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Community First Fund moving Lancaster HQ

Harrisburg office shifts to new co-working space

The Lancaster-based Community First Fund, a nonprofit economic development organization, is moving its Lancaster and Harrisburg offices to accommodate growth and get closer to the businesses it serves.

Dan Betancourt, president and CEO of the organization, said it is moving its Lancaster headquarters to the fourth floor of 51 S. Duke St. The building anchored by law firm Stevens & Lee, is under construction and should be ready by December.

Community First, whose services cover 13 counties in southcentral Pennsylvania, is currently based in a building on Orange Street in Lancaster.

“We ran out of space,” Betancourt said.

Community First Fund is one of two local organizations operating through the New Markets Tax Credit program, designed to stimulate investment and economic growth in low-income urban neighborhoods and rural communities.

It employs 30 people but expects to reach 40 people within the next two or three years, Betancourt said.

Submitted

Recent hires include Kenneth Hammaker, who will be working out of the new Startup Harrisburg co-working space at 922 N. Third St. in the Midtown section of Harrisburg. Hammaker is a vice president for the organization.

Community First Fund had been using space at the Harrisburg Regional Chamber and Capital Region Economic Development Corp.’s building. Prior to the recession, the organization was using space at Strawberry Square in downtown Harrisburg.

“We wanted to be closer to downtown and it’s more walkable,” Betancourt said of the move to the co-working space. “We have a lot of Midtown clients.”

Co-working spaces are good places to connect with early-stage entrepreneurs and other growing businesses that may need counseling, technical assistance or access to capital.

Last year, Community First Fund received $30 million through the New Markets Tax Credit program. Betancourt said he expects to find out about the next allocation within the next 30 days. He is hoping for another $30 million to $40 million, he said.

The organization has financed about 1,500 loans that have supported 2.8 million square feet of commercial real estate. Community First Fund has done $141 million in loans and tax credits, with about 80 percent of its loans focused on supporting low-income communities and minorities.

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