Our vision is a country where home and community are steppingstones to more. It’s a new vision that reflects what we know from 40 years of advocating for affordable housing: home and community matter most.
Yet in so many neighborhoods across the country, people can’t afford a good place to call home. Against a backdrop of higher housing costs, lower wage growth and rising inequality, the need for affordable housing threatens the well-being of us all. Covid-19 has only worsened inequities.
Add to that a global pandemic, and you have a backdrop that jeopardizes the housing stability of too many, and has laid bare the need for a national reckoning on racial injustice that is long past due.
This backdrop has fueled Enterprise’s new Strategic Plan, which more sharply focuses on “what we do” and establishes a new, more integrated way of “how we work” – all to maximize our impact.
Three Strategic Priorities
We’re on a mission to make home and community places of pride, power and belonging, and platforms for resilience and upward mobility for all. To strengthen our impact, we’ve sharpened our focus where we can make the most impact on the most systemic challenges – all so that people not only make rent, they build futures. Enterprise’s new strategic goals are to:
- Increase Housing Supply: Every day, we work to put good homes within reach. We invest in and advocate for the preservation and production of quality homes that are affordable.
- Advance Racial Equity: Dismantling the enduring legacy of systemic racism in housing – in policy, practice and investment – has become central to the work we do.
- Build Resilience and Upward Mobility: We strengthen people and places to prepare for and recover from shocks to ultimately promote stability, well-being and upward mobility.
Three Divisions Aligned to Reach Our Goals
Organized for impact, Enterprise now operates across three divisions – Solutions, Capital and Communities:
- Solutions: As I shared last week, after a nationwide search, Jacqueline Waggoner was named to lead our Solutions division, which operates nationwide with programmatic, policy, advisory and capacity-building arms at the national, state and local level. In more than 800 communities and in collaboration with thousands of partners in the nonprofit, public- and for-profit sectors, we drive systems change to benefit people and the places they call home.
- Capital: Led by Charlie Werhane, our Capital division invests and asset manages a range of tax credits and equity, operates a nonprofit that is one of the country’s largest publicly rated Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), and, through Bellwether Enterprise, provides access to conventional mortgage products.
- Communities: With Brian McLaughlin at the helm, our new Communities division operates the nation’s fifth-largest affordable housing nonprofit developer, owner, operator and provider of resident services – serving 22,000 residents across 13,000 homes.
These three divisions form the foundation of Enterprise’s unique end-to-end approach. We invest in creating and preserving affordable homes. We own and operate rental homes and provide resident services. We advocate for policy and best practices that drive systems change. We operate on a national scale with a local on-the-ground presence. We work with more than 2,000 partners to design, test and scale solutions.
Measuring Impact Differently
As we work to close wealth gaps and end historic disparities, we are shifting how we evaluate our impact. This means connecting the dots more tightly between our three strategic priorities and the resources we deploy every day. And it means shifting to focus not only on the number of housing units and dollars invested, but on the impact we’re having on people, communities and systems.
The result will be greater intention brought to where we invest, the resident voices we seek to elevate and the essential partnerships we hope to leverage.
Working Together with Exceptional Partners
Our impact reflects the commitment of our nationwide partners. I especially want to thank our funders whose exceptional support helped pave a path for our new strategic course.
- Housing instability caused by Covid-19 has devastated many communities, and has exacerbated the need to address the root causes of the housing affordability crisis across the United States. With grants from Wells Fargo totaling over $22 million for local and national initiatives, Enterprise provided emergency assistance to residents, helped housing organizations remain stable during the pandemic, and strengthened our Faith-Based Development Initiative in the Mid-Atlantic. And, through the Housing Affordability Breakthrough Challenge, we awarded grants to six innovators reimagining how affordable housing is built, financed and supports residents.
- We’re moving forward on our commitment to help close the racial wealth gap with a $5 million grant from Ballmer Group. To promote cradle-to-career success through better housing, we’ve teamed up with StriveTogether to align housing and education initiatives and strengthen other partnerships committed to erasing disparities and promoting upward mobility.
- The Ford Foundation and Kresge Foundation have contributed more than $2.4 million to a new fund focused on investing in strengthening Detroit’s neighborhoods. This support is helping to ultimately address the racial disparities facing individuals and families of color.
- Nowhere in the nation is preservation more critical than in California’s Bay Area and L.A. regions. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative contributed nearly $1.4 million to support our efforts to help more residents stay in their homes by increasing the supply of affordable housing and advocating for policies that strengthen protections for renters.
This tremendous support has positioned us well as we put our new Strategic Plan into action. Working together, we will make a difference for families and communities across our country.