Growing Diverse Housing Developers: A New Training Program For Developers of Color
Capital Impact Partners joins forces with LIIF and Reinvestment Fund for a program sponsored by the Wells Fargo Foundation in support of real estate developers of color and creating more affordable housing
Capital Impact Partners is partnering with Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) and Reinvestment Fund to expand its commitment to helping real estate developers of color grow their businesses in an industry where they have long been underrepresented.
Through a $30 million grant from the Wells Fargo Foundation, the three mission-driven Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) will implement Growing Diverse Housing Developers, a new program that will connect housing developers of color with lower-cost, flexible capital, as well as the training, mentorship, and resources needed to grow and scale their businesses. Growing Diverse Housing Developers also seeks to increase the supply of homes that are affordable in several key regions across the country.
The much-needed support provided by this free program – support which is often not available to developers of color – will have a significant impact on the developers’ ability to build, own, and operate high-quality affordable housing across the United States.
“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 of Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance. “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.”
“We want to increase racial equity in real estate development, ultimately creating a more inclusive housing ecosystem,” said Bill Daley, vice chairman of public affairs at Wells Fargo. “One stark reality is that people of color are significantly underfunded and underrepresented in the real estate industry. Through Growing Diverse Housing Developers, we can help strengthen diverse housing developers, enabling them to grow their businesses, and at the same time, offer communities more affordable options for renters and homeowners.”
Growing Diverse Housing Developers Cohort
The cohort will include 27 real estate developers, both nonprofit and for-profit. Capital Impact Partners, LIIF, and Reinvestment Fund will work with these developers, who are based out of California; Georgia; Texas; and the Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., metropolitan regions.
“Low Income Investment Fund is committed to addressing the institutional and structural racism that created the persistent inequities people of color grapple with by mobilizing capital to those historically excluded from wealth building opportunities,” said Kimberly Latimer-Nelligan, president of Low Income Investment Fund, which is headquartered in San Francisco. “In that commitment, we made it a priority to partner with organizations looking to make the same impact. We look forward to supporting this cohort as they build equitable and opportunity-rich communities.”
“Reinvestment Fund is acutely aware of the challenges that developers of color face in fair access to capital and wealth-building opportunities in the housing industry and has committed to examining and addressing the practices that have contributed to these disparities,” said Amanda High, the chief impact, development and innovation officer at Reinvestment Fund, which has offices in Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia. “We are delighted to partner with other capital providers through this program to not only support a cohort of diverse developers but spur systemic changes that will help more developers of color and their communities grow and thrive.”
The 27 participating developers are:
- Leonard Adams, Quest Community Development Organization, Atlanta
- Daniel Alexander, Domos Coliving, Atlanta
- Jonathan Anyumba, Anyumba Construction and Development, Philadelphia
- James Armstrong III, Builders of Hope Community Development Corporation, Dallas
- Juan Barahona, SMJ Development, New York City
- Shaun Belle, CMC Development Group, New York City and Atlanta
- Jason Brown, Dallas City Homes, Dallas
- Michaela Cancel, Neighborhood Development Company, Washington, D.C.
- Laolu Davies-Yemitan, Five Woods Realty, Houston
- Joel Dixon, Urban Oasis Development, Atlanta
- Nadine Ngouabe Dlodlo, Women’s Home Preservation LLC, Baltimore
- Darion Dunn, Atlantica Properties, Atlanta
- Joanna Griffith, Community Housing Development Corporation, Richmond, California
- Sharon D. Guest, Radiant Development Partners, Atlanta
- Alicia Matricardi, New Economics for Women, Los Angeles
- Diarra McKinney, Rosewood Strategies, Washington, D.C.
- Gina Merritt, Northern Real Estate Urban Ventures LLC, Washington, D.C.
- Siree Morris, MCI Property Management and Construction, Newark, New Jersey
- Cherie Ong, Good Places LLC, Atlanta
- Logan O’Phelan, Clifford Beers Housing Inc., Los Angeles
- Kathy Payton, Fifth Ward Community Redevelopment Corporation, Houston
- Kyle Rawlins, BIG Oakland, Oakland, California
- Rob Richardson, IBF Development, Washington, D.C.
- Cherene Sandidge, Sandidge Urban Group, Hercules, California
- Yvonne Stennett, Community League of the Heights, New York City
- Michael Thorpe, Mt. Vernon Manor CDC, Philadelphia
- Lorraine Wilson-Drake, Wilson-Drake Development LLC, Philadelphia
The cohort will feature a monthly curriculum that includes:
- Peer learning sessions
- Advisory services
- Dedicated mentorship
National and regional events to provide essential knowledge and networks to support business growth. The developers will also have access to enterprise-level grants that will fund investments in their infrastructure, staff, and other resources that will help them increase the capacity of their organizations, as well as $100 million that Capital Impact Partners, Low Income Investment Fund, and Reinvestment Fund have committed toward innovative financial products funding the affordable housing pipeline in focused geographic areas.
An Expanded Commitment
Programs like these are incredibly important given the gaps in representation for real estate developers of color, including:
- Just 2 percent of real estate development companies are Black-led, according to Enterprise Community Partners.
- Real estate firms led by people of color control only 1.5 percent of real estate assets that are under management, according to Enterprise.
- Just 4.4 percent of commercial real estate professionals are Black, according to a 2013 survey by NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association.
- Just 5 percent of the Urban Land Institute’s members are Black, according to a 2020 report.
Developers of color face multiple challenges and obstacles in their field not experienced as frequently by White peers when it comes to:
- Business connections, family wealth, or the backing of a network of investors.
- Access to development opportunities, or ‘a seat at the table’
- Capital limitations that are exacerbated as traditional underwriting standards work against Black and Brown developers
- Market and ecosystem factors
Growing Diverse Housing Developers expands on each of the partners’ programming supporting developers of color to participate in real estate development in their regions.
- Low Income Investment Fund, in partnership with National Affordable Housing Trust, launched the Black Developer Capital Initiative in 2021.
- Reinvestment Fund has financed investment vehicles in Philadelphia and Baltimore to support undercapitalized housing developers, particularly those historically underrepresented in development.
- Capital Impact Partners has trained, or is training, nearly 200 developers of color through its Equitable Development Initiative (EDI) programs in the Detroit, Washington, San Francisco and Dallas areas; and welcomed its first cohort of the Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship in the D.C. region in May 2022.
About Capital Impact Partners:
Through capital and commitment, Capital Impact Partners helps people build communities of opportunity that break barriers to success. 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.
A nonprofit Community Development Financial Institution, Capital Impact has disbursed more than $2.5 billion since 1982. In 2020, Capital Impact launched a new enterprise with CDC Small Business Finance under one leadership team and national strategy to reinvent traditional and mainstream financial systems. Our goal is to ensure these systems equitably serve communities of color to drive community-led solutions that support economic mobility and wealth creation.
Our leadership in delivering financial and social impact has resulted in Capital Impact being rated by S&P Global and recognized by Aeris for our performance. Headquartered in Arlington, VA, Capital Impact Partners operates nationally, with local offices in Austin, TX, Detroit, MI, New York, NY, and Oakland, CA.
Learn more at capitalimpact.org and investedincommunities.org.
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 $2.7 billion to serve more than two 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. Learn more at liifund.org.
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 everyone has access to essential opportunities: 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, communities, and impediments to opportunity—and how investment and policy decisions can have the most powerful impact. 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. Learn more at reinvestment.com.
Capital Impact Partners
Low Income Investment Fund