Real Estate Will Never Be a Barrier to An Excellent Education

aka Civic Builders   |   New York, NY   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 04-3635313


Civic Builders works towards the day that equal educational opportunities exist for all New York City school children. As a non-profit facilities developer, Civic Builders provides turnkey solutions for New York charter school real estate needs. By assuming responsibility for building financing, design and construction activities, Civic relieves charter schools of the burden of navigating an extremely complex and competitive real estate marketplace, enabling school administrators to focus time and resources on the important work of educating children.

Ruling year info


Principal Officer

David Umansky

Main address

180 Varick Street Suite 1414

New York, NY 10014 USA

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Subject area info

Elementary and secondary education

Charter school education

Community improvement

Real estate

Population served info

Children and youth


NTEE code info

Elementary, Secondary Ed (B20)

Community, Neighborhood Development, Improvement (S20)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms



See related organizations info

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Civic Builders (“Civic”) is the nation’s leading nonprofit lender and developer, bringing high-quality educational opportunities to under-resourced communities through the development of public charter schools. Charter schools are often the only chance many families have for their children to receive an excellent public education in the underserved communities where Civic’s work is focused. In New York City alone, over 50,000 students are on a charter waiting list, and there are currently three applications for every charter seat in Harlem and the Bronx. Despite this demonstrated demand, access to school facilities is one of the main barriers that impedes charter school growth. Public school educators are forced to navigate the complex world of real estate financing and development in order to open their schools. As a result, nearly one in five charter schools delay opening by a year or more due to facilities-related issues.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Charter School Renovation and Construction

Civic Builders provides high quality, affordable facilities solutions for charter schools. We achieve this through:
Extensive Development Expertise With its staff of real estate development and project management professionals, Civic Builders has the knowledge and experience to create high-quality facilities quickly and affordably. The organization's economies of scale and expertise in the specific needs of charter schools, enables Civic to negotiate complex deals and to draw on the specialized resources and relationships that avoid costly missteps and reliably lead to excellent school facility programs.
Access to Capital Civic Builders brings together capital from a variety of sources, including private philanthropy, the New York City Department of Education, commercial lenders, community development lenders, and other city, state and federal government subsidies, in support of charter facility creation. Civic recycles its equity contributions through refinancing - freeing up capital dollars for additional charter developments. This approach is critical to the scalability of the charter movement.
Facilities Stewardship By assuming ownership of a school's facility, Civic Builders becomes a steward of the real estate asset. Should a school's charter not be renewed, for example, Civic will re-tenant the facility with another charter school, ensuring that these buildings will house high performing schools in perpetuity. Civic's leases also include academic standards, enabling Civic to terminate the lease of a chronically underperforming charter school. This focus on quality is consistent with the charter culture of accountability.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Civic Builders partners with the nation's top educators to build and finance high-quality school building

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Civic Builders offers various financial products to support affordable financing of public charter school building.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of students given access to high-quality education

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This metric measures seats created by Civic Builders and our educator partners since 2002.

Number of high-quality public schools built or renovated in communities with the greatest need.

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

This metric represents the number of high-quality public schools built or renovated since 2002.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Civic achieves the mission of removing real estate as a barrier to an excellent public education by addressing the full spectrum of facilities and financing challenges faced by public charter schools. Civic school buildings are designed to meet the unique needs of the school community, and include advanced technology, brand new libraries, science labs, and bright classroom spaces.

Through partnerships with leading educators we launch excellent schools in communities where the need is greatest. Students in Civic’s NYC partner schools are 98% students of color and 85% economically disadvantaged. Civic’s schools have become anchors of the communities they serve, transforming outcomes by equipping students with the resources for success within and beyond the classroom. The high school graduation rate for our scholars in NYC is 94%, compared to 74% graduation rate in peer schools. Civic is committed to prioritizing neighborhoods that are often underinvested in, meeting the demand for high-performing schools, and working to promote thriving communities.

Civic partners with visionary school leaders to develop facilities from start to finish; from site identification, financing, and design through construction to ultimate school occupancy. We bring our nonprofit mission to each project, and understand the importance of completing all projects on time and on budget. Civic works with a variety of partners in government and real estate, from city housing authorities to affordable housing developers, to identify unique site opportunities and build cost-effective facilities options for charter schools.

