Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta Forms Collaborative To Preserve and Create 6,000 Homeowners of Color

Wells Fargo Foundation Awards $7.5 Million Wealth Opportunities Restored Through Homeownership (WORTH) grant
Oct 28, 2022 9:05 AM ET
Group standing together at a community event
From left to right: Chuck Bishop, Wells Fargo Home Lending Diverse Segments; Ashani O’Mard, SVP Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership; Rosalyn Merrick, COO Habitat for Humanity Atlanta; Frank Fernandez, President Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta; Nancy Flake-Johnson, President & CEO Urban League of Greater Atlanta; Anna Roach, Executive Director Atlanta Regional Commission; Dr. George French, President Clark Atlanta University; Odie Donald, II, Chief of Staff to Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens.

Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta forms collaborative to preserve and cr…

ATLANTA, October 28, 2022 /3BL Media/ - In an unprecedented partnership of business, civic, nonprofit and philanthropic organizations, the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta amassed a coalition of support to preserve and create 6,000 homeowners of color in Atlanta. Its focus is two-fold:

  1. Create affordable homes for people historically precluded from homeownership
  2. Reduce the significant racial wealth gap

The Community Foundation, working closely with the City of Atlanta and dozens of nonprofits that support the region’s housing sector, has sought solutions for expanded homeownership for communities of color for many years, leading to this coalition of support and funding.

A multimillion-dollar grant opportunity from the Wells Fargo Foundation helped galvanize coalition partners. The $7.5 million donation to the Atlanta coalition comes from Wells Fargo’s Wealth Opportunities Restored through Homeownership (WORTH) initiative, a $60 million national effort to help create 40,000 new homeowners of color by the end of 2025. Atlanta is one of eight markets across the U.S. to receive a WORTH grant. It was awarded to the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, which will lead the new Atlanta collaborative.

“Momentum has been building for housing solutions in metro Atlanta for years, and once collaborative partners were asked to put pen to paper and make a financial or in-kind commitment, our region really rose to the challenge,” said Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta. “We have now turned intent into action, with a clear plan, a timeline, and a transparent commitment to drive change. Transforming a $7.5 million Wells Fargo funding opportunity into more than $220 million in leverage is, to say the least, a proof point of our partners’ passion for housing equity throughout the region.”

Fernandez continued, “The collaborative partners spent two months actively working together to build the winning grant application, which involved amassing the $220 million in combined capital, philanthropic grants, concessionary debt and in-kind services. Through these four channels, approximately $146 million is committed capital focused on homeownership. Of the $146 million, half is low cost, concessionary debt and the other half is philanthropic grant dollars and a plethora of in-kind services. The remaining $74 million is philanthropic dollars that can be garnered as we produce results on the first $146 million. What’s great for Atlanta with this collaborative group is that the leverage brings these dollars together in a coordinated way to have greater impact and unlocks philanthropic dollars that otherwise may have been unavailable because of the sheer volume of the teaming.”

Metro Atlanta consistently ranks as one of the nation’s worst regions for upward mobility(1) despite being home to the second largest population of mortgage-ready Black households(2) in America, in a market that can support accessible prices for homebuyers at most incomes. The racial homeownership gap between Black and white households is now the highest it has been in more than 50 years(3). As of 2019, only 49.9% of households of color owned their home, compared to 75.7% of their white counterparts(4). Black Atlantans, who make up the largest BIPOC demographic in metro Atlanta, are less than half as likely to own their home as white Atlantans. It is estimated that 92% of Black household wealth is in their homes, making home ownership a critical wealth-building strategy.

“Affordable housing is at the center of my administration’s efforts to build safe, healthy neighborhoods, where ALL Atlantans can thrive,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “For too long the dream of homeownership has been out of reach for too many of our neighbors. This announcement is a watershed moment for Atlanta and the region, and I am proud to continue to support the efforts of the Community Foundation as they continue to invest in our community.”

Collaborative members have committed a broad range of support, including direct funding, education and financial assistance for prospective homeowners, housing units and land for residential development. Partners and resources will be coordinated within an online homeownership HUB, launching later this year from the Urban League, to connect potential buyers and related providers to resources (down payment assistance, Realtors®, etc.) and to connect homebuilders with mortgage-ready buyers. Atlanta Housing, Atlanta Neighborhood Development Partnership (ANDP), the Atlanta Regional Commission, HouseATL and the Urban League of Greater Atlanta are among the key partners who will be advancing the work of the collaborative.

“The significant homeownership gap is a pervasive problem throughout our society and too great a challenge for any one entity to tackle,” said Otis Rolley, president of the Wells Fargo Foundation and head of Philanthropy and Community Impact. “Through our grant, we want to accelerate the collective strength of the Atlanta WORTH collaborative to help make affordable homeownership a reality for more people so they can pass that legacy on to their children.”

The City of Atlanta and Community Foundation committed more than $20 million each to this effort. Other key funders and partners include ANDP, Enterprise Community Partners, Habitat for Humanity regional teams based in Atlanta, DeKalb, Gwinnett/Walton and Northwest Atlanta, LISC and Reinvestment Fund, each committing more than $10 million in capital or housing production and preservation.

Nearly 50 organizations, from corporations to municipalities and nonprofits, signed letters of support toward this effort, illustrating the groundswell of commitment and momentum that exists in metro Atlanta. Other organizations were engaged throughout the research, planning and grant application process to analyze market conditions and identify potential solutions.

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta has more than 70 years of deep leadership for fundraising via multiple avenues and for leveraging philanthropy to connect organizations and resources for successful programs. Additionally, its support of HouseATL as a regional collaboration toward housing equity accelerated in 2022 with enhanced commitments to drive action.

Access to affordable housing and addressing the racial wealth gap are key tenets of the Foundation’s TogetherATL promise to create a more prosperous and equitable Atlanta for all who call it home.

About the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta inspires and leads the Atlanta region toward equity and shared prosperity for all who call it home. TogetherATL is the Foundation’s strategic ethos, working through a collaborative approach with community stakeholders, donors, nonprofits and others to examine complex challenges the region faces and create solutions that build a thriving region. Started in 1951, the Community Foundation shepherds approximately $1.4 billion in current assets through its 1,000+ donor funds, while simultaneously raising and deploying more than $120 million annually to thousands of nonprofit organizations. It is Georgia’s second largest foundation. For more information visit: or connect with the Foundation via Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Media Contact:
Nichole Owens, 770.383.2307

1Brookings Institution, 2019
2National Association of Realtors Policy Conference, 2020
3Harvard University Joint Center for Housing Studies, 2019
4Prosperity Now Scorecard, ACS 2015-2019