September 01, 2020
The project found a perfect nest within a creative social endeavor now under construction at the site of Erie’s former Wayne School, where the 100-year-old school building is being transformed into a community hub to promote and house education, wellness, the arts, and, above all, hope.
The building is owned and currently under development by the Erie Center for Arts and Technology (ECAT), a nonprofit offering free education for at-risk youth and adults in need of job training. A welcoming space of light and beauty is central to ECAT’s mission so as to give people a sense of worth.
Following the completion of a $10 million renovation to the building, ECAT plans to fully operationalize in the spring of 2021. ECAT will be joined by other like-minded community assets who chose this location for its accessibility to those who need opportunity most.
Everything about the Wayne School project is creative. The concepts, the people behind it, and even the financing. ECAT Executive Director Daria Devlin cobbled together a unique and creative financing package, including loans, donations, rental income, and the New Markets Tax Credit Program. An important piece of the project’s financing, this federal program is a financial vehicle never before resourced in Erie County and is designed to incentivize the flow of capital to businesses and low-income communities.
And so, it was that a mix of approximately 50 lenders, donors, tenants, dignitaries, and supporters recently gathered to lend their presence to a momentous groundbreaking event at the Wayne School construction site. Having overcome repeated obstacles to reach this point, the day provided a high note on a long yet purposeful journey.
Hamot Health Foundation is proud to have been a leading partner in the ECAT story from its inception, having committed $1 million along with UPMC Hamot’s resolve to seek diversity and inclusion within the community we love and serve.
HHF is also pleased to thank our supporters who gave $21,623 to our mission through Erie Gives 2020. These generous donations will all go toward the Wayne School project, creating health and hope in our community. Thank you for helping us change lives.
The corner of East Sixth Street and East Avenue, along with the surrounding neighborhood, has been no stranger to struggle. Today this corner is morphing before our very eyes into a new sort of intersection where hope and education cross paths to generate promise and opportunity.— Boo Hagerty, President, Hamot Health Foundation