Story: The Skills Center

The Sponsor

The Skills Center, Inc. is a Tampa, Fla.-based nonprofit focused on youth services, including educational support, leadership development, workforce readiness and social services. It leverages athletics as a key strategy to attract young people to the program and help them build good health. Founded in 2007, the Black-led organization grew out of the Youth Opportunity Movement of the early 2000s. Its goal is to reduce poverty, decrease the cost of healthcare, and create long-term employment—all in a part of the city where 39 percent of residents live below the poverty line.

The Project

Broadstreet’s PROPEL Fund is investing $6.2 million in equity to build a new facility in East Tampa that will not only help expand the Skills Center’s reach by 20 percent with additional space and staffing, but also house four other nonprofits as part of an alliance of coordinated services. They include Computer Mentors Group, Girls Empowered Mentally for Success, Inc., Men of Vision, Inc. and two youth programs of the Corporation to Develop Communities of Tampa. The 55,000-square-foot facility will include two gyms, training rooms, offices and outdoor space that will be used for youth programming, events, and co-working.

Broadstreet is also providing a $1.2 million bridge loan to help move the project forward. The financing is part of a $20 million NMTC package, with federal allocations from the Black Business Investment Fund (BBIF) and The Reinvestment Fund, as well as loan financing from the Skills Center, Inc.

The PROPEL Fund is capitalized by Edwards Lifesciences and invests in NMTC transactions with a clear focus on health and racial equity.

Impact Statistics

  • $6.2 M Broadstreet Equity Investment
  • 16 Projected Permanent Jobs Created
  • 3,500 Projected Unique Individuals Served Annually

The Impact

In Tampa, Black children are nearly three times more likely to be living in poverty than White residents. There are also significant, persistent racial gaps in wages, homeownership, digital access, and standardized test scores, all which impact access to opportunity and overall quality of life.

The Skills Center Collaborative is meant to address those gaps with direct academic support, from tutoring to test prep, as well as mentoring, sports training, and other leadership programs. The Collaborative will provide coordinated intake and case management for the 3,000 young people and 500 adults served annually.

The sponsor will have 23 full time staffers on site—nine of which are new jobs—and its partner agencies will add seven jobs to their existing staffing. The development effort also includes 67 construction jobs, placing a priority on local hiring in a community where 85 percent of residents are people of color.