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  • April 17, 2022 11:05 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    by Ethan DeWitt,

    New Hampshire Bulletin

    The New Hampshire Joint Legislative Fiscal Committee approved a $100 million, federally funded housing investment plan Friday, a critical step for a proposal touted by Gov. Chris Sununu as a means to increase rental capacity and workforce housing.

    Voting 8-2, the committee signed off on a program to devote $60 million to matching grants for housing developments in the state and $40 million to grants to incentivize towns to speed up permitting processes and overhaul zoning laws. The initiative still requires approval from the state’s Executive Council, which meets April 20.

    The new program would allow developers or housing organizations to apply for up to $3 million in matched funding for projects, provided those projects would be used for rental housing and include at least five units.

    If the program is approved next week, the application period will begin in June, said Department of Business and Economic Affairs Commissioner Taylor Caswell, whose department designed the program and would be tasked with distributing the money. Developers will have until June 2023 to apply.

    Meanwhile, towns will be eligible for $10,000 per unit of new housing they approve within six months, and will have access to funding to help demolish dilapidated properties or to hire consultants to help overhaul their zoning ordinances.

    Addressing the committee Friday, Caswell said he expected many of the early grants to go toward developments driven by housing nonprofits.

    “I’m anticipating that the first several rounds of this program would be held exclusively for our nonprofit developers who are developing exclusively those types of affordable units,” he said. “And for smaller developments.”

    But some Democrats have continued to express concern that the initiative does not include income requirements, and urged Caswell to prioritize affordable housing projects when approving applications.

    During Friday’s Fiscal Committee meeting, Sen. Cindy Rosenwald, a Nashua Democrat, asked Caswell why the department had opted to categorize the funds as “revenue replacement,” a designation that exempts the state from certain income limits. Approving the funds under the standard process would have required that the state target them to families making 300 percent of the federal poverty level or below.

    “There’s no requirement for affordability standards,” Rosenwald said. “So I’m wondering why we chose not to build affordable housing with these public funds?”

    Caswell said the state had used the revenue replacement approach in order to maximize flexibility for the projects and avoid limitations. But he said he expected many of the housing developments that apply for the funding to already have income targets because they are receiving external grants that require that.

    Still, he said, the department anticipated a mix.

    “They will be projects that have a zoning requirement that might be forced by locality, like an inclusionary zoning requirement,” he said. “They might be projects that have mixed income within them, so there’s a component that has an affordability piece to it, but then there’s a market rate component to that. And they might be in a rural town where you have an old Victorian house that somebody’s converting into five, six, seven units.”

    Caswell said the department would publish lists of which projects get approved and how much each receives. And he said guidance for how developments could apply would be published ahead of June.

    Rep. Susan Almy, a Lebanon Democrat, noted issues Lebanon has had with building affordable housing; housing developments that have been approved recently have tended to benefit residents making above the median income, she said, and not those who need it most. Still, Almy said she would support the funding due to the extreme need in the Upper Valley.

    Senate President Chuck Morse, a Salem Republican and a candidate for U.S. Senate, said he supported the intention to make the program as flexible as possible.

    First announced during Sununu’s State of the State address in February, the $100 million plan has received varying reactions from advocacy groups. ABLE NH, a disability rights group, has opposed the structure of the program, contending that it should be targeted to low-income residents and include guarantees for independent living projects, noting that people with disabilities have been burdened by the pandemic.

    But one leading affordable housing organization, Housing Action New Hampshire, is supportive of the move.

    “There are certainly a lot of projects from the nonprofit developer community that are focused on delivering affordable units to New Hampshire’s workforce, that are in the pipeline and honestly have competed for very limited resources,” said Elissa Margolin, the organization’s director. “And so now we have an opportunity to move a lot of those ahead and then partner with municipalities at the same time.”

    The next step, Margolin continued, is to organize applications so that the affordable housing projects are given priority.

    New Hampshire Bulletin is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Hampshire Bulletin maintains editorial independence.

    Contact Editor Dana Wormald for questions: info@newhampshirebulletin.com. Follow New Hampshire Bulletin on Facebook and Twitter.

  • March 28, 2022 7:38 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    This April, celebrate Move Your Money Month with The Local Crowd Monadnock. 

    What’s Move Your Money Month?  It’s a time to inspire you to move your money closer to home -- by banking with a community bank or credit union and investing in locally owned businesses in our region.  Move Your Money Month is part of the Shop Indie Local movement, urging individuals to boost the ripple effect of economic and community benefits we receive when we spend and invest our dollars at locally owned businesses.

