THE WOODLANDS, TX, September 27, 2022 — Woodforest National Bank® (Woodforest) announced today it made a $1 million equity investment into the SHIFT Catalyst Fund created by SHIFT Capital (SHIFT), a leading impact real estate investor based in Philadelphia, PA. Historically, entry to the real estate development industry has been extremely challenging for minority developers due to entrenched systemic barriers. There is a strong need for diversity and developers who focus on neighborhood revitalization work. The Catalyst Fund supports diverse impact-focused developers looking to scale their business successfully, and those who need financial and programmatic support to acquire and position projects for investment to make an impact for generations. Woodforest is the first bank investor in this Fund that is providing critical financing components to assist emerging developers grow, and projects succeed.
The developments are primarily focused on underserved communities aiming to support community and economic development, and affordable housing. Woodforest’s investment will center on projects across the bank’s footprint.
“The SHIFT Catalyst Fund provides value-aligned investments in value-aligned developers, with an emphasis on underrepresented managers, across the country to ensure they have opportunities to grow and scale their business, in their projects to ensure they succeed, and in their neighborhoods to affect positive social change, “ said Brian Murray, SHIFT Capital’s Partner, CEO.
“Woodforest’s early investment in the SHIFT Catalyst Fund once again proves their commitment to communities and to the cultivation of impact-focused developers.” Noelle St.Clair Lentz, Senior Vice President, Impact Investing and Strategic Initiatives, Woodforest National Bank, added, “Working with SHIFT through our Opportunity Zone fund, we experienced first-hand how the team brings intentionality to ensure real estate projects align with community needs, which is extremely important for the work we do. They also understand the challenges diverse real estate developers face in scaling their businesses and have created a model built to overcome the inequities that have afflicted the real estate sector for years.”
Woodforest and SHIFT first joined forces in 2021 on North Philadelphia’s Sharswood Ridge project. The award-winning Woodforest CEI-Boulos Opportunity Fund invested $1.33 million in equity capital, as the first private equity fund committed to and invested in the project, a joint venture between Mosaic Development and SHIFT in partnership with the Philadelphia Housing Authority. The 234,000 square foot mixed-use development provides 98 mixed-income rental units (almost half are reserved as below-market rate), and approximately 45,000 square feet of retail including Grocery Outlet, an urgent care facility, a bank, and two restaurants.
Woodforest also recently opened a community development office in Philadelphia at SHIFT’s MaKen Studios North in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood.
Doug Schaeffer, Executive Vice President, Executive Director, CRA, noted, “When our center city location closed during the pandemic, we challenged ourselves to think about how we could have the most impact not just through lending and investing, but also where we choose to physically locate our office. We love the SHIFT model and are excited to be in Kensington. We want to be present, help create connections, and better understand community needs by being engaged in the neighborhood.”
About Woodforest National Bank
Celebrating 40 years of community banking service, Woodforest National Bank has successfully stood among the strongest community banks in the nation, proudly offering outstanding customer service since 1980. Woodforest currently operates over 760 branches in 17 states across the United States and is an Outstanding CRA-rated institution.
For more information about Woodforest National Bank, please visit: woodforest.com. Member FDIC.
SHIFT NextGen Impact Platform
The SHIFT Catalyst Fund is at the core of our NextGen Impact Platform, providing value-aligned developers access to capital, resources, SHIFT’s impact tools. Learn more about investing in the Catalyst Fund.