CPF Proposal 2: Own It! Building Black Wealth Educational Materials

St. Dunstan’s Community Project Fund: Housing Grants

In early 2024, St. Dunstan’s will be giving away $70,000 in grants to help address the housing crisis in Dane County and beyond. These funds were set aside to serve those outside our parish, during our capital campaign for a major renovation in 2018-2019. Read more about this process in last week’s special Enews mailing about it.

We have received four grant applications for these funds, and we’ll be sharing about the projects and organizations over the weeks ahead. In mid-January we will begin a parish feedback project where members and friends of St. Dunstan’s can share their thoughts about where you would most like to see our funding go. Please read, reflect, and take notes!

Second Application: Education for Home Ownership 

Organization: Own It: Building Black Wealth

Project title: Own It: Building Black Wealth Education Program Expansion

Own It: Building Black Wealth is a collaboration between Madison-area real estate, banking, and financial professionals to break down systemic barriers to homeownership for Madison’s Black and brown communities.

In Madison, about 15% of Black families own their home, compared to .30% of Hispanic families and over 50% of white families in Madison own their home. The national average for homeownership for Black families is about 45%.

Homeownership rates are a major reason for the large disparity in family wealth between white and Black families, and access to money is one of the biggest barriers to homeownership. This feedback loop prevents families of color from building generational wealth.

To learn a little more about home ownership and the racial wealth gap, here is some information from the US Treasury Department, and an article from the American Civil Liberties Union. There’s lots more to learn if you are interested!

Click on the picture below to watch a 2-minute video about the Own It! program. And read some Own It! success stories here!

The Own It: Building Black Wealth Education Program has two key components:

  1. Education:  Own It’s Wealth Building and Homeownership courses improve financial literacy and understanding of homeownership as it relates to building wealth. Their website states, “We are able to offer a personal finance course and homeownership course that is rooted in social justice and includes: understanding credit, a cohort to build credit, real estate and home ownership education, plus post closing support and a network to provide continued education around refinancing, home maintenance, building equity, and more.” The program provides families with continued guidance, mentorship, and support after completion of the initial coursework.
  2. Down-Payment Grants: Upon completion of the courses, families can apply for an $18,000 grant for down payment funds (the 2024 federal gift tax limit). These funds are non-restrictive and remove a barrier to homeownership, especially given that the real estate market is competitive and having access to cash makes an offer stronger.

Much of Own It’s funding comes directly from real estate, bank, and financial professionals who believe in this initiative and give a portion of their commissions to make it possible for Black and brown families to own homes!

Since starting as a pilot project in 2021, Own It has enrolled 281 participants in its courses, awarded 14 down payment grants of $15,000 each, and made it possible for 10 families to become first time homeowners.

Currently, the beneficiaries of this program are the families and staff of One City Schools. One City is an independent charter school in Dane County. Their student population is 90% non-white, with nearly 80% of students identifying as Black or multi-racial.

What We Need Funds For:

Based on participant feedback, Own It! wants to offer self-paced, online courses (rather than in-person) for the busy families they serve.

Grant funding from St. Dunstan’s would go directly toward redesigning the curriculum for online use, and would free up volunteer time (which is already stretched thin!) while allowing us to serve more families by expanding beyond One City School families to other organizations.

We estimate the cost of this expansion, including consultant fees, online course creation, and software, to be $26,800.

You can learn more about Own It: Building Black Wealth at the following links:

Madison365.com article

CapTimes article