    Move Your Money: Bank Local

    When you move your money to a community bank or credit union in our region, more of your dollars recirculate throughout our local economy -- building more local jobs and prosperity.

    To back up a bit, what’s the difference between traditional banks, community banks, and credit unions? Traditional banks, publicly owned by stockholders, exist to provide a return on investment to its owners. Typically, these owners do not live where the bank does business. Community banks are privately owned and not publicly traded. These banks usually serve a specific geographical region.  A credit union is a cooperative, meaning its members own it -- the people who use its services and live or work locally.

    “The fortunes of local banks and credit unions are intimately tied to the fortunes of their local communities. The more the community prospers, the more the local bank benefits,” said Stacy Mitchell from the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. “Big banks, in contrast, are not tethered to the places where they operate. Indeed, they often use a community’s deposits to make investments in other regions or on Wall Street.”

    Banking with a community bank or credit union often means getting the same services at lower fees than larger banks. Yup, more value for you and your community.  “Average fees at small banks and credit unions are substantially lower than at big banks,” added Stacy. “Studies show that small financial institutions also offer, on average, better interest rates on savings and better terms on credit cards and other loans.”

    Move Your Money closer to home and closer to your heart by choosing a bank more in line with your values. Who do you bank with now?  Search for them at mightydeposits.com and find out what your bank does with your money.  Discover how many dollars your bank invests in your community.

    “The primary activity of almost all small banks and credit unions is to turn deposits into loans and other productive investments,” shared Stacy.  “Meanwhile, big banks devote a sizeable share of their resources to speculative trading and other Wall Street bets that may generate big profits for the bank but provide little economic or social value for the rest of us and can put the entire financial system at risk if they go bad.”

    Learn more about community banking at ilsr.org/banking

    Top 5 Reasons to Choose a Community Bank or Credit Union

    Move Your Money: Invest Local

    In addition to moving your money to a community bank or credit union, we encourage you to invest in locally owned businesses. Why? The Monadnock Region Indie Impact Study found that businesses rooted in our region recirculate up to four times more money in our local economy compared to national chain stores. If we invested more capital in locally owned businesses, we’d see a return on investment that included more jobs and community prosperity.

    “Americans now have $56 trillion in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, pension funds, and insurance funds—nearly all of it invested in global corporations,” said Michael Shuman, author and local economist.  “If you and your neighbors could shift even a small amount of that capital from Wall Street to Main Street, your local economy could flourish.”

    Ready to learn more?  Sign up for The Main Street Journal, published by Michael Shuman, highlighting local investing news and events.  Also, we’ll share local investing opportunities on our website throughout Move Your Money Month. 

    Stay tuned!

    Invest in Our Planet

     We’ll also celebrate Earth Day in April.  “Invest in Our Planet,” this year’s theme, connects perfectly with Move Your Money Month.  Find ways to share your time, talents, and treasures with our planet by investing in locally owned businesses, sustainable agriculture, alternative transportation, renewable energy, energy efficiency, and equity.  

    Need some inspiration? Join us at Monadnock Earth Festival on April 23, from 12 pm – 4 pm in downtown Keene.  Learn about what others are doing and making to invest in our planet, enjoy performers, and participate in activities from Railroad Square Park to the Monadnock Food Co-op.  Hope to see you there!

    Also, check out how our friends at Vital Communities connect with the Invest in Our Planet Earth Month theme.

  • March 04, 2022 6:30 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We're getting ready for Move Your Money: Bank Local, Invest Local Month that starts April 1.

    One of our first steps: Identify banks that help us keep our money closer to home.

    Our criteria:

    • Independent and privately held (not publicly traded).
    • Headquarted in New Hampshire (or within 20 miles of NH border).
    • Bank branch located in the Monadnock Region.

    Here's who we found (listed alphabetically):

    Bank of New Hampshire (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Laconia, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Branch in Antrim

    GFA Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Gardner, MA
    Ownership: Co-op
    Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge

    Mascoma Bank (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: White River Junction, VT
    Ownership: Mutual
    About: Certified B-Corp
    Branches in Keene, Peterborough, Rindge

    Precision Federal Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Keene, NH
    Ownership: Co-op
    Member Eligibility

    Savings Bank of Walpole (view impact data)
    Part of: NHTrust Financial Advisors
    Headquartered in: Concord, NH
    Ownership: Mutual
    Branches in Keene, Walpole, Winchester

    Service Credit Union (view impact data)
    Headquartered in: Portsmouth, NH
    Ownership: Co-op
    Branches in Keene, Hinsdale

    Did we miss any community banks or credit unions?  Send us an email.

