Valley Prep Academy Charter School (VPA) provides education with a mission to be a safe and healthy environment providing opportunity for all students to become lifelong learners through excellence in character development, academic skills, and physical fitness in a low-income community in Central Fresno. 2014 marks the 10 year anniversary of the school’s commitment to the surrounding neighborhoods, where one in four families live below the poverty line. The school is a source for education as well as nutrition where 80% of VPA’s students qualify for free or reduced lunch.
In 2013, the school’s landlord put the building up for sale and the administration was faced with the prospect of having to move or buy the building themselves. When they approached the bank for a real estate loan they couldn’t qualify for the full amount necessary because of the building’s special purpose status. Fresno CDFI worked closely with the VPA administration and the bank to finance the gap between what they qualified for and what was needed. The funds saved the school thousands of dollars in moving costs and kept the school rooted in the community it has grown up in. Valley Prep Academy continues to serve 315 students and employs 30 teachers and administrators. They have since hired 5 new staff to keep up with their growth.