As opposed to many for-profit charter school developers, Civic provides our charter school partners with the opportunity to purchase their property at a price well below the cost of development, allowing the school to save significantly on long-term facility costs. Most for-profit developers base rental expense or purchase options on cap rates or market value, while our mission-aligned approach is to sell the building back to schools at-cost. These dollars are then available to reinvest into the classroom, which is the ultimate goal of school leaders and Civic.

When functioning as an Owner’s Representative, Civic serves as a school’s expert advocate and liaison with the property owner or developer. By establishing clear goals, setting firm milestones, and utilizing consistent communications, Civic ensures the completion of project development along the defined timeline and budget. With deep experience in charter school development, our team guides all parties to facilitate a project design that accommodates school’s requirements while maintaining budget objectives.

The Facilities Investment Fund (FIF), a partnership between Civic and the Walton Family Foundation, is a groundbreaking loan fund founded in 2017 that has introduced $300 million in affordable capital to finance facilities for high-performing charter schools and networks across the country. FIF offers public charter schools five-year fixed-rate loans for new construction, acquisition and facility renovation. FIF loans feature low, fixed interest rates, size up to $25MM and can fund up to 90% of project costs.

New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) are a federally funded program through the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Each year, NMTCs are allocated to top applicants called Community Development Entities (CDEs). Civic has been actively involved in the NMTC program and has been awarded $228 million in NMTC allocation authority since 2013. The team has utilized its NMTC allocation to provide flexible and below-market financing to 18 high-performing charter schools nationwide creating more than 9,700 student seats.

Civic also provides technical assistance in the form of ongoing information, tools, and resources to operators and other stakeholders in the public education ecosystem on charter facilities. From webinars to small convenings, Civic continues to build awareness and understanding for a variety of stakeholders on charter facilities.

Demonstrated Impact:
Civic Builders invests in excellent public charter schools that are outperforming other public school options, bringing choice to families, and improving outcomes for scholars. Great public schools with high-quality facilities are community anchors that provide access to transformative opportunities in traditionally under-resourced communities. Civic Builders’ portfolio represents $1.45 billion invested into low-income and historically marginalized communities. Our focus across all of our products and services is ensuring that all students have access to safe and student-centered learning environments.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Racial Justice:
Civic Builders believes that every child deserves access to a high-quality education. Unfortunately, due to historic racial and socioeconomic discrimination, children nationwide are often prevented from this opportunity, especially in communities where the need is greatest. To address this problem, Civic partners with the country’s best educators to eliminate real estate as a barrier and construct schools that change lives and revitalize communities. Because we support schools that serve low-income communities and communities of color, we have a responsibility to center diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice in all of our work.

We strive to cultivate a team that reflects the identities and backgrounds of the communities we seek to support, bridging a deeper connection to their needs and thus, fostering a greater impact in achieving our mission. Our team is committed to establishing a common language and building a shared understanding of how race and other isms impact our work so that we can create a more equitable, just, and inclusive organization at every level.

We seek to apply our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and racial justice to our product development, work with school partners, and collaboration with vendors. We bring a spirit of collaboration to our approach with funders and others in the space, advancing important conversations about equity, and working together to accomplish more, in service of our mission, than we could alone.

As a nonprofit organization with two decades of experience, Civic’s portfolio represents $1.45 billion invested into economically distressed communities to ensure all students have access to safe, positive, and student-centered learning environments. Since 2002, the organization has supported the growth of 72 schools nationwide, educating more than 38,000 students each year.

Civic celebrated the twenty-year anniversary of its founding in 2022, and harnessed this important moment as an opportunity to reflect on past successes and chart the path for the next twenty years. Because of its adaptability and entrepreneurial spirit, Civic has expanded to a full suite of services including turnkey development, lending, and technical assistance, that serve incredible schools nationwide. As a result, Civic Builders has creatively combined government subsidies, philanthropic funding and commercial bank capital to provide high quality schools with access to affordable capital, while continuing our development work with community-based independent charter schools, large charter management organizations, and the nation’s best educators. This evolution came from listening to and learning from our partners and the charter community on how we can be most impactful.

