Since June of 2020, a diverse team of Madison-area professionals in the real estate, banking, and finance industries have been working to bring an innovative, groundbreaking idea to life. It has been an intense two plus years and we are excited to share the progress.
OWN IT: Building Black Wealth is a private sector initiative designed to eliminate substantial barriers to wealth and homeownership for Black and brown families in the Greater Madison, Wisconsin area. The program does so by providing two key elements: an education program and access to $15,000 for down payment funds with fewer restrictions. This pilot program is offered to families, alumni, and staff, for free, at One City Schools. We plan to continue expand this model locally, with other partners, as well as nationally, by providing a playbook and consulting program.
In 2022, eight families purchased homes using the $15,000 down payment funds!
There are three main aspects to this unique model:
- Down Payment Fund. Because this is privately funded by the community and our local real estate community, we have removed typical restrictions that have made government funded down payment assistance programs challenging to access and utilized for Black and brown communities. When an OWN IT family applies for financing, the $15,000 down payment grant is like a gift, is guaranteed, and makes it possible for the Buyer to write an offer without a DPA contingency. Read more here.
- Education Program. We offer a set of courses and continued monthly cohort learning spaces for families to expand their financial literacy and wealth building education and learn more about the tool of homeownership for creating generational wealth. Representation matters. The education team of Black and brown experts share knowledge, a strong network of connections, and use a racial justice framework with the curriculum that includes learning the history of racism within the real estate and banking industries as well as the impact of modern-day redlining. Read more here.
- Fund Producing Model. This addresses the common question – where does the money come from while providing a pathway for the community to directly invest in Black and brown communities and to help decrease the astounding wealth gap. This also gives the real estate and banking communities, who own the impact of racism within their industries, a way to contribute a percentage or portion of their earnings from every real estate transaction systemically to the fund. Learn more here.
We continue to learn from this pilot program and as it grows, we adjust and make necessary changes. If you are interested in learning more about the racial justice in the real estate world, download this free toolkit, share with your Realtor and Lender friends, and join us in the movement (sign up for the OWN IT newsletter). We are always seeking volunteers and support in spreading the message.
OWN IT Progress
- About 50 real estate professionals have signed up to be Ambassadors of the program
- 8 brokers are also participating, making it easy for their agents to become Ambassadors
- $380,000+ has been raised for the downpayment fund
- 59 families have completed the Wealth Building course
- 22 participants completed the Homeownership course
- 10 families have been awarded a down payment grant of $15,000
- 8 families have closed on their new homes!
“Thank you everyone for this great opportunity! As a single mom of two, this grant means a lot to me and my family. This program has taught me so much about building and maintaining wealth. I am also looking forward to learning more about building equity and all it takes to be a homeowner in the monthly cohorts! Owning my own home is a dream come true.” – Raghiatou B., an OWN IT participant, One City parent, and new homeowner