Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast
Goodwill Easter Seals of the Gulf Coast (GESGC) is a non-profit agency serving 12 counties in the Alabama-Florida Gulf Coast area. The agency provides programs and services to help individuals and families overcome challenges due to disabilities or other barrier that impact economic well-being, self-sufficiency and quality of life.
A portion of UDF’s investment was used to renovate the existing building at 2440 Gordon Smith Drive. The list of additions, upgrades and improvements include: a new roof, offices and classrooms as well as site improvements to parking, driveways and fencing. These enhancements make it possible for the newly-named Mitchell Building to offer GED testing, a computer lab, e-commerce listing and shipping, electronic recycling, job development services and administration offices.
The remaining allocation of funds were used to construct a new building at 2448 Gordon Smith Drive and is known as the McMaken Community Center. This building houses the GESGC Child Development Center and is named for a late local judge who was dedicated to and an important part of the GESGC community.
UDF provided loans totaling $9.1 million for this project. Subordinate financing was contributed by UDF at advantageous terms including interest-only for the 7-year terms, below-market interest rates, and lower-than standard origination fees. Without the NMTC, the project was unable to fill a funding gap needed to complete construction. UDF lent the necessary funds to finish the development at terms that were unavailable from other lenders.
The property is located in an especially distressed area with 15.7% poverty and median income 66.8% of the benchmark. Unemployment in the census tract is almost 20%.
Serving 12 counties in the Alabama-Florida Gulf Coast region, Goodwill Easter Seals provides programs and services to help individuals and families overcome challenges due to disabilities and other barriers that impact economic well-being, self-sufficiency, and quality of life. GESCG has five main areas of service which include:
- Children & Family Services
- Education Services
- Employment Services
- Support Services
- Business Services
In 2015 GESGC was able to change over 11,000 individual lives through programs and services;the biggest reach to date for this organization. GESGC financials show .91 of each dollar spent goes towards the people that need it most.
Any family in need of services receives help whether it entails finding employment, obtaining a GED or literacy skills, help with parenting a special needs child, or to help find space for an adult family member who isn’t able to stay home alone. Help is given to families needing assistance teaching their children to be ready for school, or for procuring essential medical equipment that they aren’t able to afford. Low-income families are able to retain more earnings which assist in building a brighter, more secure financial future. Youth and adults alike are taking positive steps toward their future by learning new skills,building confidence, and moving toward a life of self sufficiency. People of all abilities,challenges and backgrounds are enjoying recreational activities and living more independently which also brings joy and laughter to families despite some tremendous obstacles.