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PNC Foundation Awards $10 Million Investment to URA to Support Equitable Initiatives Citywide

Press Release
August 13, 2020

Funding to be used for COVID-19 Recovery Loan Fund, Catapult, and Invest PGH, Inc. – the City of Pittsburgh’s new CDFI

PITTSBURGH, PA (August 13, 2020)  The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced today that the PNC Foundation has awarded the Authority a $10 million non-revolving line of credit to support equitable economic recovery initiatives citywide. The funds will be dispersed as follows:

  • $6.5 million to be used for the COVID-19 Recovery Loan Fund

  • $1 million to be used for Catapult: Startup to Storefront Program

  • $2.5 million to be transferred to Invest PGH, Inc.- an emerging community development financing institution (CDFI) being incubated by the URA

The URA and PNC have committed that 60% of the funds disbursed will be used to support low-to-moderate income communities and minority-owned businesses, and 15% will be used to support childcare providers.

“PNC Community Development Banking is focused every day on helping strengthen the economic vitality of the communities where we live and work,” said Cathy Niederberger, executive vice president of community development banking for PNC. “The work the URA is doing to support small business in low-moderate-income neighborhoods couldn’t be more aligned with our goals. We have no doubt that this investment will make a big impact in our hometown.”

“The URA is extremely grateful for this incredibly generous award. PNC provides a model for what corporations, who've expressed a commitment to addressing racial and economic disparities in our city and country, can do to make an immediate impact,” URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker said.

COVID-19 Recovery Loan Fund ($6.5M)

The Recovery Loan Fund was created to help City of Pittsburgh businesses affected by the coronavirus, re-open, stabilize, and thrive. The capital, up to $75,000, can be used for hiring, payroll, e-commerce, sales/marketing, and inventory.

The program targets neighborhood-serving small businesses, minority and/or women-owned businesses, businesses in low- and moderate-income communities, and those small businesses most adversely affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

Since launching the COVID-19 business support programs in March, the URA has funded 270 businesses, 67% are minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE).

PNC’s investment will allow for the expansion of this critical business support through deployment of additional dollars as businesses chart a path towards COVID-19 recovery.

Catapult ($1M)

Catapult: Startup to Storefront is a 12-month business incubation program created by the URA, Circles Greater Pittsburgh, and East Liberty Development, Inc., which aims to support new and growing minority-led businesses.

Nationally and internationally recognized, Catapult received an International Economic Development Council (IEDC) 2019 Silver Award for Equity and Inclusion.

The program’s spin-off retail space, Gallery on Penn, provides a storefront for program participants to sell their goods. Gallery on Penn: Gone Virtual is an online retail space for Gallery on Penn businesses that was created as a result of COVID-19.

Over the course of two program cycles, 27 businesses have graduated from Catapult.

The PNC funds will be used to expand the program to other neighborhoods across the City.

Invest PGH, Inc. ($2.5M)

Invest PGH, Inc., the City of Pittsburgh’s new CDFI, is a spin-off of the URA and will be mission focused on building and supporting minority and women-owned businesses that provide quality jobs or create and preserve high quality, affordable housing.

The City of Pittsburgh is currently underserved by CDFIs. There are 13 CDFIs that serve the Philadelphia market and 3 that currently serve the Pittsburgh region. Out of Pittsburgh’s CDFIs, none focus specifically on the City of Pittsburgh. Invest PGH, Inc. will fill this gap while focusing on low-income neighborhoods and marginalized businesses.

The cornerstone program of Invest PGH, Inc. will be the Micro-Enterprise Loan program, which focuses largely on minority and women-owned businesses that are starting or expanding. The program, which to date has been run by the URA, has funded more than 64 local businesses, 82% of which are MWBE.

Invest PGH Inc.’s position as a CDFI will allow more capital to flow into this program and to subsequent new programs, all focused on marginalized businesses and communities.

“This critical investment from PNC will allow Invest PGH to achieve CDFI certification through establishing a robust lending track record,” Invest PGH President Rebecca Davidson-Wagner said. “We thank PNC for joining us and look forward to working with them to achieve more equitable outcomes in business start-up and growth across the City."

Invest PGH, Inc. hopes to achieve certification in February 2021.

“PNC’s investment recognizes how the new URA is creating tools that deepen support and investments in Pittsburgh’s diverse business community and neighborhoods,” URA Executive Director Greg Flisram said. “We are excited about their commitment and the role it will play in our City’s equitable recovery moving forward.”

The URA Board of Directors approved the URA-PNC agreement at its August regular board meeting held virtually this afternoon at 2 p.m.

The URA Board also approved to:

  • Allocate $252,000 to Invest PGH, Inc. for operations, and $2,248,000 for lending capital
  • Assign a portion of the Micro-Enterprise Loan portfolio to Invest PGH, Inc. and to execute a related co-op agreement between the URA and Invest PGH, Inc.

About PNC Foundation

The PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (www.pnc.com), actively supports organizations that provide services for the benefit of communities in which it has a significant presence. The foundation focuses its philanthropic mission on early childhood education and community and economic development, which includes the arts and culture. Through Grow Up Great, its signature cause that began in 2004, PNC has created a bilingual $500 million, multi-year initiative to help prepare children from birth to age 5 for success in school and life.

About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)

The URA is the City of Pittsburgh's economic development agency, supporting the City’s economic development goals, which are designed to create a city of inclusive opportunity for residents, stakeholders, and communities. The URA is committed to creating more housing that is affordable to the average Pittsburgher; encouraging more entrepreneurship and small business development; promoting inclusive growth and quality job creation; expanding neighborhood and main streets revitalization efforts; and developing a talented workforce that is equipped with the skills of the future.

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