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Charter schools may benefit from New Market Tax Credits


HONOLULU – The Council for Native Hawaiian Advancement has submitted an application to the U.S. Treasury Department for $50 million in New Market Tax Credits.

“We’re excited to at least have submitted an application by the deadline and to create the chance to bring the tax credit program home to Hawaii,” said Robin Puanani Danner, CNHA president and CEO. “There are several charter schools that need facility funding very badly. An allocation of tax credits would assist with the construction of schools serving thousands of our opio.”

CNHA partnered with Alaska Growth Capital, an Alaska Native organization founded in 1998 with a portfolio of $140 million in loans to rural businesses and economic development nonprofits. The tax credit application was submitted in March for a total of $125 million, with $50 million dedicated to Native Hawaiian projects.

“Capital is the lifeblood of local economies, and our Native communities are no different,” said Hugh Short, AGC CEO. “It’s important, as Native people, for us to engage and attract the necessary capital for our language programs and cultural values to flourish.”

The Treasury expects to announce the allocations from the Stimulus Bill in September. Danner remarked, “This would be an amazing boost for Hawaii and potentially a significant investment in school facilities for the charter school movement. These schools are a priority for CNHA in bringing resources to the work of parents, educators and practitioners – we need our charter schools to thrive.”

CNHA and AGC entered into a Memorandum of Understanding to bridge the expertise in community loan fund management and deployment of tax credits. The MOU will build CNHA’s capacity to increase the participation of Native Hawaiian projects in U.S. Treasury programs.