Wells Fargo invests $500K in Asbury Park’s West Side revitalization project

Interfaith Neighbors, a nonprofit, announced Monday that Wells Fargo will invest $500,000 into its Asbury Park revitalization project.

The project focuses on the town’s West Side, Interfaith said. The funds, which are being distributed as part of the State Department of Community Affairs Neighborhood Revitalization Tax Credit program, will allow Interfaith to support projects in the town such as affordable housing, economic development, employment, recreational programs and family and community life.

In the past 11 years, Interfaith said its program has brought approximately $6.7 million in tax credit investments to Asbury Park’s West Side.

“Interfaith Neighbors has shown remarkable dedication and leadership in the revitalization of the West Side,” said Wanda Saez, senior vice president, community relations for Wells Fargo.  “At Wells Fargo, it’s our goal help communities thrive. We are grateful for the opportunity to be a partner in this work through the NRTC program.”

The NRTC program allows for corporations to receive a 100 percent credit against state business taxes for funds they invest in state-approved revitalization plans.

“Most philanthropically-minded corporations look for a leverage ratio of 2 to 1 for their investment” said Paul McEvily, executive director, Interfaith Neighbors. “For the NRTC program each corporate dollar invested through the program results in an 8 to 1 leverage ratio which is really off the charts.”

“If you have a New Jersey business tax obligation, it has been a no-brainer to invest through this program if you have an organization that you trust,” said Patrick Durkin, Interfaith’s director of real estate development.  “It’s a 100 percent credit against your tax obligation.”

Wells Fargo’s $500,000 donation is separate from the Wells Fargo Regional Foundation, it said, which contributed more than $1 million in grants to Interfaith Neighbors over the past 10 years. The grants, it said, have supported Asbury Park’s economy, affordable housing and youth opportunities on the West Side.

“They’ve been very innovative,” Durkin said. “They try to support their grantees and they follow what’s going on and track us.”

“They see the impact of what we’ve done,” he said. “They also see how much remains to be done. They’ve come to realize it takes longer, deeper investment to turn things around.”

Projects the NTRC funding supports include:

  • Parkview AP, a residential development project soon to be build on Springwood Avenue;
  • Rights of Passage II, a facility on Prospect Ave. which will allow Covenant House to expand its current residential housing program;
  • The Big Brothers Big Sisters mentoring programs;
  • The Junior Entrepreneur Program run by KYDS at the Boys and Girls Club of Monmouth County;
  • The Community Affairs Resource Center job placement programs;
  • Second Baptist Church’s Fine Arts and Technology summer camp;
  • Asbury Park Music Foundation’s Monday night concerts;
  • Lights for the Asbury Park Little League field;
  • Repairs to restore the Boys and Girls Club swimming pool;
  • A new boxing and fitness center above the Asbury Park Public Works office;
  • A pilot police department video surveillance program;
  • Development of the Springwood Center building by Interfaith Neighbors.