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United Way Transfers Ownership of Mills Building to Innovative Nonprofit

Updated: Dec 3, 2020

Thursday, October 15, 2020

United Way supports workers and families; New Jersey Community Capital manages building

United Way of Northern New Jersey is pleased to announce that ownership of the Mills Memorial Social Services Building in Montclair was transferred to New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), an innovative nonprofit community development financial institution that has earned a national reputation as a leader in its field.

The 68-year-old building, which has been home to social service agencies since its opening, will continue to operate as a dedicated community resource for nonprofits. United Way and NJCC finalized a deal that ensures the building can maximize its potential into the future. By transferring the building’s majority ownership and management to NJCC, United Way can focus fully on providing critical services to Montclair-area struggling families. 

“We are excited to have found a like-minded nonprofit that is an expert in community development so we can focus on what we do best – meeting the needs of ALICE essential workers and those in poverty,” said Kiran Handa Gaudioso, CEO, United Way of Northern New Jersey. “These workers need our full attention more than ever as they’ve been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Nonprofits are not only central to strengthening our communities but offer essential services that shape local economies and culture,” said Wayne Meyer, President of NJCC. “We are thrilled to have partnered with a mission-driven organization such as the United Way of Northern New Jersey to preserve and renovate a space that continues to catalyze opportunity and expand the capacity of our state’s nonprofit sector.”

Conceived as a central location for social service agencies to serve the Montclair community, the building’s construction was financed by the Davella Mills Foundation, the brainchild of Montclair philanthropists David and Ella Mills. At the time, Montclair’s charitable organizations were scattered and squeezed into inadequate facilities. When the building opened in 1952, eight nonprofit tenants moved in. Upon its dedication, the Foundation transferred the building’s deed to The Community Chest of Montclair, which later became United Way.

The agreement with NJCC, effective October 1, 2020, released United Way from majority ownership and all landlord duties while maintaining a partial stake in ensuring the building remains true to its mission as a home for nonprofits. NJCC is a good fit as it shares United Way’s values and mission of providing access to opportunity for individuals and communities disproportionately impacted by racial and economic inequity, Gaudioso said. 

“United Way is in the business of helping people achieve financial stability, not building stewardship,” Gaudioso said. “We recognized it was time to hand over the building to an organization that shares our values and has expertise in building management. NJCC is the perfect fit. With their experience leveraging more than $600 million in financing for residential and economic development projects for underserved communities, we feel the Mills Building is in excellent hands.”

United Way remains committed to serving Montclair-area residents who are ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) or in poverty. United Way works to ensure that households living paycheck to paycheck can afford to save for an emergency, access health care and give their children a quality, reliable early education. The nonprofit’s strategy in the community includes providing free tax preparation and filing services; education, resources and supports for unpaid family caregivers; and advocating for quality early childhood education.

NJCC will soon begin to undertake renovations of the building.

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