Above: The Northside Community Development Fund offices in Deutschtown.

The Northside Community Development Fund held its fifth annual luncheon last Thursday at the Lexus Club in PNC Park. Secretary C. Alan Walker, Jr. of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development was this year’s keynote speaker.

The NSCDF provides financing and development services to promote community development as well as an array of financial products and technical assistance services. This year, the fund received $1.45 million in additional loan capital for Northside businesses and real estate projects.

“The support for businesses in the Northside is both inspiring and humbling,” said Executive Director Mark Masterson.

At the luncheon, the NSCDF was presented with checks for $50,000 from Huntington Bank, $250,000 from the U.S. Department of Treasury Small Business Loan Fund, $440,000 from the U.S. Small Business Administration, $450,000 from The Rivers Casino and $450,000 from the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development.

Since 2000, NSCDF has financed more than 120 Northside businesses and 14 strategic real estate projects. The Fund has grown its loan capital base from $2 million in 2006 to more than $11 million.

NSCDF has provided loans to Northside commercial staples such as Bistro-to-Go, Penn Brewery and the new Allegheny Inn, as well as housing projects like the Federal Hill Homes and Columbus Square.

Since 2000, businesses receiving assistance from the Fund have created or retained more than 750 jobs.

Masterson welcomed the guests and introduced Secretary Walker. He reported that the NSCDF continues to support businesses and create valuable real estate that draws visitors and residents to the Northside.

Walker added to Masterson’s tone of optimism and forward thought during his keynote address.

“Small businesses are the back bone of our economy and the cornerstone of our community,” said Walker. “We’ve gotten a lot accomplished already and we’re still making great strides. We are on the verge of something really great here in Pennsylvania.”

Masterson added a special thank you to small businesses for making the Northside their home.

Walter Nalducci of the Northside Leadership Conference closed the luncheon on behalf of Joe Lawrence, the Board Chair of the NSCDF.

“You’re the reason the Northside is a different place than it was five years ago,” Nalducci said to those in attendance. “You’re the reason it’ll be a different place five years from now.”