Throughout 2022, the Civic staff and Board worked to collaboratively define the organization’s Theory of Change and establish strategic priorities. This work informed a three-year strategic plan, which focuses on five areas of adaptive capacity building: Talent, Operational Excellence, Governance, Data & Systems, and Lending. Core activities going forward will address each of these areas and the foundational work necessary to prepare for Civic’s continued impact and innovation.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

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Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 1.48 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 17.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 14% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of CIVIC BUILDERS INC’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $2,145,978 $2,242,685 $4,751,241 $2,728,041 $3,004,454
As % of expenses 32.6% 26.7% 58.1% 33.6% 31.3%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $1,884,615 $1,992,838 $4,530,382 $2,200,696 $2,457,755
As % of expenses 27.5% 23.0% 53.9% 25.4% 24.2%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $7,905,032 $9,679,234 $9,431,051 $21,789,241 $10,569,482
Total revenue, % change over prior year -20.7% 22.4% -2.6% 131.0% -51.5%
Program services revenue 40.3% 53.3% 50.7% 31.2% 68.1%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 11.8% 10.9% 9.1% 3.3% 11.2%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other grants and contributions 21.2% 19.3% 19.5% 61.8% 20.7%
Other revenue 26.6% 16.5% 20.7% 3.7% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $6,583,396 $8,408,546 $8,178,542 $8,121,407 $9,600,028
Total expenses, % change over prior year -17.8% 27.7% -2.7% -0.7% 18.2%
Personnel 42.9% 42.5% 48.4% 50.1% 40.2%
Professional fees 13.0% 14.5% 15.5% 9.3% 7.2%
Occupancy 28.1% 24.2% 24.3% 25.1% 26.6%
Interest 8.9% 6.1% 4.3% 7.8% 13.6%
Pass-through 0.3% 0.4% 1.1% 0.4% 4.6%
All other expenses 6.8% 12.4% 6.4% 7.3% 7.9%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $6,844,759 $8,658,393 $8,399,401 $8,648,752 $10,146,727
One month of savings $548,616 $700,712 $681,545 $676,784 $800,002
Debt principal payment $664,014 $7,525,497 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $5,062,320 $6,817,093 $7,148,525
Total full costs (estimated) $8,057,389 $16,884,602 $14,143,266 $16,142,629 $18,095,254

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 12.1 8.1 12.1 27.9 15.7
Months of cash and investments 64.7 42.7 41.2 74.7 54.9
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 56.4 47.0 54.9 58.6 52.6
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $6,658,473 $5,670,093 $8,276,503 $18,899,923 $12,588,351
Investments $28,858,175 $24,251,700 $19,818,018 $31,642,259 $31,341,956
Receivables $15,811,981 $16,484,653 $20,272,912 $21,036,507 $26,352,154
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $6,880,415 $6,228,303 $11,269,745 $18,107,716 $25,256,245
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 39.2% 36.4% 21.9% 16.6% 14.1%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 29.1% 17.6% 18.9% 31.2% 47.1%
Unrestricted net assets $30,924,462 $32,917,300 $37,447,682 $39,648,378 $42,106,133
Temporarily restricted net assets $9,802,564 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $0 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $9,802,564 $9,920,041 $9,975,706 $20,702,153 $20,135,730
Total net assets $40,727,026 $42,837,341 $47,423,388 $60,350,531 $62,241,863

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Principal Officer

David Umansky

Mr. Umansky is responsible for the overall strategy and direction of Civic Builders. Prior to joining Civic, Mr. Umansky co-founded Expert Ease Software, Inc., a developer of software products for the legal industry. Mr. Umansky also served as Vice President of Marketing for an asset-management division of Republic National Bank. A former Leadership New York Coro Fellow, Mr. Umansky holds an MBA in Finance and International Business from New York University and a BA with honors from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization


Highest paid employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of highest paid employee data for this organization


Board of directors
as of 02/24/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Brahm Cramer

Prospect Ridge Advisors, LLC., formerly AllianceBernstein

Brahm Cramer

Prospect Ridge

David Loo

Hudson Realty Capital

David Sweeny

PDS Development

David Umansky

Civic Builders

Eben Ellertson

L+M Development Partners

Vipul Tandon

Siris Capital Group

Simone Brody

What Works Cities

Keith Rand

Mill Creek Residential

Ron Beit

RBH Group, LLC

Genger Charles

Amherst Holdings

Khary Barnes

JPMorgan Chase & Co.

Susie Miller Carello

Hoover Institution, Stanford University

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 2/23/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

No data


No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 02/24/2023

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.


Fiscal year ending

Professional fundraisers

Fiscal year ending

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 Schedule G

Solicitation activities
Gross receipts from fundraising
Retained by organization
Paid to fundraiser