Since 1886, Lady Liberty’s torch has welcomed immigrants to the United States through New York Harbor.
While most associate the Statue of Liberty with immigration, the original intention of the gift from France was to commemorate the perseverance of freedom and democracy after the American Civil War. The statue was meant to stand above political turmoil and party factions and to shine as an international symbol of liberty, justice and democracy. For us at BlueHub Capital, the Statue of Liberty unites all who believe in an inclusive future.
2021 was a productive and exciting year for BlueHub Capital, COVID-19 notwithstanding. We launched our newest nonprofit initiative, One Percent for America (OPA), the inspiration behind this year’s annual report theme. Through OPA, we are reviving Lady Liberty and her enlightening torch to unify current and future US citizens under a shared goal — making citizenship more affordable.
OPA creates accessible pathways to US citizenship through low-interest loans, free financial education and passionate community engagement. Immigration fuels our country’s progress, building our past, our present and bridging to our future. Yet, although nine million immigrants are eligible to apply for citizenship, 91% do not apply — often because they are unable to gather the funds to pay for immigration fees. One Percent for America is intended to change that, and we are calling on Americans and future citizens from coast to coast to join our new movement.
While OPA takes the torch on citizenship financing, BlueHub’s existing programs are lighting the way in their respective industries.
BlueHub Loan Fund, our community development financing arm, had a robust year with over $100 million in lending, a return to pre-pandemic levels. The Loan Fund deployed more than $23 million to finance the construction of affordable housing in communities disproportionally impacted by COVID-19, particularly low-income communities of color where the negative health and economic impacts of COVID-19 are most severe. The Loan Fund has also continued its expansion into Southeastern and Gulf states, with significant new lending in Texas, Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee.
BlueHub Loan Fund was one of only four financial institutions to receive a Credit Enhancement Award from the US Department of Education in 2021. And to cap off the year, S&P Global Ratings upgraded BlueHub Loan Fund to an ‘A’ rating with a stable outlook.
AERIS, a third-party rating agency for community development financial institutions, upgraded BlueHub Capital’s financial strength rating from AA+ to AAA in 2021. Combined with our four-star impact and policy plus ratings, we now have the highest possible overall AERIS rating. These ratings are a validation of the organization’s strong balance sheet and credit quality, which improves our access to capital at lower rates, further bolstering our lending initiatives.
BlueHub SUN, our foreclosure relief initiative, has been working diligently with its homeowners as federal forbearance options come to an end. Ninety percent of homeowners who were on forbearance have resumed regular mortgage payments. Another major success: the 88 SUN homeowners who paid off their SUN mortgage in 2021, repaired their credit and accessed a lower-cost mortgage in the conventional market. We celebrate when we lose a customer because that homeowner is on a path to financial health. Now licensed to lend in 11 states, the SUN team is exploring new markets and is once again accepting applications from homeowners in need.
BlueHub Energy celebrated years of advocacy when a landmark piece of climate change legislation was signed into Massachusetts state law in 2021. The new law removes barriers in current solar polices that limit access to affordable, clean, solar energy for low-income households. We continue to work with regulatory agencies to implement the new law in a practical way.
We are also pleased to report that BlueHub was awarded $20 million in New Markets Tax Credits. Within three months of receiving the allocation, BlueHub committed its funding to two projects that support economic development, including the Atlanta Community Food Bank, which you can read about in this report.
Thanks to strong relationships with donors, investors, borrowers and clients, we are able to innovate and bring new ideas to life — ideas that serve our communities. We are grateful for your ongoing and long-term support and trust, and we look forward to continuing our work together into the future to build healthy communities where low-income people live and work.