Enterprise Community Partners announced today that its Equitable Path Forward initiative reached its initial $350 million Growth Fund goal just one year after launching in December 2020, enabling it to invest in affordable housing providers of color across the country. Enterprise will continue to channel this unprecedented investor interest to grow the operations and market share of developers of color to address historic inequities in the real estate industry and the communities the industry serves.
The Growth Fund is the central pillar of Equitable Path Forward, which seeks to dismantle the legacy of racism in housing—including what types of homes get built, where they’re built, who builds them and the wealth that they generate. Equitable Path Forward fills the capital gap created by decades of systemic racism, provides advisory services to housing providers and creates new career pathways to diversify real estate, an industry in which only 2% of development companies are Black-led and minority-led firms control only 1.5% of assets under management.
“The response to Equitable Path Forward has been overwhelming. Our coalition of investor partners will help us break down the barriers that have limited developers’ access to capital for decades,” said Priscilla Almodovar, president and chief executive officer, Enterprise. “We are here for change and we are just getting started.”
Investors include a diverse and blue-chip range of companies, banks and foundations, including: Bank of America, Ford Foundation, Go ATL, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Kresge Foundation, MacKenzie Scott, National Philanthropic Trust, Netflix, NY Attorney General, New York Life, Northern Trust, Ralph C. Wilson Foundation, Siemens Foundation, and U.S. Bank.
Through a partnership with Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies and the Community Investment Guarantee Pool, Enterprise also launched as part of Equitable Path Forward a first-of-its-kind Standby Guaranty Facility, a credit enhancement tool that helps unlock access to capital for developers of color whose balance sheets do not meet traditional investor requirements. Not only will this immediately unlock capital to developers who have been locked out of traditional investor pools, but the operating history that follows will help change the system by proving to the capital markets that these investments are well worth making within their required risk-adjusted returns, and that will in turn help unlock exponentially greater investment in these housing providers and the communities they serve.
“JPMorgan Chase is proud to partner with Enterprise to build new levels of equity in Black, Hispanic and Latino communities by supporting housing providers who reflect the neighborhoods they develop,” said Alice Carr, Head of Community Development Banking, JPMorgan Chase. “Equitable Path Forward demonstrates bold thinking and practical application, and its objects align well with our firm’s Racial Equity Commitment.”
Equitable Path Forward’s investments span the breadth of the country and the wide range of capital products Enterprise offers. To date, over $150 million has been committed to dozens of developers of color across every region of the country. And Enterprise is in conversations with dozens more housing providers about additional investment, including many businesses that would have limited alternative options for raising the type of capital needed to grow their operations and create affordable homes in their communities.
“To see greater equity and improved community outcomes, capital needs to move to community-driven developers with experience like The Unity Council,” said Chris Iglesias, CEO of The Unity Council. “Enterprise’s Equitable Path Forward initiative will allow us to preserve the vitality of communities of color that have suffered from decades of disinvestment and racism.”
Over the next four years and beyond, Enterprise will continue to advance racial equity and invest in housing providers committed to creating equitable and inclusive neighborhoods.