Gulfport, Miss. (March 22, 2017) – Gulf Coast Renaissance Corporation, a Gulfport-based Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), proudly celebrates 10 years of community lending and services in Mississippi.
In 2007, a volunteer board, led by then Chairman Anthony Topazi, gathered a group of forward-thinking business and city leaders from the still-devastated region to discuss the mission of a newly formed nonprofit. A grant from the MS Development Authority enabled the organization to create multiple housing programs focused on assisting residents with affordable housing following Hurricane Katrina. Mortgage programs focused on the low-to-moderate income resident allowed Renaissance to help 2,000 families with the dream of homeownership. Homeownership was just the start for Renaissance’s impact through its programs.
Adapting and evolving to the ever-changing needs of its market for the past decade, Renaissance, led by president and CEO Kimberly LaRosa, continues to implement innovative programs and pursue funding and certifications that will further grow the organization. Renaissance became the only certified SBA microlender in Mississippi in 2015, and has provided over $8 million in business loans and grants throughout the state, which has led to the creation of over 600 jobs. And just this year Renaissance was recognized nationally as an awardee of a coveted New Markets Tax Credits allocation.
Much has changed since Renaissance began lending a decade ago. Originally focused on the lower six counties in Mississippi, Renaissance now offers its programs and services to residents of the entire state. In order to better serve the residents in the Northern counties and the Delta, Renaissance will open an office in downtown Tupelo this month.
Along with this geographic expansion, today Renaissance announces a new name and look for the growing organization. “The name Renaissance Community Loan Fund, which encompasses the CDFI designation for which the nonprofit is certified (a community loan fund), better represents to the public who we are and what we do. We are a different kind of lender, focused on community and economic development in the state,” said Kimberly LaRosa, President and CEO of Renaissance Community Loan Fund.
“We are extremely proud of the work we have accomplished and the successful community organization we have become over the past decade. We take a moment to reflect on the many people who have contributed to our success,” said LaRosa. “We are honored to have worked with such great staff, a dedicated volunteer Board of Directors, generous funders and many deeply dedicated partners who have given of their time and expertise to keep us moving forward.”