Junior Achievement of South Florida (“Junior Achievement”) was founded in 1959 by the Fort Lauderdale Rotary Club and served just 373 high school students during its first year. Programs now span grades K-12, with age-appropriate curricula designed to teach elementary students about their roles as individuals, workers, and consumers and to prepare middle grade and high school students for key economic and workforce issues they will face. Today Junior Achievement programs reach over 44,000 Broward and South Palm Beach County students each year.
To reach additional students and to provide new innovative programs (JA BizTown and JA Finance Park), Junior Achievement sought to construct and equip an approximate 59,500 sq. ft. facility to be named the JA World Huizenga Center.
Solution and Execution
GATES Capital was engaged by Junior Achievement to structure and underwrite a $7 million 25-year tax exempt bond issue through the City of Coconut Creek, Florida as conduit issuer. GATES Capital’s financing strategy focused on approaching commercial banks, as financing participants, through the provision of a direct-pay letter of credit as (“LOC”). GATES Capital conducted a competitive LOC bank RFP process, introduced numerous new banks to Junior Achievement and negotiated a cost-effective credit enhancement package.