30th Anniversary Spotlight: Our First Borrower, Salt and Light Company

We continue to celebrate our 30th anniversary and the impact we have made through $630 million in loans and investments in homes, schools, and jobs for families in countless communities in New Jersey and beyond. In honor of our three decades of work, we are profiling key projects we have supported. Below is a story about our first - and ongoing - borrower. 


The Salt and Light Company

A recent report by the National Low Income Housing Coalition found that renters in New Jersey paid the 7th highest rents in the nation. New Jersey also continues to have the highest rate of home foreclosures in the nation, surpassing even the most populous states. Additionally, while homelessness in New Jersey is far less prevalent than it is in major cities such as New York City and San Francisco, over 8,000 state residents are homeless. That is why the transformative work of the Salt and Light Company, Inc. (Salt and Light), New Jersey Community Capital's (NJCC) first borrower, is critical to serving the needs of New Jersey's most vulnerable populations. As a nonprofit organization based in Mount Holly, New Jersey, Salt and Light builds emergency shelters and transitional and permanent housing for individuals, families, seniors, and veterans at risk of homelessness. 
 
The relationship between Salt and Light and NJCC began 30 years ago when Salt and Light’s Founder and President, Kent Pipes, struggled to obtain traditional institutional funding for his small nonprofit. Kent was searching for a $10,000 loan to cover the cost of renovating a post-World War II townhouse in Mount Holly, situated in Southern New Jersey's Burlington County. In 1988 he secured that funding from NJCC.
 
Over the next 30 years, Salt and Light borrowed $3.8 million from NJCC for 12 projects ranging from small single-family rehabilitation projects to larger multi-family new construction in Camden, Atlantic, Ocean, Burlington, Mercer, and Monmouth counties. 
 
“NJCC didn’t just give us loans, they gave us advice. They see themselves not only as lenders, but as partners to our work. And that goes a long way to helping us meet our mission,” said Kent Pipes. “They understand the struggles of nonprofits and work collaboratively to make sure we succeed.”
 

In 2017 - nearly thirty years to the date from providing the initial $10,000 loan - NJCC provided Salt and Light its largest investment to date, $1.2 million to support the renovation of a Mount Holly mixed-use building and the development of an adjacent two-acre, vacant parcel, where Salt and Light plans to construct up to 28 units of affordable housing.
 
”As our very first borrower and longest relationship, our connection with Salt and Light is particularly special as we reflect on 30 years of work and impact”, said Wayne T. Meyer, NJCC’s President. “It also illustrates - despite all of our growth, complexity and innovation - we remain true to our core mission, partnering with local community builders like Salt and Light to finance community-driven solutions.”
 
 “NJCC is very skilled at understanding the huge projects - ones much larger than ours - and the small projects. It’s a really important skill set.. Thanks to financing from NJCC, Salt and Light continues to provide sustainable housing solutions for New Jersey’s most underserved populations,” concluded Kent.