FUNDS FOR $4.5 million PROJECT CAME FROM NORTHERN ARAPAHO TRIBE, Community Development Block Grant, First Interstate Bank and the New Markets Tax Credits PROGRAM
RIVERTON, Wyo. – Tribal leaders, government officials and community members gathered Thursday, Dec. 5, 2019, for an opening dedication and ribbon cutting at the new Red Wolf Child Care Center at 192 Red Wolf Place in Riverton. Convened in honor of the late Northern Arapaho Business Council member Norman Willow, Sr., the event marks a milestone in a longstanding effort to expand access to high-quality, affordable childcare for residents living on and near the Wind River Reservation.
The new 13,000-square-foot center will operate 24 hours a day and accommodate up to 250 children, ranging in age from newborn to 10 years old. Beyond providing quality childcare, Red Wolf’s opening provides tribal members the flexibility and support to find and maintain jobs, go to school and increase income potential. Among those to benefit are the more than 500 employees working shifts around the clock at the nearby Wind River Casino, tribal agencies and schools, many of whom struggle to find reliable childcare during working hours.
Red Wolf Child Care will be certified by Tribal Resolution and seek “Gold Star” designation, a certification from the Wyoming Department of Family Services. It will provide age-specific educational and recreational activities, as well as a state-of-the-art playground and enrichment park to help kids build strength, creativity and social skills. A sliding fee option will be available to assist low-income families.
Financing for the new $4.5 million center came from the Indian Community Development Block Grant Program; Northern Plains Office of Native American Programs, Denver, Colorado; Northern Arapaho Tribe, First Interstate Bank; and the New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program, provided by the nonprofit community development lender, MoFi.
The NMTC is a bipartisan federal program designed to incentivize private capital investment in economically underserved areas. MoFi has used NMTC to help finance several projects in Wyoming including the newly expanded Wind River Cares clinic in Riverton, and the Cobblestone Hotel & Suites in Torrington. The nonprofit will soon be announcing funding for another project in Laramie.
MoFi President Dave Glaser said, “This is a great community project and a wonderful use of the federal tax credits. The Red Wolf Child Care Center will have a huge impact on families – many parents have had to choose between working and taking care of their children due to the lack of childcare options in the area. This project removes that barrier. We were honored to work with the Northern Arapaho tribal leaders and First Interstate Bank to make their vision a reality.”
Thursday’s opening dedication included a presentation of colors by the Arapaho Warriors; Flag Song by the Eagle Drum; dedication eulogy in memory of Norman Willow, Sr., “Red Wolf”; remarks by Lee Spoonhunter, Chairman, Northern Arapaho Business Council, Al Addison, Co-Chairman, Northern Arapaho Business Council, and Harvey Spoonhunter, Chairman, Northern Arapaho Tribal Housing. Their remarks were followed by a ribbon-cutting with Sarah Willow, Norman Willow, Jr., and Desirae Willow.
MoFi is a nonprofit community development lender that provides loans to individuals, businesses and communities. MoFi believes that access to responsible, flexible capital is a fundamental right, and that everyone should have equal access to the capital needed to create individual stability, business success and community prosperity. MoFi operates across the Northern Rockies with offices in Bozeman and Missoula, MT, and Boise, ID. Learn more at mofi.org.
About the New Markets Tax Credit
The New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) was designed to increase the flow of capital to businesses and low income communities by providing a modest tax incentive to private investors. Over the last ten years, the NMTC has proven to be an effective, targeted and cost-efficient financing tool valued by businesses, communities and investors across the country. The NMTC was authorized in the Community Renewal Tax Relief Act of 2000 as part of a bipartisan effort to stimulate investment and economic growth in low income urban neighborhoods and rural communities lacking access to the patient capital needed to support and grow businesses, create jobs, and sustain healthy local economies. The NMTC program is set to expire at the end of FY2019, however, legislation is currently before Congress that would expand and make the program permanent. More information on the credit can be found on the NMTC Coalition’s website at nmtccoalition.org.