Capital Link's story began nearly 30 years ago when several organizations leading the community health center movement came together to create a non-profit devoted to providing health centers with a range of technical assistance resources and capital planning support.
We were established in the mid-1990's through the leadership of our lending affiliate, Community Health Center Capital Fund (Capital Fund), the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC), and the Primary Care Associations in Illinois, North Carolina, and Texas—and with financial support from HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care1.
In 1994, Capital Fund was established by the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers and Neighborhood Health Plan to facilitate improved access to capital for Massachusetts health centers. By the mid-1990s, Capital Fund had established a pre-development loan fund and a tax-exempt bond program utilizing a letter of credit from a highly-rated bank and credit enhancement from Boston teaching hospitals to develop a low-cost financing option for Massachusetts health centers.
However, it became clear that in addition to low-cost financing options, health centers also needed access to technical assistance to help them develop financially viable plans for their projects. This began the effort to develop a range of tools and technical assistance resources to provide capital planning support, eventually leading to the creation of Capital Link and the transfer of Capital Fund’s assets to Capital Link to centralize capital development resources for health centers nationally.
How We've Grown
Today, as national organizations, both Capital Link and Capital Fund continue to support the community health center movement through a range of technical assistance and lending programs across the country. While much of our work still is capital project-focused, we offer a much broader range of services than at our inception.
In addition to providing direct technical assistance to health centers, Capital Link works with funding groups and partners to develop financing and technical assistance resources to help health centers expand to meet the primary and preventive health care needs of their low-income, uninsured and disadvantaged communities.
In order to assist FQHCs in closing their capital funding gaps, Capital Link works with lenders, foundations, CDFIs and other sources of capital to leverage additional low-cost capital. Throughout its history, Capital Link has developed the following innovative approaches to capital development:
Tax-Exempt Bond Program for health centers in Massachusetts
Gulf Opportunity Zone New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) Program for health centers in Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi
Use of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Loan Guarantee within an NMTC financing structure
Use of a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) direct loan with a New Markets Tax Credit transaction
The largest database of audited financial information for health centers nationally; used for financial benchmarking and educational purposes
Education of numerous lenders and foundations regarding the merits of health center investments
Timely estimates of national capital needs of health centers
Accurate estimates of capital needs for hard hit areas such as the Gulf Opportunity Zone and to determine the scope of funding needs of health centers nationally
1BPHC, a division within the federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), provided the initial grant and contract funding to establish Capital Link. Since that time Capital Link has continued to work with HRSA receiving support to provide a number of initial stage and foundational capital-related technical assistance to health centers nationally.