FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Developers of Color from Around the U.S. Convene in Atlanta for Elite Program to Advance Racial Equity in the Vastly Underrepresented Housing Industry
Low Income Investment Fund, Capital Impact Partners, Raza Development Fund and Reinvestment Fund lead $40 million, four-year initiative funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, to work with top U.S. housing development firms led by BIPOC owners, to create racially equitable, affordable, adequate housing solutions
ATLANTA (April 18, 2023) — Housing developers of color will convene in Atlanta this week as part of the Growing Diverse Housing Developers (GDHD) initiative, a long-term commitment to create equitable housing solutions around the country. Led by four mission-driven Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation, GDHD is working to improve affordable home availability throughout urban and underserved communities. Overall, the initiative aims to increase the number of racially diverse developers nationally to combat the significant lack of representation in the real estate development industry.
The Growing Diverse Housing Developers initiative was launched as a collaboration from Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), Capital Impact Partners, Raza Development Fund (RDF) and Reinvestment Fund, with $40 million in grant funding from the Wells Fargo Foundation. This week’s GDHD annual gathering is an opportunity for the housing developers from across the country to share best practices, common challenges, and effective approaches in working toward their goal of housing equity and greater diversity in their industry. Program partners, funders, public officials and other community members will also participate in this program, which will feature policy discussions, case study presentations, capital solutions and tours of projects in development around Atlanta.
The ultimate goal of the initiative and the gathering is to elevate the work of the housing developers of color and to create a foundation for the growth of their businesses.
“The Growing Diverse Housing Developers program has exceeded my expectations,” said Darion Dunn, the Managing Partner at Atlanta-based housing development firm Atlantica Properties. “The powerful combination of technical assistance, industry networking opportunities, and customized lending products from Reinvestment Fund is accelerating the growth of Atlantica Properties.”
The GDHD members have combined their resources and perspectives to create solutions that will positively impact the diverse developers’ businesses. They are making great strides to racially diversify the housing industry in cities such as Atlanta, where residents experience the realities of the housing crisis daily. The gathering is a part of a longer four-year program for which the group of diverse developers have been selected. They will receive grants, training and other assistance from the four CDFI organizations, as part of their experience.
“LIIF’s goal is to increase access to capital for Black, Latino and other developers of color by examining and shifting our lending practices. We began working towards this goal with the creation of our Black Developer Capital Initiative and developing our Impact-Risk-Profitably Framework. The Growing Diverse Housing Developers (GDHD) program builds on and supports our work of changing capital systems that have historically and intentionally excluded communities from wealth-building opportunities,” said CEO Daniel A. Nissenbaum at LIIF. “Wells Fargo’s investment in this program helps our partner organizations drive this change and demonstrates to our sector the difference between ‘perceived’ risk and ‘actual’ risk.”
“We seek to invest in diverse real estate developers because there is such a long history of wealth building from real estate,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO at Reinvestment Fund.
It is important to connect a new, more diverse generation of developers to assets that appreciate, cash flow and build community assets as well,”
Racial inequities have existed in the housing industry for generations. GDHD is working past them with this initiative internally by diversifying the leaders of color in the industry — and externally by removing the barriers that prevent people of color from securing affordable homes to reside in and to build generational wealth.
“At Raza Development Fund we direct capital to support big ideas and growth – that includes access to fund real estate, one of the most capital-intensive industries there is,” said David Clower, RDF’s Executive Vice President for Strategic Investments. “Thanks to the support of Wells Fargo and our other partners, we can champion housing developers of color to ultimately strengthen the affordable housing ecosystem. We’re hoping that, together, over time, the industry will more closely resemble the communities that it serves.”
This newest GDHD move toward instilling racial equity within the $175 billion U.S. housing development market is fueled by the collective commitment of the ethnically diverse developers at the helm of the development agencies that have been selected for growth, and their personal insights and understanding of the rapidly increasing need for affordable homes.
“This program confronts the systemic barriers that have kept developers of color behind many of their peers; barriers that have also limited the ability for communities of color to thrive,” said Ellis Carr, president and CEO at Capital Impact Partners, part of the Momentus Capital branded family of organizations. “We are proud to work with Wells Fargo, Low Income Investment Fund, Reinvestment Fund, and Raza Development Fund, to help both the people who will develop projects in communities across the United States – and the community members who will further benefit from many of those same projects.”
The GDHD initiative also benefits communities of color and the residents of low-income and urban communities who stand to directly benefit from an increase in the supply of affordable homes.
About Low Income Investment Fund
Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) is a national community development financial institution (CDFI), headquartered in San Francisco with offices in New York City, Atlanta, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., that invests in communities of opportunity, equity and well-being. As a CDFI, LIIF supports projects that have high social value but lack access to traditional financial institutions. Since 1984, LIIF has deployed more than $3.1 billion to serve 2.5 million people in communities across the country from its five offices. An S&P-rated organization, LIIF funds healthy communities by providing innovative capital solutions.
About Capital Impact Partners
Capital Impact is transforming how capital and investments flow into communities to provide people access to the capital and opportunities they deserve. A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), we work to champion key issues of equity and social and economic justice by deploying mission-driven financing, capacity-building programs, and impact investing opportunities. Capital Impact is now part of the Momentus Capital branded family of organizations, including CDC Small Business Finance and Ventures Lending Technologies. Collectively, we offer a continuum of financial, knowledge, and social capital to help local leaders build inclusive and equitable communities and create generational wealth. This includes a comprehensive package of loan products, impact investment opportunities, training and business advising programs, and technology services that advance locally led solutions.
About Raza Development Fund
Raza Development Fund, Inc. (“RDF”) is a Latino-led and serving Community Development Financial Institution (“CDFI”) formed in 1999 by UnidosUS, (formerly, National Council of La Raza), the country’s largest and longest-serving Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. RDF was created to advance economic opportunity, social mobility, and racial justice. Since inception, RDF has directly invested over a billion dollars in 38 states, leveraging over $6 billion in the areas of education, affordable housing, healthcare, social services, and social entrepreneurship. Headquartered in Phoenix, AZ, RDF lends nationwide. razafund.org/phx/
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We bring financial and analytical tools to partnerships that work to ensure that people in communities across the country have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food and health care, schools where their children can flourish, and strong, local businesses that support jobs. We use data to understand markets and how transactions can have the most powerful impact, which has consistently earned us the top Aeris rating of AAA for financial strength and four stars for impact management. Our asset and risk management systems have also earned us an A+ rating from S&P. Since our inception in 1985, Reinvestment Fund has provided over $2.7 billion in financing to strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and build resilient communities.