Tonkon Torp Helps Albina Head Start Stabilize Finances for Enhanced Programming

Albina Head Start, Inc. (AHS), which serves more than 1,000 low-income children and their families in North, Northeast and Southeast Portland, today faces the future in a stronger financial position thanks to a significant pro bono effort by Tonkon Torp over the past ten months.

A team led by business lawyer Owen Blank and including Kimberlee Stafford, Kristin Bremer Moore and Sherrill Corbett represented AHS in a series of complex transactions that helped the organization to retire a seven figure debt on its centers and create a seven figure reserve. Its substantially improved financial position enables Albina Head Start to enhance its services to children and their families, maintain its buildings and cover increased health care costs for its employees. AHS provides both Early Head Start and Head Start programs.

Taking advantage of the federal New Market Tax Credit Program and a complex partnership that includes United Fund Advisers (Portland Family of Funds), U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, Wells Fargo Community Investment Holdings, U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo Bank and other entities, Tonkon Torp helped AHS retire the debt on three of its five buildings, and obtain donations of two other properties, resulting in savings of more than $150,000 in annual debt service. In addition to providing ongoing counsel to the AHS board and executives, Tonkon Torp handled the real estate work on all five Head Start properties and advised on information privacy, employment, and security issues related to New Market Tax Credits reporting requirements. The multiple entities involved in structuring and completing the transactions, along with obtaining federal and state tax credits for the same transaction, may make this deal one of the most complex ever done for a Head Start program.

Owen Blank has provided pro bono services to Albina Head Start for almost 20 years.

Head Start is a national program that promotes school readiness by enhancing the social and cognitive development of children through the provision of educational, health, nutritional, social and other services to enrolled children and families. Albina Head Start has served Portland’s low-income families and children since 1965.