Failed Urban Development Center Program Late With Unsecured Loan Payment To Century, Still Owes Nearly $11K

June 11, 2024

The CEO of the The Urban Development Center (UDC) says she wants more time to finish repaying what started as an unsecured $61,925 loan for the YouthFirst Century program that suffered a complete funding cut by the Escambia County Children’s Trust (ECT).

On June 1, UDC made an $11,000 payment, with CEO Dr. Jessica Griffen acknowledging that UDC still owes the town $10,925 of an original interest-free $61,925 loan.

“I was supposed to complete my final payment to the Town of Century by May 31st. I came down on Saturday (June 1) and delivered a check for $11,000 I’m paying toward my debt. That will leave me $10,925 more to pay,” she said, adding that she expected a “full payment” from the state soon.

The Century Town Council unanimously extended the next payment due date to July 8 (the Monday following the July 4th holiday).

Last year, Escambia Children’s Trust (ECT) awarded a contract to the Pensacola non-profit Urban Development Center for “YouthFirst Century” to serve 750 youth ages 11-18 over a three-year period at a total cost of $1.2 million. In reality, they only reached 30 children in their targeted ages of 11-18. They requested to lower their target age group to just 5-years old, but that was also denied by ECT.

The Town of Century fronted an unsecured $61,925 loan to UDC to purchase items like computers and workbooks. The loan was to be repaid by December 31, 2023, but the town council previously approved an extension to March 31, 2024.

Griffen then requested another extension to pay until May 31, 2024, “citing continual slow financial receivables for delay”.

According to ECT documentation, ECT’s contract for the year period prior to March 1 was $397,556, of which $264,058.03 was paid as of February 29, and $133,497.97 was “surrendered” because it was part of the awarded but not spent by the contract end date.

“It was use it or lose it,” ECT Executive Director Lindsey Cannon told regarding the surrendered funding. “It’s rolled back into (other) programs, because they (UDC) didn’t use it.”

Pictured top: A copy of an $11,000 loan payment from The Urban Development Center. The account numbers were redacted by Inset: The Urban Development Center’s Dr. Jessica Griffen introduces YouthFirst Century to a group at the Pilgrim Lodge Baptist Church in Century in February 2023. file photo. click to enlarge.


13 Responses to “Failed Urban Development Center Program Late With Unsecured Loan Payment To Century, Still Owes Nearly $11K”

  1. Will B Banned on June 12th, 2024 11:53 am

    This sure sounds like robbing Peter to pay Paul this looks like people who know how to gain the system and do more harm to a community then good. How much are they walking away with at the end of the day if they can delay payments just 2 weeks how much interest does that money make sitting in a bank.what a shame to do something like this in a small place where they could have done some actual good

  2. Concerned on June 11th, 2024 9:17 pm

    I’m sure she is paying this off with money she is getting from another city. Can you say Ponzi scheme.

  3. chris on June 11th, 2024 7:42 pm

    The words “Failed” and “Century” seem to accompany one another in a headline quite often. Gee, I wonder why?

  4. Roger on June 11th, 2024 7:16 pm

    Electing unqualified people is the problem.

  5. Willis on June 11th, 2024 5:29 pm

    Just consider it a “loan”.
    No expectations of those being paid back.

  6. Jimbo on June 11th, 2024 4:00 pm

    I agree with you #Unsecured! This lady legally, does not have to pay any of this money back and is trying to do the right thing. It appears that she was trying to provide the teenagers in the community some help, without any luck. Any of us that have ever dealt with teenagers have to understand that feeling. I, for one, applaud her character.

  7. UnSecured on June 11th, 2024 11:12 am

    It is unsecured and interest free. The fact she is paying it back when there is nothing the town could do if she defaulted tells me her reputation is important to her and she is good for it.

  8. Johnny C on June 11th, 2024 11:03 am

    You can’t throw away money as fast as century does even if you maintained a large yacht!

  9. Kate on June 11th, 2024 8:57 am

    Boy folks in Century forgot what HONESTY is about, fools, this woman tried her best leave her alone. Lets see any of you step and do something positive for your community.

  10. Lou on June 11th, 2024 8:42 am

    Put this back on the ballot! I will vote the same way I did before…..NO! Our property taxes are enough already. Duplication of services in many ways. Too many people fall for the word “Children”.

  11. bob c. on June 11th, 2024 7:35 am

    One more bit of evidence that this scam of Escambia Children’s Trust needs to be done away with and the board to go find other windmills to “help”.
    How about providing We the Taxpayerrs with an item by item list of what was purchased for this “UDC” (sounds like a medical disease) and WHERE is all of the items bought? Seems furniture, computers, printers, etc that are Not Consumabl”e items should be locatable and accountable for…. where is all that equipment?
    Whole thing has smelled from the beginning… it DONE!!!

  12. RW on June 11th, 2024 7:32 am


  13. JTV on June 11th, 2024 7:27 am

    You can’t spell Urban Development without DUPE

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