Story: Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School

The Sponsor

The Anna Julia Cooper Episcopal School (AJCES) is the only tuition-free private school serving elementary and middle school students in the East End of Richmond. It began with 25 students, two teachers and a head of school in August of 2009, operating from a church basement and a former day care center, which still houses its current classrooms. Since 2016, AJCES had been offering grades 4-8, with additional programs that help prepare students for high school and beyond.

The Project

Broadstreet committed $7 million of LISC’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) allocation, with Capital One as the investor, to support the construction of a new classroom facility and gymnasium next to AJCES existing school so it could expand to serve grades K-8. The new building includes a cafeteria, library, large area for fine arts, and a safe outdoor play space and garden area.

Broadstreet financing was combined with NMTC allocations from Capital One Community Renewal Fund ($2 million) and South State Bank provided additional financing.

Impact Statistics

  • $7 M NMSC NMTC Allocation
  • 16 Permanent Jobs Created
  • 178 Students Served Annually

The Impact

Construction was completed in 2021, and in the Fall of 2021, AJCES offered 2nd and 3rd grade. In the Fall of 2022, AJCES added Kindergarten and 1st grade classes, which brought their current enrollment total to 178 students. The development eliminated the blighting effect of abandoned houses, which had become a dumping ground for trash.

The new facility provides space for graduates visit in the afternoon/evening for tutoring, a quiet place to do homework, connect with other students, and have a meal. Having a gymnasium available for school and community functions has also benefit the school and the broader community.

Importantly, AJCES is committed to the Richmond Redevelopment & Housing Authority (RRHA) with 75 percent of students coming from families living in RRHA housing in the East End, which includes four of Richmond’s largest public housing developments. All AJCES students come from low-income households.