Annual Report | 2015
We build public charter
school buildings for
students in neighborhoods
where the need is greatest.
We are improving education,
and changing lives.
Letter from the Board Chairman and CEO
Standing at the corner of 104th Street and 2nd Avenue in East Harlem, you
will see the newly completed DREAM Charter School and the nearly
completed East Harlem Scholars Academy (EHSA) growing from the
ground up. DREAM bustles with activity as over 450 students in grades K-8
come here each morning for school. When EHSA’s new building is
complete in 2016, it will be a learning hub for 400 students. That’s over 800
Civic Builders student seats in one city block.
Civic Builders is proud to make these educational experiences possible for
students in East Harlem and beyond. In 2015, we opened three new charter
schools: DREAM Charter School in East Harlem, Blackstone Valley Prep
Middle School in Rhode Island, and Great Oaks Charter High School in
Newark. These schools make space for over 1,000 students in high-need
communities to receive the education they deserve.
At Civic Builders, we believe real estate should never be a barrier to an
excellent education. We find the areas where charter school growth is
needed most, and develop facilities that are tailored to each school’s
unique spatial and educational needs. Our impact is not confined to the
classroom. Every dollar we invest in schools not only benefits students,
but also pays dividends to the traditionally underserved communities
where we focus our work. New buildings help to breathe new life into
blighted landscapes. New schools bring jobs. And, education breeds hope.
Years of disinvestment in certain neighborhoods means that basic
community infrastructure such as public school buildings, libraries, and
parks are often in disrepair. Within these neighborhoods, and around the
country, there is a collective of educators who believe that a different life is
possible. These educators know that with high-quality education every
student can live up to their full potential, and transform the neighborhoods
in which they live. But finding and developing the space needed for schools
is a major hurdle. Civic Builders is prepared to help school leaders bridge
As we look forward to 2016, we will stay true to our flagship development
approach of serving the charter school sector, while also expanding our
services to keep pace with the rapid growth within the sector. We spent the
past year completing a thoughtful strategic planning process culminating
in the launch of a new 5-year plan for growth and impact.
With your help we can make high-quality education a reality for all
students for years to come.
Board Chairman, Civic Builders
CEO, Civic Builders
A recent study by the Center for
Research on Educational Outcomes at
Stanford University found that charter
schools do a better job than traditional
schools at teaching low- income
students, minority students, and
students who are still learning English.
new student spaces
Civic Builders seats
Innovative 5-Year plan
developed and launched
to facilitate the growth
of the public charter
Targeted Community Impact
Civic Builders strategically invests in
communities where the growth of
high-quality school options is needed
In 2015, Civic Builders'
peer district schools by an
average of 11 points in
Math and ELA.
Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School
BVP’s mission is to prepare every scholar for college and the world beyond.
› 31,000 Square Feet
› 325 Students
› Grades 5-8
Blackstone Valley Prep (BVP) Middle School is part of the Blackstone Valley Prep Mayoral Academies, a network of
high-performing charter schools in Rhode Island. Civic Builders has supported BVP's success for several years:
opening an elementary school and middle school and now partnering to secure a permanent home for the BVP high
In 2014, with the help of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Civic Builders purchased a former Catholic school
building and completed renovations to be ready for students in August 2015. Although the building was architecturally
beautiful, it needed significant work to bring it up to par with all of the other schools in BVP’s network. On August 31st,
325 middle school students walked into a newly renovated building.
With the help of Civic Builders, BVP is able to provide its students continuity in their educational experience, from
elementary school all the way through to high school graduation. The importance of this continuity is reflected in BVP’s
educational success. In 2015, BVP High School and Elementary School 2 were named Commended Schools by the
Rhode Island Department of Education and were the only 2 out of the 17 honored to serve a predominantly low-income
student population. BVP High School was the only high school in the state to receive this commendation.
Harlem RBI DREAM Charter School
DREAM Charter School’s mission is to provide inner-city youth with opportunities to play, learn and grow. They use
the power of teams to coach, teach and inspire youth to recognize their potential and realize their dreams.
› 55,000 Square Feet
› 450 Students
› Grades PK-8
When DREAM Charter School opened the doors to its new school building for the first time last August, students
walked into the first new public school building to open in East Harlem in over 30 years.
The school represents a major accomplishment for Civic Builders. The site is not only home to DREAM Charter
School where 450 more students will receive an incredible education, but it is also home to much needed resources
available to the entire East Harlem community: a community space, a medical facility, a renovated city park and
affordable housing units.
To make this project a reality, Civic Builders worked in collaboration with several major institutions, including the
NYC Housing Authority, NYC School Construction Authority, NYC Department of Education, NYC Parks Department,
and many others. Civic Builders' ability to work in combination with these agencies is paramount to the success of a
project of this scale.