  • February 26, 2022 5:31 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    St. Patrick's DayThis St. Patrick's Day, keep the green in your community and choose local first.

    If you plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day at home this year, order take-out at an independent restaurant or purchase meals ingredients at locally owned market. This year, despite the pandemic, Americans plan to spend $5.87 billion to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Let's shift some of that spending to locally owned businesses!

    Locally owned businesses help us keep the green in our communities. They strengthen our local economy, culture, and well-being. Independent businesses re-circulate more money in our community than chain stores. Moreover, studies show that small businesses create most new jobs.

    Want to do more? Move Your Money

  • February 26, 2022 5:03 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    We’re very excited to share that Monadnock Food Co-op selected Shop Indie Local as a Round It Up Donation Drive partner for March.  Starting March 1, donate your change to us at the Monadnock Food Co-op to help expand Shop Indie Local into a year-round movement in the Monadnock Region.

    Shop Indie Local celebrates locally owned businesses and works to increase spending at and investment in these businesses through events like Plaid Friday and Cider Monday. Supporting independent businesses is the key to building stronger local, equitable, and inclusive economies.

    "The Monadnock Region continues to serve as a model for how communities can implement a strong Shop Indie Local holiday campaign," said Michael Faber, Monadnock Food Co-op General Manager. "We're excited to see this movement expand to include campaigns to boost local investing and eating more locally grown and raised foods."

  • February 25, 2022 10:21 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Register for NH Gives Today!

    Any 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofit organization headquartered in or providing services in NH can sign up to participate in the 24-hour giving day that has raised more than $8 million dollars for more than 900 nonprofits since 2016. Is your favorite nonprofit participating?
    NH Gives, an initiative of the NH Center for Nonprofits, is the Granite State's largest day-of-giving - bringing together hundreds of nonprofits and tens of thousands of donors to raise as much money and awareness as possible for the causes they care about. Make sure your favorite charitable nonprofit knows about NH Gives.  Registration is now open.
    Find out more or register today and be a part of NH Gives 2022 at https://www.nhgives.org/info/application-preparation or visit https://www.nhgives.org/info/faq to learn more about it.

  • February 13, 2022 7:32 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Thanks to all of your support, The Local Crowd Monadnock met our crowdfunding goal of raising at least $100K for local businesses and initiatives in 2021.

    Here's a summary of our major accomplishments for last year:

    • Launched the Monadnock Restaurant Project, a homegrown stimulus effort that raised close to $30K to purchase gift cards from locally owned restaurants.  We strategically dispersed these gift cards to community members through partnering businesses.  Then, we asked participants to spend these cards quickly and above what the card is worth, providing an immediate shot in the arm to Keene’s local economy.
    • Grew our online marketplace for our region’s locally owned businesses, called TLC Monadnock Mercantile, compiling local products, gift cards, and takeout menus from 203 businesses all in one site.  
    • Collectively raised over $103K from 745 supporters for 8 crowdfunding campaigns in 2021.  See all our campaigns here!
    • Served as program manager for Shop Indie Local, a program of the American Independent Business Alliance, that boosted the success of Plaid Friday and Cider Monday in our region and throughout the nation.

    TLC Monadnock can't do this work without your support, so again THANK YOU!  We can't wait to see what we accomplish together in 2022.

    Download Our Report

  • January 25, 2022 4:39 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    Show Your Local Love This Valentine’s Day

    This Valentine’s Day, show your “local love” -- love for your sweetie and your whole community -- by purchasing gifts (or gift-making supplies) and meals (or ingredients) at locally owned businesses.   Last year, despite the pandemic, Americans spent $21.8 billion on Valentine’s DayImagine if we shifted some of that spending to locally owned businesses!

    Locally owned businesses offer us much to love.  They strengthen our local economy, culture, and wellbeing. Independent businesses re-circulate four times more money in our community than chain stores.  Moreover, studies show that small businesses create most new jobs -- meaning today’s local Valentines are tomorrow’s jobs.

