The most important letters in the community and economic development alphabet are C-D-C and C-D-F-I

Frank Carvalho, founding Executive Director, transitions into a consulting role for MCCI

We are writing to announce that Frank Carvalho, founding Executive Director of Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI) will step down as Executive Director and  transition into a consulting role as of July 1, 2020.   We are all so thankful to Frank for the  passion, resilience and joy that he brought to this work and look forward to carrying forward his vision.

Frank is a practical visionary.  He not only saw the need for a dynamic, flexible community development financial institution but was able to bring it to life.  His original vision germinated in providing capital to overlooked businesses in Lowell.  This soon mushroomed to include housing lending and to encompass Lawrence, Haverhill and all of Middlesex and Essex Counties.  Frank has been a uniquely qualified leader for the organization, who brought his deep skills as a banker, non-profit executive, and small business owner into the work.  Frank’s multicultural competence and, above all, his profound empathy allowed him to help so many low-income people achieve stable homeownership and grow viable businesses.

Every aspiring business or homeowner that met with Frank went away knowing that he was in their corner, for however long it took to realize their own vision.  He saw their potential and could meet them where they were.  He offered not just access to capital but also advice, coaching and mentorship.  Often enough that advice was not to borrow money.   What matters most to Frank was to arm the business or homeowner with knowledge—to know what you can afford, where you want to go,  to understand the balance sheet and your customers, and to write your own business plan.  Most important, everyone Frank touched was left knowing the value of their word.  Frank met with each borrower in person to close every loan and would say that if you look me in the eye and tell me you are going to repay this loan that is the most important guarantee there is.  In the best way, Frank and MCCI are character lenders.  We believe in the vision and the integrity of all of our customers.  Together we have lent over $7MM to businesses and homeowners and  90+% of our borrowers are Black and Latinx and we have contributed to creating hundreds of jobs. These numbers are the beginning and not the end of Frank’s legacy.

Frank is the most optimistic of bankers.  And that optimism was required as we have faced multiple crises along with our home communities.  We launched MCCI at the beginning of the recession and devastating foreclosure crisis in 2007.  We had grown deep roots in Lawrence by the time the City was blown up with multiple gas explosions in 2018.  And now in 2020 we see yet again the disproportionate impact that the covid-19 crisis is wreaking on the communities we work in.  At every turn, Frank stepped up to lead MCCI and to grow into these crises. Every crisis served to reinforce the importance of Frank’s vision and the need for MCCI.  Frank’s optimism has always been clear eyed about the deep structural challenges that low income and particularly Black and Latinx communities face.  One of the greatest lessons he taught us all was that there will be another crisis.  He has led us with grace and grit through all of this and we continue to grow our mission and ambition despite these seemingly overwhelming circumstances.  MCCI is a gift that he helped us create, a resilient platform we hope to continue to grow in scope and ambition. The opportunity is great.

Not being the sort to retire from his life’s passion and mission, Frank will continue to consult with MCCI, coaching the lending teams and working on strategic initiatives.  He will also be working with other nascent and growing mission lenders throughout Massachusetts.

The board is fortunate to be able to bring on a seasoned interim executive director, Gregg Davis, MBA to lead MCCI through the transition.

On a personal note, I am so grateful to be a part of this story.  Like everyone who has worked with Frank I learned so much, often without realizing that he was teaching me, and have grown in my ambition for the work.  I am committed to seeing that MCCI will carry forward Frank’s joy and determination in its DNA.  It seems fitting that this day when we say goodbye to Frank as our founding executive and welcome him as a consultant comes at a time when the Black lives Matter movement is waking the world up to  what Frank has been saying.   I hope that all of our partners, friends, investors, borrowers and co-conspirators continue to work in this spirit to make bigger strides in addressing the racial wealth gap and equity issues that Frank has put front and center in his life’s work (so far!).


Kristen Harol, on behalf of the Board and Staff of MCCI

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Reopens Monday, April 27

Get FREE Help with the PPP Loan Application

A coalition of partners across the Merrimack Valley, including municipalities, banks, and nonprofits, is working together to assist small businesses that were left out of the first round of the Payroll Protection Program (PPP). We strongly urge our small business community to take advantage of the second round of funding that opens Monday, April 27.

Through a collaboration of MCCI, Reading Cooperative Bank, and Berkshire Bank, businesses that were not able to submit applications in the first round will be able to access free PPP loan application assistance. Funds will be available on a first come, first served basis. Don’t wait!

To get started, please contact Aaron Lackman, Commercial Services Manager, at or 978-254-1427, or sign up to attend a virtual PPP Info Session by clicking here.

Programa de Protección de Salarios (PPP) reabre el lunes, 27 de abril

Ayuda GRATIS con la solicitud para el préstamo PPP

Una alianza de colaboradores del Valle de Merrimack, incluyendo municipios, bancos y organizaciones sin fines de lucro, está trabajando en conjunto para ayudar a los pequeños negocios que quedaron fuera de la primera ronda del Programa de Protección de Salarios (PPP). Urgimos firmemente a nuestra comunidad de pequeños negocios a que tomen ventaja de esta segunda ronda de financiamiento que reabrirá el lunes, 27 de abril.

