For the past several months, the major focus of RIAHOF’s USS John F. Kennedy Project has been to work with all potential stakeholders to determine the preferred mooring location on Aquidneck Island. Encouraged by this news, two of our major donors increased their commitment to an aggregate $2 million. Fundraising consultant Bill White is hopeful that this “pump-priming” will be enough to get others involved, although some potential major donors have held off saying, “We want some assurance that you have a firm commitment for an appropriate mooring site before we make significant financial commitments.”
While Rhode Island’s recovery from the economic downturn continues to lag behind most other states, this may actually work to our advantage. We are putting forth a highly-visible and exciting project which could help counter the election year impact of the 38 Studios/Curt Schilling debacle. The collapse of that state-funded video gaming operation may end up costing RI taxpayers more than $100 million, and the potential success of our economic engine may be a positive counterbalance.
With this in mind, we have begun the process to qualify ourselves for EB-5 funding. This is the program under which the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) will issue permanent residency to an immigrant (plus spouse and unmarried children under 21) if he contributes $500,000 of capital into an America business (“new commercial enterprise”) that will benefit the U.S. economy and create at least 10 full-time, direct jobs for American workers. Based on our job creation numbers, we could be eligible to receive as much as $25 million under this program.