Operation Breakthrough is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation located in Kansas City that seeks to provide a rounded approach to poverty intervention with educational programs, health care, parent programs, and emergency services to children and families. Established in 1971 following the closure of a local catholic school, the organization has since grown to serve 290 children ages 0-5 in nationally-accredited early education programs, 140 school-age children in before/after-school and summer programs, and the children’s 250+ families.
The project, when completed, will allow Operation Breakthrough to increase community services for urban core residents, including early education for an additional 80 preschool children and other social and health services for children’s families and residents. The organization’s total service capacity is expected to grow to over 1100 - serving 370 preschool children, 350 school-age children, and approximately 400 parents/caregivers.
Plans for the renovation of the building include a gymnasium, a health and wellness center for Operation Breakthrough families and other under-served residents in the community, a warehouse to store and distribute donated household goods for families in need and a Maker Village where students can engage in STEM, digital media, culinary, textiles, arts, coding and biotech activities. In addition, the project also includes a small area that the organization intends to lease out to an adult education non-profit to complement Operation Breakthrough’s parent programs of emergency aid, supportive housing, and adult therapy and education. Operation Breakthrough is currently working with LiteracyKC, a local non-profit that offers basic education and literacy services to adults. This added space will allow LiteracyKC to increase service capacity from 900 individuals to almost 1,200 and improve access to computers for local adults to create resumes and apply to jobs.
“Expanding the facilities for Operation Breakthrough will provide meaningful quality educational opportunities for children and families in Kansas City,” said Bill Dana, President and CEO of CBKC. “We are proud to support Operation Breakthrough’s mission of providing a safe, loving and educational environment for children in poverty and to empower their families through advocacy, emergency aid and education.”
By renovating buildings and establishing an expanded community facility, Central Bank of KC believes the Operation Breakthrough expansion will provide for a greater sense of community in the area, which will likely have a spillover effect on other local businesses by improving the amount of foot traffic in the area. This project is also one of the first major projects in the Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City’s Troost Corridor Planned Industrial Expansion Area (PIEA).
“Without the assistance of tax credits from CBKC, we wouldn’t be able to complete the full project as planned, which would prevent us from serving additional early education and school-age students, as well as the parents expected to benefit from the expansion of the facilities and services,” said Operation Breakthrough Executive Director Mary Esselman.
Shortly after the closing of the Operation Breakthrough NMTC deal, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI) Fund announced the 2017 allocations of New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). Central Bank of Kansas City (CBKC) has been awarded an allocation of $55 million in New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC). This award marks the 8th successful NMTC award for CBKC, with a total of $406 million in allocation since their first award in 2007. The NMTC program allows CBKC to direct capital to underserved communities through financing high-impact, mission-focused projects like Operation Breakthrough.
“We are proud that the CDFI Fund continues to value the work we’re committed to achieving for low-income communities in Missouri, Kansas and Illinois,” said Bill Dana, President of CBKC. “NMTC has proven to be one of the most effective tools to make critical community development projects successful, to help achieve our mission, and to improve communities and the lives of residents in the areas we serve.”
Since the inception of the NMTC program, CBKC has closed financing for 55 projects with total project costs exceeding $1.12 billion. CBKC through its affiliate subsidiary CDEs, have deployed $539,250,000 million of NMTC allocation into Missouri, Illinois and Kansas-based communities. Central Bank has been recognized by the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund (CDFI) for the bank's investment in distressed communities and has been a certified CDFI since 1998. CBKC received this allocation through its subsidiary CBKC CDC, LLC. (some images from the Operation Breakthrough website)