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2022 annual report icon

Message from our CEO and Board Chairperson

In 2022, Civic Builders turned 20. This was a pivotal moment for our organization: a time to celebrate our impact thus far while simultaneously charting a meaningful path ahead for our work. Civic was founded in 2002 on the fundamental premise that every child deserves access to a quality education. That belief has been our north star, and our work to achieve that has scaled and evolved to fit the needs of our partner schools and the communities we support. Our mission remains the same, yet as an organization, we are endlessly listening and learning, and as a result, we are also evolving.

Throughout 2022, we worked collaboratively to refine our organization’s “Theory of Change”, a strategic plan to inform the next three years, which focuses on five areas of adaptive capacity building: Talent, Operational Excellence, Governance, Data & Systems, and Lending. This planning will serve as the essential groundwork for Civic’s continued impact and innovation.

We built upon our commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Racial Justice (DEIRJ). At Civic, the communities we prioritize are economically under-resourced and communities of color, groups historically shut out from a wide range of opportunities, including access to high-quality education. We also seek to partner with schools that create safe and inclusive learning spaces for students who might have otherwise not had access to them. We have a responsibility to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice in all of our work, and this year, have dedicated our efforts to embed DEIRJ practices throughout every aspect of our organization, from our lending and real estate products to our hiring.

With our organization now the largest it has ever been and continuing to grow, Civic is excited and more than ready to embark on the next 20 years. While economic challenges can make the future feel uncertain, our team remains grounded in our commitment to serving our schools and our communities. We will continue to hone our adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit to develop products that build bridges for exceptional charter schools to secure permanent homes in vibrant, student-centered facilities. Importantly, we will continue to listen, learn, and improve right alongside every member of our community who has helped carry us to where we are today. We hope you’ll join us for the many decades to come.

Thank you for your support.

David Umansky (CEO)

David Umansky Signature

Simone Brody (Board Chairperson)

Simone Brody Signature

It is difficult for charter schools to secure a low-cost facilities loan for an extended term and find an affordable facility. There are many obstacles. Civic Builders closes that gap.

Joseph Polat, Executive Director of
Buffalo Academy of Science


Real Estate Development Services

Real Estate Development Services

We develop charter school facilities from start to finish; from site identification, financing and develop- ment through construction and school occupancy; all on time and on budget. In order to build long-term financial stability, we provide schools with a path to school building ownership through our affordable, cost-based purchase option.

Financial Services

Financial Services

We unlock public financial resources for charter schools by accessing low-cost capital through products like the New Markets Tax Credit and U.S. DOE Credit Enhancement programs. We also design and steward innovative loan products like the $300 million Facilities Investment Fund (FIF), providing short-term fixed- rate loans for new construction, acquisition and facility renovation all below market pricing.

Strategic Advisory Services

Strategic Advisory Services

We partner with networks, cities, and philanthropists to design comprehensive facilities plans aligned with long-term vision, mission, financial resources and project objectives.

Our Students

Students of Color


Are Students of Color

Free Lunch


qualify for free
or reduced lunch


are high school graduates

Student at Book Fair


A Bilingual School Chooses Inclusion

Raised by Mexican-immigrant parents, Melissa grew up attending a school that, due to societal and language barriers, her parents felt excluded from. As Melissa traveled and later became a teacher in NYC, she saw firsthand the transactional connection between poverty and limited educational resources. This was particularly evident for immigrant and English Language Learner families, a story all too familiar to her own.

In response, Melissa founded the American Dream Charter School, a fully bilingual 6-12 school serving nearly 600 students in the South Bronx. At American Dream, bilingualism is recognized and emphasized as an asset, not a deficit and all parents are welcomed. American Dream also provides community-based services, including free food during the pandemic. Approximately 80% of the school’s staff speak Spanish and 50% are first-generation American.

Through ADS’s partnership with Civic Builders, the school was able to move into an incubator space and later received a permanent facility option in a Civic Builders building nearby.

Civic has been instrumental in navigating the real estate challenges that exist for charter school operators. They understand our needs and our mission. It’s a team effort – a group of people all aligned in finding a solution.

Melissa Meza Melkonian, Founder and Head
of School of The American Dream School

20 Years
of Impact
In Numbers

Click here to learn more about our impact

Real Estate Development Services


Schools Supported

Amount Invested

$1.3 Billion




Seats for Students Added

4.5 Million

Square Feet Constructed


Civic Builders is founded by David Sweeny, David Umansky and Annie Tirschwell to ensure real estate will never be a barrierto an excellent education.


Civic’s first turnkey development project is launched in New York City. Civic supported the construction of a new facility for Bronx Charter School for the Arts. The building, whose vibrant colors continue to shine a light within the neighborhood, currently serves 615 students.


Civic launches partnership with NYC Department of Education and School Construction Authority to develop 8 new schools throughout NYC.


Civic receives its first New Markets Tax Credits allocation, launching the financial services arm. Since launching the program, Civic has sourced $188.5 million in allocations to support the construction and renovation of 17 charter schools.


Civic Builders launches the Day in the Life Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships for selected students from Civic Builders partner schools which they can put toward college expenses, supporting their success in post-secondary education and adult life. In the decade since its inception, 49 students have received $225,000 in scholarships.