A través de una colaboración de MCCI, Reading Cooperative Bank y Berkshire Bank, los negocios que no pudieron presentar solicitudes en la primera ronda tendrán asistencia gratuita para diligenciar la solicitud del préstamo PPP. Los fondos estarán disponibles por orden de llegada. ¡No espere más!

Si tiene preguntas, comuníquese con Kristin Wallace, Prestamista Comercial, al 978-242-7362 o, o regístrese para una sesión informativa virtual de PPP haciendo clic aquí.

Bajar la solicitud aquí.

Para la versión en español, haga clic aquí. Tenga en cuenta que la versión en español se proporciona sólo como referencia. DEBE COMPLETAR EL FORMULARIO EN INGLÉS.

COVID-19: We’re in this together.

As the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis continues, we want you – our clients, colleagues, partners, and friends – to know that we are here for you and are continuing to provide services.

  • Staff Availability:our staff members are working from home and holding client meetings online. Please call and leave a message instead of coming to our offices.
  • Workshops Offered Online:All business classes will continue as scheduled but will be online and not in person at our offices. These courses are designed to help you be better prepared to present your financials and qualify for programs that might be offered to businesses impacted by emergencies like the Colombia Gas explosions or the current coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. To check our training schedule and to sign up, click here.
  • Emergency Loan Fund:The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has also developed an Emergency Loan Fund for businesses.  Please check for more information.
  • Small Business Coalition – Business Impact Survey: If your business is already experiencing loss of sales from the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, please click hereto take a brief survey. By gathering this information, we can advocate for you to our elected officials and community partners.

Emergency Fund for Businesses affected by the Natural Gas Tragedy in the Merrimack Valley


Governor Baker speaking in Lawrence to announce help for small businesses affected by Merrimack Valley gas explosions

Posted by Boston 25 News on Friday, September 28, 2018

What is the fund? A $1,000,000 emergency fund that targets businesses that have been directly impacted by the recent natural gas tragedy in the communities of Lawrence, Andover and North Andover.

How was the fund created? The Fund is the result of a collective effort between Mass Growth Capital Corporation, the 10 lenders involved with the Lawrence Venture Loan Fund, Mill Cities Community Investments, and with leadership from both Mayor Rivera and the Governor Baker.

Who qualifies?Any business that has been impacted by the recent gas disaster will qualify for the funds, including businesses from Lawrence, Andover, and N. Andover.

Who is the lender of the fund? Mill Cities Community Investments, a certified Community Development Financial Institution.

What are the terms/rates: this fund is being offered with no payments and no interest for the first 6 months.  For businesses that extend beyond a 6 month period, market rates will apply and loans can be extended or restructured for multi-year term loans.  Businesses can apply for up to $50,000.   There is no minimum loan amount.

Application process/requirements: The fund is designed to create an expedited application and approval process, with the goal of getting all applications processed within 24 and 48 hours. APPLY IN PERSON.

Required documents:

  1. Emergency Business Loan Application
  2. Identification
  3. Copy of Claim file with gas company
  4. Evidence business is a customer of Columbia gas in good standing
  5. Estimates or invoices for proposed use of funds
  6. Financials- business and personal tax returns, year to date profit and loss statement, bank statements
  7. Payroll records and other documentation to back up (per Columbia gas application)
  8. Copy of lease
  9. Business certificate

Contact us by phone, email, or walk in

50 Island Street

ENTRANCE B, Suite #103
Lawrence, MA 01840

Frank Carvalho, Chief Executive Officer
Extension #13

Ari Veloz, Chief Operating Officer
Extension #14


Kristin Wallace, Commercial Lender

Extension #16

MCCI #1 Lead Paint Remediation Lender in State for 4 Consecutive Years

As of April 2013, MCCI has been approved as a lender in the ‘Get the Lead Out’ program which helps homeowners get funds to assist them in dealing with lead removal.

MCCI is pleased to announce that as of April 2013, it has been approved as lender in the MASSHOUSING a GET THE LEAD OUT program. The program helps homeowners with low cost funds to assist them in dealing with lead removal.
MASSHOUSING GET THE LEAD OUT is subject to certain requirements. Here is a brief description of some of the areas covered by the program:

Case Managed/Court Ordered Loan – 0% deferred

  • Once eligibility is established, the loan can proceed.
  • No payments are due on this loan
  • Loan becomes a lien on the property that must be paid off when the owner sells, transfers or refinances
  • The loan does not disappear after a certain period of time; the homeowner will always be responsible for repayment, and the loan cannot be assumed by third parties.

Preventative Loan

  • Can occur in any income eligible, owner- occupied 1-4 family residence with lead paint
  • Homeowners at or below 100% of the Area Median Income (AMI) receive a 2% interest rate
  • All preventative loans are amortizing, which means that there will be payment due starting the month after the loan closes.

