Impact Investing – Tabernacle Community Development Corporation

YouthBridge Community Foundation of Greater St. Louis embraces the concept of mission-aligned investing. By seeking out investment opportunities that are aligned with our organizational goals and mission, we can celebrate generating financial returns as well as achieving positive social impact to improve our community. Such an opportunity recently presented itself to one of our YouthBridge teammates.

When a local nonprofit mentioned “The Hub” to Sissy Swift, Director of Grants and Community Initiatives for YouthBridge, she was intrigued. Sissy was introduced to Pastor Andre Alexander, President of Tabernacle Community Development Corporation (TCDC), and both parties knew their shared interests begged for some sort of partnership.

The Hub is only one program of Tabernacle Community Development Corporation, an entity that was born from Tabernacle Church’s desire to impact the people in their community. Not long after the church was established, Pastor Andre accidentally locked himself out of the church building on a nice afternoon. It was going to be a couple of hours before he could get back in, so Pastor Andre began walking around the neighborhood, talking to residents in their yards or on their porches. He was interested in what they wanted and what they needed, and was not overly surprised to find that the number one issue broached was safe, affordable housing.

Tabernacle Church decided they needed a separate entity to accomplish this and other goals, so Tabernacle Community Development Corporation (TCDC) was launched. TCDC began buying houses in the neighborhood and restoring them for families to rent or purchase. TCDC leadership soon realized that there were other nonprofits assisting residents, but lack of transportation was a significant barrier. They conceived the idea of a central place in the neighborhood that housed multiple resources to help move families from surviving to thriving. An old school in the neighborhood was purchased and revitalized, and The Hub was created.

The Hub is now a community center that houses ten partners, including an onsite bank, a healthcare clinic, law firm representatives, piano lessons and camps, pregnancy and parental support, and other social services. It also affords office space, meeting space, and Sunday morning church services. Meeting the needs of neighborhood residents where they are is the central theme.

After seeing the work of TCDC, YouthBridge determined the best way to partner would be through an impact investment of $250,000 with St. Louis Community Credit Union. “The resulting loan to TCDC is greatly appreciated,” said Pastor Andre. He shared, “The great interest rate we get certainly makes it easier for us to do more. It also ensures that we are using our resources wisely, and unlike restricted grants, we are able to use the money as we see fit.” Pastor Andre values the alignment of YouthBridge’s goals with those of TCDC and hopes the relationship between the two organizations continues to grow.

Pastor Andre said that while The Hub is only one of TCDC’s programs, it is one of the most visible and successful ones. Acknowledging that The Hub brought TCDC and YouthBridge together, Pastor Andre chuckles that getting locked out was the key to Tabernacle Community Development Corporation’s growing impact.