Cash in Hand icon2013

The Facilities Investment Fund launches with its first $100 million fund. The fund is a partnership between the Walton Family Foundation and Civic Builders in a commitment to improving facilities financing for high-performing public charter schools and networks nationwide.


Civic celebrates 20 years of impact and undergoes a Theory of Change and strategic planning process. Our staff capacity increased by more than 25%, making our organization the largest it has ever been. We look forward to working together to serve more schools and grow our impact in the future.

20 years cake icon2022

2022 In

Real Estate Development Services


Schools Supported

Amount Invested

$172 + Million




Seats Added For Students


Square Feet Constructed

Tax Credits

$55 Million

Awarded in New Markets Tax Credits allocations


$100 Million

in new funding from the Facilities Investment Fund

A High-Quality School
Opens in Harlem

Harlem School

Through our partnership with Harlem Children’s Zone, we completed the development of Harlem Children’s Zone Promise Academy II’s new elementary school building, which serves 550 students and is our second project with the school. The school is part of a larger mixed-use development project, Sendero Verde. Sendero Verde comprises 708 affordable housing units, space for the nonprofit Union Settlement, retail, green space, an outdoor performance space, and the 51,000 square foot school space. The school provides families in the East Harlem community with access to a community-based public charter school that consistently outperforms its sending district in Math and ELA state testing.

The building was financed with an $18 million New Markets Tax Credit from the New York City Regional Center, the benefit of which Civic passed on to the school to lower the rent for the full term of the lease. Civic Builders developed the school in collaboration with L&M Development Partners and Jonathan Rose Companies, enabling each organization to utilize their respective expertise in support of the development process.

Since its founding in 1970, Harlem Children’s Zone has become an internationally recognized nonprofit organization that provides high-quality education and wraparound services to tens of thousands of students and community members throughout Harlem. Civic Builders is proud to partner with schools like HCZ that are revitalizing neighborhoods through resources and opportunities.



In 2022, Civic Builders sourced $100 million in new funding for the Facilities Investment Fund through PNC Bank and the Walton Family Foundation. This innovative capitalization structure brings together $300 million in total of private and philanthropic capital to offer schools the best possible rates and terms for their facilities financing. This funding will directly support the expansion and enhancement of charter school facilities, creating 6,500 additional seats for students in under-resourced communities. To date, FIF has invested over $226 million in 24 charter schools nationwide, providing over 14,000 students with a high-quality education. Learn more about the Facilities Investment Fund here.

A School in Texas Finds its Home

Our first loan with the new funding closed with Texas Empowerment Academy Charter (TXEA) School in Austin, Texas for $18 million. The financing supports the construction of a new school building which will serve 800 students, ranging from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. 100% of TXEA’s students identify students of color, and the school is led by an entirely African American management team. TXEA also has a 100% high school graduation and college enrollment rate.

Texas School

Civic Builders provided as much support as we needed. It felt more like a partnership and a team effort than just another vendor – we really felt like they were rooting for us. We now have our own home. We can serve even more families and show them that they have an option for their children to pursue a solid education.

Llyas Salahud-Din,
Chief Development Officer
of Texas Empowerment Academy

Board of

David Umansky

Simone Brody
Board Chairperson

David Loo
Board Vice-Chair, Treasurer

Khary Barnes
Board Secretary, Governance and Evaluation Committee Chair

Susie Miller Carello
Impact and Performance Chair

J. David Sweeny
Vipul Tandon
Ron Beit
Genger Charles
Eben Ellertson
Brahm Cramer
Keith Rand
Alan Sage

Meet Our New Board Chairperson


Beginning my career with over a decade in finance and venture capital, my experience investing in early-stage education companies sparked my interest in how innovation is used to improve social goods, including education, public safety, affordable housing, and more. I joined the Bloomberg Administration in New York City and have been working to improve how NYC and then other local governments around the country better meet residents’ needs. Most recently, I worked for the Biden Administration on the American Rescue Plan where I supported state and local governments’ economic recovery from the pandemic.
Charter schools have brought unprecedented innovation to the public school system – both in their individual outcomes and how they’ve helped reimagine what our education system can do. For school leaders who are passionate about educating students, opening a new charter school while finding a school building that meets the ambition and creativity of their vision, is an overwhelming amount of work. Civic’s support of these educators helps make their vision a reality and unlocks the potential of students in the communities we serve.

I have gained so much from joining the Civic Board! A few highlights that rise to the top include:

  • Visiting a new Civic partner school facility that rivals any school campus I’ve seen in the country; and seeing so many students finally be given the learning environment they deserve and one that will help them thrive.
  • Seeing the Civic team proactively take on the challenge of becoming a truly inclusive organization by changing both internal practices and our organizational goals to more fully enable access and opportunity to a broader group of charter organizations and families.
  • Working with my fellow board members, who volunteer their time, talent and humor to give more young people the opportunity to realize their full potential.
I love Civic’s commitment to innovation and continuous improvement. We still don’t know enough about how to address our most intractable challenges, like ensuring a high-quality education for all young people in this country. But organizations like Civic are pushing the envelope everyday to find more effective and impactful ways to make a great education a reality for more kids.




* 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.