“A sharp eye for a good investment”

Lewis & Clark Development Group has been awarded a $310,000 grant from NeighborWorks America. The award is part of $70 million in grants awarded to 242 nonprofits within the NeighborWorks America network.

The $70 million funding came out of Congress’ approval of the Comprehensive Appropriations Act of 2019, which will allow LCD Group to carry out NeighborWorks America’s mission to advance homeownership, provide safe and affordable rental housing, and other community-building services here in North Dakota.

Lewis & Clark Development Group is North Dakota’s only chartered NeighborWorks America organization and the state’s leading affordable housing and community development resource.

“This year’s award of $310,000 is $8,000 more than we received last year,” notes LCD Group Executive Director Brent Ekstrom who says the funds will be used to expand the organization’s statewide impact through the promotion of affordable housing, home ownership, and housing development.

“These funds are critical to our work as they are often the first funds placed into a project to leverage additional funding,” Ekstrom explained.

“NeighborWorks America funds are the most flexible and, depending on each project’s needs, we use them to fill in different gaps. Our clients should see these funds for what they are: The fuel that gets every project over the finish line.”

Leveraging and Maximizing Funds 
NeighborWorks America is a congressionally chartered, national, nonpartisan nonprofit. Last year, it served approximately 457,000 individuals and families in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The organization has a proven track record of responsibly managing federal and other investment funds. 

On average nationally, NeighborWorks America leverages $60 for every $1 of congressional appropriation it receives proving, as NeighborWorks America President and CEO Marietta Rodriguez points out, Congress’ “sharp eye for a good investment.”

“We are proud to operationalize excellence through these grant awards to our powerful and innovative network,” adds Rodriguez. “These organizations demonstrate their leadership every day in providing affordable housing opportunities, building strong neighborhoods and creating jobs. In fiscal year 2018 alone, this resulted in a direct investment of $8.4 billion in communities across the country.”

In North Dakota, from 2014 through 2018, LCD Group has an average leverage rate of $79 per every one dollar in appropriations. 

Congressional Delegation Support

NeighborWorks America’s track record and LCD Group’s success were the central focus of Ekstrom’s message to North Dakota’s congressional delegation. Ekstrom met  earlier this month in Washington, DC with congressional staff to update them on LCD Group’s work.

Ekstrom says LCD Group has enjoyed strong support throughout the years from Senator John Hoeven. He said this month’s meetings provided a valuable opportunity to connect with the staffs of recently elected Senator Kevin Cramer and Representative Kelly Armstrong.

“One of the key points I raised with congressional staff is the importance of funding for NeighborWorks America. Funding at the $170 million level has a direct and measurable impact on our work in the state,” Ekstrom said.

“Over the years, we’ve used this funding to help purchase and rehabilitate 3,008 affordable single and multi-family housing units in almost every region of our state. When you weigh the jobs created or supported in constructing these homes and, in some cases, serving these populations, the money has had a significant multiplier effect on the local economy and quality of life of several North Dakota communities.”