    Last year’s National Retail Federation survey found that 24 percent of Americans planned to celebrate with a special evening out (the lowest in the survey’s history). Instead, 41 percent planned to hold that special meal at home.  Also, no surprise, online stores were the top place to shop for gifts.  If you plan to shop for Valentine’s gifts online, please check if your favorite locally owned shop has an online store.  Or browse our online collection of Valentine’s Day items from independent businesses at TLC Monadnock Mercantile.

    Here are some extra special ways to show your local love this Valentine’s Day:

    Purchase chocolates from Ava Marie Handmade Chocolates in Peterborough, Life is Sweet Candy Shop in Keene, Ye Goodie Shop in Keene, or L.A. Burdick Chocolates in Walpole.  Have you seen Burdick’s seasonal Chocolate Tigers to celebrate the Year of the Tiger? Adorable and available to ship now through February 5.

    Give a gift that keeps giving, select a weekly Flower CSA Share from Vera Flora Farm in Gilsum, Ripple Cut Flower Farm in Peterborough, or Catbird Flower Farm in Keene.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, meaning your purchase of a share now helps these farmers invest in the future growing season with confidence -- knowing that their bounty will go to a good home.

    Send a greeting card from Tree-Free Greetings.  They make their cards out of sustainable materials such as kenaf, hemp, wheat straw, and sugarcane waste -- right at their solar-powered facility here in Keene.  Tree-Free donates 25% of their revenue (not just their profits) to nonprofits through their Cards for a Cause program.  Pick up a card online or at Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene.

    On February 11, join the Monadnock Food Co-op in Keene for their Local Love Sample Night from 4-6 p.m. Enjoy free samples of local and regional goodies perfect for a Valentine’s Day gift or to complement a Valentine’s Day meal.

    Great news!  Last year, for the FIRST TIME, small businesses made it to the top five Valentine’s shopping destinations in National Retail Federation’s survey.  The local love spirit is growing!  So, continue to show lots of local love this Valentine’s Day. That love will circle back to you, your loved ones, and -- best of all -- your entire community.

    Looking for another way to show the local love and support local economies everywhere?  Support our Shop Indie Local crowdfunding campaign on The Local Crowd Monadnock and fuel our year-round movement to grow more local, equitable, and inclusive economies.  With your help, we’ll strengthen campaigns like Plaid Friday and Eat Local Month in the Monadnock Region and throughout North America.  Plus, we’ll add new efforts like Move Your Money and Shop Black-Owned Month. 

    Give today!

    Our crowdfunding campaign also offers a limited number of rewards to individuals who give at certain financial levels. For example, for $25, you can opt to receive a signed copy of local economist Michael Shuman’s latest book, Put Your Money Where Your Life Is

    Offline donations are also accepted. Checks should be made out to AMIBA with “Shop Indie Local” in the memo and mailed to AMIBA, PO Box 6601, Cincinnati, OH, 45206-9998.  Thank you for fueling the Shop Indie Local Movement!

  • January 02, 2022 8:56 AM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    The American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA) partnered with The Local Crowd Monadnock to launch a crowdfunding campaign. This campaign will raise funds to grow AMIBA’s Shop Indie Local program, a year-round movement to grow more local, equitable, and inclusive economies.

    “For the past decade, our Shop Indie Local partners have pulled together to support locally owned businesses during the holiday season,” said Jen Risley, AMIBA’s Shop Indie Local Coordinator. “Now, we invite you to fuel our year-round movement!”

    Our crowdfunding campaign will offer a limited number of rewards to individuals who give at certain financial levels. For example, for $25, a campaign supporter can opt to receive a signed copy of local economist Michael Shuman‘s latest book, Put Your Money Where Your Life Is.

    Offline donations are also accepted. Checks should be made out to AMIBA with “Shop Indie Local” in the memo and mailed to AMIBA, PO Box 6601, Cincinnati, OH, 45206-9998.

    Support Our Campaign Today!

  • December 27, 2021 12:09 PM | TLC Monadnock (Administrator)

    19th Annual Keene Ice and Snow Festival

    Saturday, February 5, 10am - 4pm

    In Downtown Keene, NH

    Come to Downtown Keene for a day of free winter fun for everyone!

    Ice Carvers, Snow Sculptures, Children's Train Ride, Snow Slide, Circus Arts, Campfire Smores, Sugar on Snow, Sidewalk Sales, Find the Yetis Scavenger Hunt & Free Signature Hot Chocolate Stations, Face Painting & More. 

    Stay Updated

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