by Samantha Haas
on Tuesday, February 28th, 2023 at 5:33pm.
We’re excited to share the following updates from the OWN IT: Building Black Wealth program, a private sector initiative designed to address and eliminate barriers to wealth building and homeownership for Black and brown families in Madison.
Eight families purchased a home in 2022 with support from OWN IT down payment funds and valuable education offerings. The pilot program is currently offered only to families, alumni, and staff at One City Schools, but OWN IT hopes to expand as the organization develops.
Pictured above: The first OWN IT homebuyer closed on her first home in April 2022. Congratulations, Kelsey and One City Schools! And a big shout out to all the supporters of this movement to build Black and brown wealth in the Madison area. It takes us ALL to own the problem and be part of the solution.
OWN IT recently welcomed its first executive director, Myesha Thompson (pictured at right). Prior to her hiring, Myesha joined OWN IT co-creator Tiffany Malone (pictured at left) on a PBS Wisconsin episode of “Why Race Matters” to explore the difficulties facing Black home buyers in today’s home buying market that you can watch here.
And congratulations to Tiffany for receiving the distinguished Good Neighbor Award from the Realtors Association of South Central Wisconsin for all her work with OWN IT!
Pictured at left: "As a single mom, this grant means a lot to me and my family. The OWN IT program has taught me so much about building and maintaining wealth. I am so excited to be a homeowner for the first time ever!" - Raghiatou, One City Parent
Pictured at right: Ann Raschein, center, helps with the Wealth Building course, pictured here with fellow OWN IT Ambassadors Jonathon Ferguson, left, and Mercedes Lewis, right.
On February 28th, some of our team members attended OWN IT’s viewing of the film “Our America: Lowballed,” which examines racial bias in home appraisals and within the real estate industry, followed by a moderated talkback with Tiffany and Myesha. According to the event description, "refinance applications in Black neighborhoods are five times more likely to be under-appraised than in white communities and home-purchase loans in Black neighborhoods are more than twice as likely to be under-appraised."
OWN IT writes, “In honor of Black History Month, it is important to educate ourselves on the impact that history has on the significant wealth gap between Black and white families and to challenge ourselves as we engage in conversations about the racial disparities in homeownership rates and the work that needs to be done.” We hope you’ll join us!