TruFund Partners with Build Baton Rouge For AdvancingCities Challenge

$5 million award will drive inclusive growth and greater economic opportunity in the city

Baton Rouge, Louisiana—TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is partnering with Build Baton Rouge on a $5 million charitable initiative to revitalize North Baton Rouge.

Build Baton Rouge, the redevelopment authority for Baton Rouge’s consolidated city-parish government, plans to use its award, received through JPMorgan Chase’s 2020 AdvancingCities Challenge, to fund the Plank Road Masterplan. The project includes programs targeted at conserving affordable housing and growing small businesses in the area. AdvancingCities is a five-year, $500 million initiative that combines JPMorgan Chase’s lending capital, philanthropic capital, and expertise to make investments in cities. Baton Rouge is one of seven cities awarded funding through this year’s challenge.

Receiving funds through AdvancingCities will lay the groundwork needed for Build Baton Rouge to sustainably restore the Plank Road Corridor, creating stability for the predominantly Black residents of the area and enhancing the community for future generations. “Baton Rouge offers ample opportunities for innovative approaches to advancing racial equity and the impacts of systemic disinvestment. Our Advancing​Cities award validates that great things are underway and we are a community worth fighting for,” said Chris Tyson, president and CEO of Build Baton Rouge.

To achieve the goals of the project, Build Baton Rouge has developed a strategic partnership collective that features TruFund along with Co-City Baton Rouge and MetroMorphosis, forming the Baton Rouge Collaborative. Over the course of three years, the collaborative will implement the Plank Road Masterplan and aim to accomplish several goals, including providing financial and technical support to 15 new and existing minority-owned business, renovating a 3,500-square foot historic building into commercial kitchen space to deliver fresh food and offer job training, and preserving housing affordability through the formation of a Community Land Trust.

“I would like to congratulate Build Baton Rouge on being awarded funding through JP Morgan Chase’s AdvancingCities Challenge to implement the Plank Road Masterplan,” said James H. Bason, president and CEO of TruFund. “TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is honored to be a part of this collaborative and impactful work. This award will foster economic development for generations to come, revitalizing  a community that has been directly affected by a lack of economic growth and investment.”

TruFund is playing a crucial role in the evolution of the Plank Road Masterplan and the handling of funds awarded to Build Baton Rouge through the AdvancingCities Challenge. One requirement of the challenge award is that Build Baton Rouge work with a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). TruFund will serve as that CDFI presence and work as a fund manager for the venture. They will also provide loan advisory services to the small businesses developed through the initiative. TruFund’s contributions will empower small businesses in the area and provide a long-standing economic boost for the community.

“A cornerstone of TruFund’s work in Baton Rouge involves growing and supporting small businesses in the most underserved areas of the city,” said Kim Carter Evans, TruFund’s vice president and managing director-Southeast region. “As a certified and nationally supported CDFI, we are fully equipped to nurture successful small business development and committed to supporting the local small business ecosystem by providing access to affordable capital, business advisory services, and other resources needed to be successful. TruFund will work to leverage this award and attract additional capital to support the small businesses of the city of Baton Rouge and in particular the communities most in need.”


About TruFund Financial Services

TruFund Financial Services, Inc. is a wholly independent national nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI). TruFund seeks to stimulate economic development in communities that are underserved by traditional banking institutions by providing fair and accessible capital, hands-on technical assistance, and innovative solutions to small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

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About Build Baton Rouge

Build Baton Rouge began in 2007 as the East Baton Rouge Redevelopment Authority and changed its name in 2019 with the mission to bring people and resources together to promote equitable investment, innovate development, and thriving communities across Baton Rouge.

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $3.2 trillion and operations worldwide. The Firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing, and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of customers in the United States and many of the world's most prominent corporate, institutional, and government clients under its J.P. Morgan and Chase brands. fffffffffff