Karen Abrams

I am delighted to serve as chairman of the SC Community Loan Fund this year. Delighted, because I know that the Trust is good hands. We have a marvelous and accomplished staff that is a pleasure to work with and that is recognized throughout the state and increasingly on a national basis for making things happen. We have an involved, hands-on board, and, most importantly, a compelling mission. Our mission has expanded in the last year- growing to encompass not only providing capital for affordable housing, but also funding for other elements that make communities viable such as stores to purchase healthy foods, community facilities like day care centers, and even small businesses. It is an exciting time as CLF expands in these needed directions and also broadens its geographic focus to include more of the state in its outreach.

As we work to expand our services, we continue to seek more capital to lend. CLF does not generally provide all the funding a project needs, but our share is critical. We often help get projects underway or help bridge that final gap between the cost of building and the struggle to keep things affordable. Increasingly, individuals have expressed interest in our Program Related Investments (PRIs) which offer impressive state tax credits. PRIs are a win/win opportunity- for the Trust as they give us more funds to loan and for the investor, who receives a marvelous tax credit while doing great good.

The Trust is involved in community and capacity building. With our technical assistance programs we can help train developers or local governments giving them the tools they need to assess housing and community needs, and to successfully apply for grant programs. Together we can help build alliances to make planning for the needs of underserved communities a priority.

2013 promises to be an exciting year for CLF as we continue to meet the needs of underserved communities by providing critical financing and resources for community development. Partnerships are key to our success, and I invite you to visit our website often and become involved.

Karen is a founding member of the SC Community Loan Fund, and is a real estate agent with Keller Williams.