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The Impact Investing Podcast

Mar 9, 2016

If you’re involved in building companies or investing in New England - you’ve heard of Charlie Spies. If you’re involved in developing rural communities, you’ve definitely heard of CEI and CEI Capital Management (CCML).

Charlie is CEO of CEI Capital Management LLC, one of the nation’s leading allocatees of federal New Markets Tax Credits and a wholly-owned subsidiary of CEI, Inc. In this position, Charlie oversees the company’s capital sourcing and deployment, project sourcing and investment recommendations, and program compliance. CEI Capital Management has placed nearly $850 million in New Markets capacity in more than 80 projects nationally that help create and preserve jobs and improve quality of life with a focus on rural, low-income communities. This experience has earned Charlie a seat on the board of directors for the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition, a national association of practitioners.

Prior to joining CCML in 2006, Mr. Spies served as COO for the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System. Through creative and strategic management, he successfully led the organization through a 73% cut in federal funding by diversifying revenue sources, and growing an individual membership program, as well as securing direct funding from the State of Maine, including with a $500,000 emergency appropriation. He has also served as CEO for the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) and President and CEO of the National Association of Seed and Venture Funds. As one example of his capital raising experience, Mr. Spies established and secured funding at FAME for a $150 MM secondary market for student loans. While managing the Small Enterprise Growth Fund at FAME he also raised and invested over $9M in funds for seed-stage venture capital investments from both public and private sources.

Mr. Spies currently serves on the Executive Committee of the Board the New Markets Tax Credit Coalition.  He received his B.S. in Forest Utilization and his M.S. in Forest Entomology from the University of Maine, as well as his M.B.A. from Southern New Hampshire University.


CEI’s philosophy and mission are rooted in the civil rights movement. Since its inception in 1977, CEI has grown and adapted to changing markets and new possibilities, always focused on helping people, especially those with low incomes, reach their full potential. Targeted sectors have included:

  • value-added fisheries, farms and forest projects
  • microenterprise development
  • targeted job creation
  • the creation of supported, rental and privately-owned housing
  • assistance to women business owners
  • child care facility development and
  • support for refugees and new immigrants

…all to achieve social and economic justice within sustainable communities.

CEI lends and invests money and provides business counseling services to companies in Maine and New England. Company sizes vary from one employee to 500, in stages from start-up to mature. CEI also has a robust policy arm, through which it works legislatively and with its partners to meet its goals.

Through its business support and policy activities, CEI employs a holistic approach to address the complex, interwoven issues inherent in poverty alleviation, rural development and environmental sustainability. As a practitioner of sustainable development, CEI demonstrates methods that help businesses, individuals and communities achieve tangible changes that result in enhanced personal or community assets.

CEI impact to date:

  • 2,555 businesses financed
  • $1.19 Billion financed
  • 49,786 people counseled
  • 33,103 jobs created see all of CEI’s incredible impact go to



CEI Capital Management LLC (CCML) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of CEI that deploys capital under the U.S. Treasury Department’s New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program and the Maine New Markets Capital Investment (NMCI) program. CCML has placed $869.6 million of NMTC/NMCI capacity in 88 projects, triggering total private capital investment of over $2.3 billion in low-income communities. 

The federal New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program was designed to stimulate investment and economic growth in low-income communities that are typically overlooked by conventional investors. The program attracts investors to low-income areas by offering a 39 percent federal income tax credit over a seven-year investment period. The tax credits are allocated by Community Development Entities (CDEs), like CCML that apply for the authority to select projects and allocate the credits. The U.S. Treasury’s CDFI Fund has granted CEI and CCML a combined allocation of $858 million in NMTC tax credit investment capacity to deploy over the past ten years. CCML works with investors (banks and equity providers) and borrowers (project sponsors) to meet their needs while satisfying the NMTC program requirements and CCML’s own “3-E” investment strategy.

CCML impact to date:

CCML has placed $869.6 million of NMTC/NMCI capacity in 88 projects, triggering total private capital investment of over $2.3 billion in low-income communities.

  • Created/Preserved: 4,553 permanent full-time jobs
  • Created: 3,130 construction jobs
  • Developed: 1,593,860 sq. ft. of property
  • Protected: 855,596 acres of land placed under protective easements
  • Generated: 77 MW of renewable electricity capacity and 1,195,000 GLs/year of alternative fuels
  • Capitalized: $8,230,000 of targeted loan funds, $1,000,000 of employee training, and $1,730,000 educational programs
  • Developed: 524 units of Affordable Housing

To see more of CCML’s impact go to:


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