Property Eligibility Guidelines

  • 1-4 family residence properties
  • No commercial or mixed use space
  • No temporary shelters or rooming houses
  • Financing is limited to 8 units per investor or non–profit
  • Borrower must own the property; no trusts or life estates 

Maximum Loan Amounts

  • Single Family  $30,000
  • Two Family  $35,000
  • Three Family  $40,000
  • Four Family  $45,000
  • Minimum loan amount on any size property is $3000.

 For More details, please visit

Lawrence Venture Fund Makes First Loans To Local Businesses

For Immediate Release


LAWRENCE, MA.  Two Lawrence businesses will expand capacity with loans totaling $95,000 from the Lawrence Venture Loan Fund.  “The immediate impact will result in 10 new employees, with projections to hire 12 more people at the end of the year,” noted Frank Carvalho, the Executive Director of Mill Cities Community Investments, a local Community Development Financial Institution that processes and services the loans for the Venture Loan Fund.  La Cibaena Bakery and Auto Bori Music, LLC were the first two businesses to receive loans from the $1M Venture Loan Fund, which was established by the Lawrence Partnership in the fall of 2015.  The Lawrence Venture Fund is capitalized by 4 local banks—TD, Enterprise, Eastern and the Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union—with additional resources provided by the City of Lawrence.  “Today we are here to celebrate the entrepreneurism that is so robust throughout Lawrence and the great things that can be accomplished when people work together,” noted Derek Mitchell, the Lawrence Partnership’s Executive Director.

“We are really excited to see this kind of investment in these kinds of businesses”, claimed Mayor Dan Rivera.  “These are businesses that are part of the neighborhood that people can walk to, and they are creating jobs that will generate more opportunities down the road.”  La Cibaena bakery will be leveraging its loan to add to other investments by its owner, Ramon Alberto, to replace a 100 year old mixer and purchase two new ovens.  The increased capacity will allow him to expand his contracts with grocery giant, Market Basket.  Auto Bori Music, LLC, a local auto accessory retail outlet, will be expanding its inventory to meet increased demand for its products.

In addition to access to capital, Lawrence businesses will also benefit from additional technical assistance through a $55,000 grant from Mass Growth Capital Corporation to Mill Cities Community Investments (MGCC).  Lawrence Andrews, President of MGCC was on hand to make the announcement, claiming “really, these are the communities that we want to invest in because there is so much opportunity here.  We are excited to be partnering again with MCCI and Frank because we know the investment will realize incredible impact for Lawrence businesses”.  The grant, which will allow MCCI to add two more staff to its organization, was made through Mass Growth Capital’s Small Business Technical Assistance Grant Program, which is designed to complement and enhance the traditional public and private small business assistance network by providing technical assistance or training programs for underserved and disadvantaged businesses with 20 employees or fewer.

The Venture Loan Fund is designed to assist those ventures that add value and diversity to the Lawrence business community by making available low-cost financing, with priority given to the commercial and mill districts in and around the downtown area.  More information, including details on how to apply for loans through the Venture Loan Fund, are available at

For more information, contact:
Derek Mitchell

Lawrence Partnership, Executive Director, or 978 804.6989

About Lawrence Partnership

Founded in 2014, the Lawrence Partnership is a Private/Public partnership dedicated to promoting economic development and quality of life in Lawrence, MA.  Bringing together presidents, CEOs and executive directors of banks, mills, businesses, schools, and community organizations in Lawrence, along with elected officials, the Lawrence Partnership created the Venture Loan fund as one of its first initiatives in 2015.  Its areas of priority include initiatives that create jobs and opportunities in the city.

About Mass Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC)

MGCC works to create and preserve jobs at Massachusetts small businesses, women and minority owned businesses, and promotes economic development in underserved, Gateway Cities and low and moderate income communities. MGCC is a central state resource that offers working capital, loan guarantees, and targeted technical assistance to solve specific financial and operational problems for local businesses. MGCC works with traditional financial institutions to make challenging loans bankable, working with community development corporations and other non-profits to provide financing for job-producing projects, and assisting a wide range of small businesses find the growth capital they require. MGCC specifically targets manufacturers that are expanding, other growth sectors, and small businesses in our older Gateway Cities.  Since 2010, MGCC has assisted more than 263 companies with over 9,100 employees with customized working capital financing commitments totaling over $83,800,000.

Roof Repair Loan Keeps Homeowner in Their Home

2016-04-07Florence ( not her real name) is a low income resident of Lawrence earning $14,000 a year at her job as a kitchen aid at a local school. She lives alone in the home that she was born and inherited from her mother.  Hurricane Sandy remnants caused a tree to fall on her house roof and cause serious damage . The insurance company called it an “Act of God” event and told her she was not covered. The City was about to condemn the house when  a City inspector called MCCI and asked if we could help her. Florence had  no credit but MCCI was able to use alternative credit sources such as church tithing , electric and gas bills and was able to approve a loan of $32,000 to help correct the issues and make Florence’s home habitable again. To date she has not missed a payment and is very happy that MCCI was able to help her when she had no one else to help her stay in her home.