Check Out The Reinvestment Fund's Stake in Baltimore

The Howard Gardner Charter School in Scranton, Pennsylvania recently accepted a grant of $80,000 from an organization known as The Reinvestment Fund (TRF). The charter's director, Vince Rizzo, said it would help the school subsidize "extensive renovations." The Reinvestment Fund requires that Howard Gardner spend the money over the course of the next year.

TRF offers grants of up to $95,000 for charter schools in the state of PA for the early phases of development: "acquiring equipment and supplies, and paying initial operational cost." The organization first began providing funds to charter schools in 2011 with Pan American Academy Charter that opened in September of that year.

Unlike other similar programs, The Reinvestment Fund does not provide money to support expansion. They prefer first-time projects to new branches of existing charter schools, and first priority goes to school districts considered most in need by the New Markets Tax Credit program. The Reinvestment Fund also demonstrates a strong preference for proposals that take energy efficiency into consideration.

Charter schools may also apply to receive loans from TRF for as much as $4.5 million. According to their site, they have loaned charter schools more than $242 million since the organization's founded year of 1985.

The TRF has granted money to schools in a variety of cities up and down the east coast, but according to a July press release, it seems like the organization plans to head a few stops south of the tri-state area. Baltimore may become the new object of focus in 2013.

Through the New Market Tax Credits Program, and a partnership with JPMorgan Chase, TRF was able to grant $20 million for two sizeable projects in the city: one with the Maryland Institute College (MICA) and the other with Johns Hopkins. The money will fuel a handful of new construction projects on MICA's campus, including a cafe, a new art gallery, studio space, and an auditorium. At the Johns Hopkins campus, located in east Baltimore, the money will go toward the construction of the Henderson-Hopkins school, an eight-acre project. Don Hinkle-Brown, TRF President and CEO, called the $20 million "symbolic of TRF's long-term commitment to Baltimore."