This mixed-use approach to urban school development represents an innovative model of Civic Builders' work, one
that looks at the overall health of the community, and creates solutions to long-standing problems. Now, at DREAM
Charter School, students and their families have everything they need to succeed in one place.
Great Oaks Newark High School
The mission of the Great Oaks Foundation is to launch and support a network of charter schools that prepare
students for college success through high-dosage tutoring.
› 36,400 Square Feet
› 310 Students
› Grades 9-12
When Great Oaks Newark High School began its partnership with Civic Builders, the school had already moved facilities
once. With only a short-term lease at its new facility, the school desperately needed a long-term solution but lacked the
necessary resources. To address this need, Civic Builders bought the property from the school’s landlord and entered a
long-term lease with the school, including an option to eventually purchase the facility.
With the stability of a long-term space, Great Oaks educators can continue to focus on preparing students for college. Great
Oaks believes every student has the ability to succeed at a competitive four-year university, regardless of their background.
To ensure that their students excel, Great Oaks pairs students with tutors. In small groups, the tutors offer personalized
learning, so that any skill gaps are sealed without falling behind.
Civic Builders is also completing renovations and capital improvements to provide the school with a regulation-sized
gymnasium. All too often, inner-city students don’t have access to adequate recreational space. Physical activity in schools
promotes fitness, self-confidence, and healthy habits. Civic Builders is pleased to offer students at Great Oaks a
transformative space to play and learn.
› Lack of access to affordable capital is a significant barrier for charter
› To help fill the gap in funding resources, Civic Builders sources New
Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs) and US DOE Credit Enhancement.
› NMTCs and US DOE Credit Enhancement have been critical to the
development of several charter schools in our portfolio.
Development and Construction
› Civic Builders works with school leaders to understand their space needs
and unique educational philosophy so that educators can focus on
instruction and fulfilling a school's mission.
› Civic Builders shepherds a school through every stage of the building
process, from finding and purchasing the right property, to developing the
space along a set timeline, to navigating any complexities that accompany
projects of this scale.
› In high-demand areas like Harlem and the South Bronx, Civic Builders
actively scouts and purchases buildings to quickly and affordably develop
space for schools when their need is immediate.
Growing High-Quality Schools
› Educational inequality is one of the most pressing social issues of our time. All
across America, students in low-income communities aren’t receiving the
education they deserve, which leaves them under prepared to enter college and
compete in the workforce.
› For many students, charter schools offer the chance for a high-quality education.
› Civic Builders knows that by connecting school leaders to the resources they
need, we can accelerate the growth of charter schools in New York City and
beyond, creating seats for the million students nationwide who are on waiting lists.
Civic Builders was founded in 2002 to address the immediate need for charter
school facilities in New York City and the Northeast. We are comprised of a
multi-talented team from the real estate, finance, and education sectors. Together,
our team handles every detail of the facilities development process, including
financing, design, and construction. Our mission is simple: real estate should never
be a barrier to an excellent education. Since our founding we have developed 21
schools, serving over 11,000 students in under-resourced communities such as
East Harlem, the South Bronx, and Bedford-Stuyvesant. We have developed over a
million square feet of real estate and invested more than $600M into the
communities we serve. Our expertise in bringing schools online allows educators to
do what they do best: provide an excellent education to students in high-need
communities, expanding opportunities for generations to come.
Bronx Charter School for the Arts
Excellence Boys Charter School of Bedford-Stuyvesant
Bronx Lighthouse Charter School
Democracy Prep Harlem Middle School
New Heights Academy Charter School
Achievement First Endeavor Charter School
Icahn Charter School 2
North Star Academy College Preparatory High School
Hyde Leadership Charter School
Harlem Village Academies High School
Urban Dove TEAM Charter School
PAVE Academy Charter School
HCZ Promise Academy Charter School
Harlem RBI/DREAM Charter School
Brilla College Preparatory Charter School
East Harlem Scholars Academy Charter School
Heketi Community Charter School
Blackstone Valley Prep Elementary School 2
Blackstone Valley Prep Middle School 1
Great Oaks Newark High School
Charter School Performance
Civic Builders’ schools routinely
outperform their sending districts on
standardized testing with 98% of Civic
Builders’ scholars graduating high
school and 91% advancing on to college.
My school allowed me to
strive for better things and
push myself past the
standards set for a minority.
My school has enabled and
encouraged me to branch
out and strive for success in
college and in life.
- Jose Martinez -
Class of 2015
New Heights Academy Charter School
Aggregate Balance Sheet*
2015 2014 2013
Total Liabilities and
* Aggregate Balance Sheet includes Civic Builders, Inc., subsidiaries, affiliates, and unrelated sponsored entities.
This presentation does not conform with GAAP; audited financial statements are available upon request.
© 2015 CIVIC BUILDERS, INC.