Blind man concept for Columbia Capital Non-Profits Case Study

Case Study 06


Alphapointe is a private, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that serves the blind and visually impaired by offering employment opportunities, vision services, education, and comprehensive rehabilitation.

Headquartered in Kansas City, Alphapointe is the third largest single employer of visually impaired individuals in the U.S., providing 400 jobs across nine locations in four states. Alphapointe is the only comprehensive rehabilitation and education agency for people with vision loss in the state of Missouri, providing outreach, services, employment and education to over 5,000 individuals a year.

In 2014, Alphapointe merged with New York City Industries for the Blind (NYCIB), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit located in Brooklyn, NY. NYCIB was the largest employer of blind or visually impaired workers in the New York City area. In late 2015, Alphapointe engaged Columbia to assist the organization with two potential financings.

Alphapointe’s Kansas City headquarters was constructed in 2002, and was financed partially using tax-exempt bonds. The bonds were issued with a put date of June 2016, and the holder of the bonds had indicated to Alphapointe that they planned on exiting at that date. Alphapointe had also begun searching for a new facility to purchase to house its New York City operations. Once Columbia was engaged, the firm worked to understand the operational and financial position of Alphapointe. It became clear that due to the cost of potential New York City facilities, a standalone financing would not be possible. However, Columbia suggested that by combining the Kansas City refunding with the New York City acquisition, Alphapointe could create a pool of collateral that would allow for both transactions to be completed.

Columbia developed a credit package that provided context for Alphapointe’s history, current operations and finances, and planned expansion. Columbia distributed the credit package to a list of local, regional, and national bank contacts. Columbia worked with these contacts to answer questions, and provide further information about Alphapointe and the proposed pooled collateral structure.

As a result of this process, Alphapointe chose Bank Midwest as its lending partner for both the Kansas City and New York City transactions. Due to the June 2016 put date deadline, it was determined that two separate transactions would occur. The transactions would use a Master Trust Indenture that would provide the pooled collateral structure necessary.

Columbia worked with Alphapointe to engage bond counsel that was familiar with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt financing in New York City and Kansas City, in order to ensure that the documents and structure would be acceptable to the separate conduit issuers in both locations. Once bond counsel was engaged, Columbia worked with the finance team to document the Kansas City refunding, and create the Master Trust structure. Columbia guided the transaction through the Kansas City Industrial Development Authority, the conduit issuer for the $5.6 million transaction. The Kansas City refunding successfully closed in June 2016.

In late 2016, Alphapointe identified a property in New York City, and began the real estate due diligence process leading to its acquisition and environmental remediation. The financing team began the documentation process to add the $18.8 million New York City financing to the Master Trust Indenture. Columbia worked with Alphapointe and BuildNYC, the New York City conduit issuer, to gain the necessary approvals, and the financing closed in June 2017.