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Amazon provides $21M to create real estate developers of color program – Virginia Business Magazine

Capital Impact Partners used grant to make Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship

Amazon.com Inc. announced Wednesday a $21 million grant to create a professional training, mentorship and capital funding program for real estate developers of color focused on affordable housing.

“With this accelerator program, we are laser focused on lifting up emerging real estate developers of color. We want to foster their professional growth through education and training, as well as improve their access to capital, which can be elusive to developers of color,” Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund, said in a statement.

With the Amazon Housing Equity Fund grant, Arlington-based Capital Impact Partners created the Housing Equity Accelerator Fellowship. The fellowship is a two-year, part-time professional development program for a cohort of real estate developers with practical experience in the field and a focus on affordable housing development.

“Developers of color bring enormous opportunity for inclusive ideas and creativity to community-focused real estate development, but the barrier to entry is often very high for these individuals,” Ellis Carr, president and CEO of Capital Impact Partners and CDC Small Business Finance, said in a statement. “We are excited about the support from Amazon to create this fellowship and work to bridge those gaps and foster opportunity and inclusivity for developers.”

The program will provide real estate training focused on developing affordable housing in the Washington, D.C., area, small group mentorship and access to grant capital for pre-development expenses.

To be eligible, fellows need to be Black, indigenous or people of color, full-time developers, have completed two affordable housing development projects or have two underway, have affordable residential development activities focused on the greater Washington, D.C., area and be in need of additional balance sheet capacity and access to networks and specialized training topics to grow their businesses.

Amazon created its more than $2 billion Housing Equity Fund to provide below-market loans and grants to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable homes for individuals and families earning moderate to low incomes in hometown cities of Seattle; Nashville, Tennessee and the Washington, D.C., area.

Capital Impact Partners has disbursed more than $2.5 billion since 1982.

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