$486,000 FCLF FINANCING (3 loans)
Construction and permanent financing
Urban garden and rehabilitation of commercial-retail space
The Isaiah Project, Inc. has a mission to restore, renew, and rebuild its community, including giving people in need a second chance. The Isaiah Project is located and works in Midtown St. Petersburg, an area with a 34% poverty rate and a median income of 70% of area AMI (average median income). The organization’s founders, Elihu and Carolyn Brayboy, have lived in the area for many years and have invested in helping the community thrive, seeing opportunity where others see rundown buildings and empty lots.
Financing from Florida Community Loan Fund provided construction and permanent funding to allow the Isaiah Project to renovate two adjacent properties. The “Bubba Newkirk” building is being transformed into retail space, including gardens to provide fresh food, garden boxes, compost for sale, and employment opportunities for women coming out of incarceration. The “Leggett” building restoration returned a vacant 4-unit strip center into productive commercial space which has been leased to 4 women entrepreneurs providing goods and services to the community.
A farmer’s market held seasonally on Saturdays features produce grown in the garden, including collards, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, mustard greens, and herbs. Local farmers are also participating to bring fresh food to the community. This is the first phase of a larger vision by the Isaiah Project, called the Sissle/Davis Initiative, to establish hydroponic farms in the area, bringing even more jobs and fresh food to the community.
Florida Community Loan Fund also provided Isaiah Project with a hurricane recovery loan in 2017 for damages to another St. Petersburg Midtown building.
Isaiah Project In The News: St. Pete Catalyst, August 28, 2020, "Deuces developers take the wraps off renovation, introduce new businesses."
Pictured above, Isaiah Project founder Carolyn Brayboy at the community garden. Below, 22nd Street business district, the neighborhood surrounding The Isaiah Project.