Cinnaire recently provided $7M as part of an $18.5M New Market Tax Credit investment to support a new facility for Cristo Rey St. Martin (Cristo Rey), a Catholic college preparatory high school serving all faiths and backgrounds that exclusively enrolls low-income students in North Chicago and Waukegan. The school will realize a net benefit to its construction project of $4.1M. In partnership with the Chase New Market Tax Credit Group and the Community Reinvestment Fund (CRF), the new facility will renovate a former K-mart building to create a modern school that will feature 17 classrooms, a library, common areas, cafeteria, auditorium, a chemistry lab, biology lab and physics lab. The new facility will allow Cristo Rey to offer additional advance level classes and to expand its current enrollment.

Named one of “America’s Most Challenging High Schools” for five years in a row, Cristo Rey prides itself on its impressive four-year college acceptance rate for 94% of its graduates. Cristo Rey’s goal is to strengthen and expand educational opportunities for young people by promoting superior academic achievement. In partnership with various corporate sponsors, Cristo Rey provides opportunity for exceptional work experience to underserved high school students through impactful internship opportunities. The North Chicago and Waukegan communities struggle with poverty, low graduation rates and lack a rigorous college prep program. This new school will expand the quality, quantity and reach of educational programs into the community by providing the city’s youth with unmatched educational opportunities.

“Investing in education is a top priority for Cinnaire,” said Mark McDaniel, Cinnaire President & CEO. “Children in low-income communities often lack access to the resources afforded to youth living in middle to upper class neighborhoods, particularly college prep training. Cristo Rey has a long history of successfully improving graduation rates, providing direct access to internships, scholarships and relationships these students would not otherwise have – 95% of the students graduating from Cristo Rey are first generation college students. The impact Cristo Rey is creating for this community is invaluable and we look forward to working together to ensure these students are provided the educational opportunities they deserve.”