Nonprofits and Downtown Development
Nonprofit organizations are a mainstay of arts and culture projects and social service agencies. However, it is often not apparent that nonprofits support business attraction and retention, economic development and, help to fill financing gaps through grant funds. Nonprofits are capable of driving economic activity in communities that are lacking traditional economic activity such as diverse business growth, technological developments, a skilled workforce, and available capital investment. Albion, like so many Midwestern towns, has struggled for decades to attract traditional economic drivers. As a 501(c)3 organization, Albion Reinvestment Corporation (ARC) is positioned to play the role of an economic driver in the city of Albion.
The model that ARC is using has been successful in other communities throughout Michigan, specifically Flint and the Uptown Reinvestment Corporation. As an organization, their mission “is to encourage entrepreneurial business development in the downtown Flint business district by enhancing the public infrastructure and improve aesthetics, increase downtown residency, and develop the downtown into an attractive area for business, employment, and entertainment.” As an organization, they are solely focused on the downtown Flint business district, just as ARC’s focus is Albion’s downtown corridor. Through its work with the Mott Foundation, Uptown Reinvestment Corporation has completed more than a dozen projects through public/private partnerships. Their coalition of local government, education, businesses, and charitable institutions have come together to move their mission forward and see success in downtown Flint.
In Albion, ARC administers funds to facilitate the acquisition, renovation, and lease and sale of underserved properties to help eliminate blight and encourage businesses to start-up in and relocate to Albion. In an economy where there are not investors to make things happen, this model provides the capital to incentivize an otherwise unachievable development.
Albion Reinvestment Corporation’s work after the last three years has been possible only through charitable donations and strategic partnerships with private and public entities. This investment of time, talent, and capital will continue to drive ARC’s work toward the transformational work that began this year. As a nonprofit, we must be good stewards of the donations that we receive and make wise investments. We believe that the future of Albion and a revitalized core to the community is an investment worth making.