Quick Facts

Project Name
Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation
East Baton Rouge Community Development Entity (EBRCDE)
Total Development Cost
EBRCDE Allocation
8000 Gsri Avenue
Baton Rouge, LA
NMTC Consultant
taxadvantagegroup, llc
The Emerge Center Holding Company, Inc.
The Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation, Inc.
Square Footage
Leveraged Lender
The Emerge Center, Inc.
NMTC Investor
Chase Community Equity, LLC
Tax Credit Investor
Chase Community Equity, LLC
Permanent Jobs
89 Direct
Construction Jobs
50 Direct
Low-Income Community
Poverty Rate 29%
MFI 53.5%
Financing Complete
December 2012

Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation

Baton Rouge, LA


In December 2012 the Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation (BRSHF) began construction on its new Emerge Center for Communication, Behavior & Development at Louisiana State University’s (LSU’s) Innovation Park. Founded in 1960 in response to a rubella epidemic, the nonprofit organization offers clinically-effective therapies to children and adults with communication difficulties from the Greater Baton Rouge area, regardless of their ability to pay. As the primary provider of early intervention and education programs for children on the autism spectrum in southern Louisiana, the organization has outgrown its current facility due to great demand for its programming.

the foundation to provide services to an additional 2,150 clients annually, an increase of 86% over 2011. The foundation’s current 9,000-square-foot building can accommodate 46 children with autism but has a lengthy waiting list. The new facility will increase that capacity to 100 children. The occupational therapy division will increase its capacity to 60 patients weekly. Services will be offered five days a week instead of the one day per week that is currently offered. The Emerge Center will focus on early intervention for children with autism between the ages of 18 months to 6 years. The new facility will feature an auditorium, an occupational therapy gym and 10 group-therapy classrooms. A pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classroom will serve up to 12 children at a time. The foundation is committed to serving those who have no other resource in the community. The quality and uniqueness of its programs and the reputation of its staff have also led many who can afford services elsewhere to utilize the foundation’s resources.

The 200-acre Innovation Park contains research, business and technology buildings that belong to LSU and tenant organizations. “Today is an exciting day for the LSU Innovation Park and The Emerge Center,” said Charlie D’Agostino, executive director of the LSU Innovation Park. “This is the ideal ‘first building’ at the Innovation Park, which sets the theme for the Park. The Emerge Center exemplifies the vision of LSU for developing a world class Innovation Park where the university and the private sector come together.”


The NMTC Program filled a gap in financing that allowed the project to expand and relocate to the Innovation Park. With total project costs over $8.5 million, the NMTC subsidy contributed over $1.7 million of capital to the project. Receiving substantial support from the local community, the foundation self-leveraged the transaction with $3.4 million of capital campaign contributions and a $2.7 million bridge loan from IberiaBank. Mark Goodson, assistant executive director of the EBRCDE, noted “the broad and strong community support for the project was certainly impressive. The amount of pledges and cash gathered in a short period of time speaks to the strong reputation of the organization.” Since the NMTC closing, the foundation has received an additional $6.4 million in pledges.

The increased space will help the program expand its services and reach even more children. “That was the goal, to offer all the services our children need under one roof.” Without New Markets Tax Credits, Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing would be very challenged to fill the gap in its building campaign, and construction of its new facility would have been delayed, likely for years. The new facility will provide the space for the foundation to continue growing the number of children and families it serves for years to come.

– Melissa Juneau, Executive Director, Baton Rouge Speech & Hearing Foundation

taxadvantagegroup (tag) is one of the country’s most successful consulting firms specializing in New Markets Tax Credits, a powerful financing tool for community development projects in the United States.

Since 2004 tag has helped revitalize low-income communities across the U.S. by securing low-cost, flexible financing for high impact projects and providing a full suite of NMTC management services.

For more information contact:

Tammy C. Propst | 864.271.2737 | tpropst@taxadvantagegroup.com