great sympathy for the homeowners, they just don’t have the authority or procedures to help these folks”. This is where Keenan disagrees. “Resident ownership, like the type we are discussing, is common in other states and very successful. We as a state could save these people, their homes, and their community if we wanted to.” Keenan struggles to understand the lack of assistance saying that, “The State has granted hundreds of thousands of dollars to build one unit of affordable housing but will not lend sixty thousand to save one unit at Paradise Trailer Park? I can’t understand it particularly in light of the social and financial liability the state incurs housing homeless families.”
Despite the fact that time seems to be running out for the homeowners of Paradise Trailer Park, Keenan’s organization continues to work to find the needed funds. “I know if our state senators, local government officials, the governor and others knew about this, they would help to find the loan dollars needed. It is hard to believe that in the wealthiest state in the wealthiest country in the world, we don’t have the ability to loan these people the money they need to save their homes. Billions are being spent to bail-out homeowners, but there is no money to help these residents? The homeowners at Paradise Trailer Park are good people. Like the rest of us, they work, they pay their taxes. If we as a community and as a state let this happen to them, who will be next?”
Posted on January 25th, 2012 No comments
1. Take a Walk: For today’s new-home market, the road to profitability may be a foot path
According to “The 2011 Community Preference Survey,” a poll of 2,071 American adults conducted on behalf of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), 77% of those polled considered having sidewalks and places to take a walk one of their top priorities when deciding where they’d like to live. Six in 10 adults said they would rather live in a neighborhood that featured a mix of houses, stores, and businesses within an easy walk, than a community of only houses that required driving to get to businesses.
2. Demand for top N.J. charter schools exceeds available seats
The dreaded night came on Thursday this year. The grim weather — a chilly drizzle as night fell — seemed fitting for what was sure to be a grim evening. This was lottery night at Learning Community Charter School in Jersey City. The K-8 school had 30 openings to fill. The problem: Roughly 1,000 families applied to fill them. Hundreds of them streamed into the auditorium to watch the process live, even though results soon would be posted online.
3. Is Route 1 a Street … or a Road?
What’s the difference between a street and a road? Many of us use these terms interchangeably to denote any linear stretch of pavement designed for use by cars. But recognizing the distinction can mean the difference between good and efficient planning and a dysfunctional waste of public resources. Charles Marohn at Strong Towns offers an interesting analysis of the difference between a street and a road: “Roads move people between places while streets provide a framework for capturing value within a place.”
4. Privatizing parts of N.J. park system stirs debate
A chain restaurant in Wharton State Forest. A Ferris wheel at Liberty State Park. Weddings, flea markets, and corporate events taking over New Jersey’s historic sites and scenic lands. That could be the future if the state goes forward with plans to privatize parts of its park system, some warn. “Next thing you know, you have to pay more for everything and the public’s access is limited,” said Jeff Tittel, director of the Sierra Club of New Jersey. “You’ll be getting fee’d to death.”
5. Urban Hope Act worth a try to fix failing N.J. schools
Imagine approaching a line of starving people with a bullhorn, telling them they must wait for food while you wrangle over whether it’s delivered by the government or a private nonprofit. Chances are, you’d be throttled. So when considering the Urban Hope Act, a pilot program that allows nonprofits to build and operate schools in three of the state’s poorest districts, try to think like a parent in Camden. Their children are in schools that are dangerous and failing. Whether that is fixed by the government or a nonprofit group is not the point.
6. When it Comes to Wetlands, It’s Hard to Improve on the Original
Before the Revolutionary War, George Washington had a professional interest in wetlands: He invested in a company that planned to drain the Great Dismal Swamp of Virginia and turn it into farmland. For centuries, Washington’s attitude was considered the only reasonable one regarding swamps, marshes, peatlands, floodplains, mangroves, fens, potholes, bogs, and other places of muck and slime: They should be avoided or drained for better uses. Only in the past few decades have citizens decided that these areas—what we now call wetlands—did more than sog up perfectly good farmland. Even though they cover only 1.5 percent of the earth’s surface, some experts estimate that wetlands provide 40 percent of renewable “ecosystem services”—jobs like water filtration and carbon sequestration.
7. No Obesity Link to Junk Food in Schools
In the fight against childhood obesity, communities all over the country are banning the sale of sweets and salty snacks in public schools. But a new study suggests that the strategy may be ineffective. Researchers at Pennsylvania State University tracked the body mass indexes of 19,450 students from fifth through eighth grade. In fifth grade, 59 percent of the children attended a school where candy, snacks or sugar-sweetened beverages were sold. By eighth grade, 86 percent did so. The researchers compared children’s weight in schools where junk food was sold and in schools where it was banned.
8. 10 Green Building Trends for 2012
The Earth Advantage Institute has certified more than 12,000 green homes, so it’s safe to say they know what’s going on with green building. Towards the end of 2011, the non-profit spoke with various policymakers, builders, developers, architects, brokers, appraisers, lenders, and homeowners to understand green building trends. Here are the 10 green building trends EAI says to watch for in 2012, which we’ve paraphrased below.
9. State Senators Lesniak and Cunnigham Seek To Reform Criminal Justice System
In an effort to address the state’s growing incarceration rate, State Senators Raymond Lesniak of Union City and Sandra Cunnigham of Jersey City have introduced a package of bills that they say will save tax dollars and reduce repeat offenses. “As a nation that imprisons more of its residents per capita than any country in the world, we should continually evaluate our penal justice system to determine if our current policies provide protection for the safety of our residents and are cost-effective, or if changes are needed,” said Senator Lesniak in a statement. “The four bills we are announcing today are designed to reduce waste and inefficiency in our criminal justice system and redirect resources to better protect the public by reducing repeat offenses. We have asked that these bills be moved in both houses prior to the budget break, so we can get on with changing our criminal justice system to make it more cost effective and to provide better safety to our residents.”
10. President Obama and the forgotten urban agenda
It’s safe to say that Barack Obama came to the White House with more street cred than any president in recent memory. As an African American, Obama was certainly privy to the forces of institutional racism that still shackle much of urban America. Before he got into politics, he worked as a civil rights lawyer, and before that, he worked as a community organizer in the mean streets of Chicago. (You will recall that Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin took turns mocking him for that last one at the 2008 Republican national convention.) When Obama became president, hopes were high that American cities would finally get a little love from Washington, which had spent fifty-plus years pouring money into the suburbs.