CEO Corner: Introducing the RiseUp Fund

Posted on Dec 02, 2020

A note from Houwzer CEO & Co-Founder Mike Maher.

As we kick off giving season, I wanted to share about an exciting initiative Houwzer will be rolling out soon: a new fund that will help accelerate generational upward mobility of the underserved through homeownership. 

From the beginning, land and home ownership was the clearest path to wealth in America, but rights to property in the United States have never been equal for all. The segregation of America has created compounding structural inequalities that have had a lasting impact. And the real estate industry played a material role in the racial homeownership gap that exists today. 

Homeownership is powerfully important, and its benefits are undisputed. Homeownership creates safety and security for the family. Housing security has been linked to healthier kids and improved performance in school and work, which leads to better income and opportunities. Homeownership also creates equity which leads to generational upward mobility. Upward mobility helps level the playing field with equal opportunities for growth, which fosters real equality. 

We see homeownership as the missing link in the chain for both wealth and opportunity creation. Homeownership has become unattainable for far too many for far too long. There are many families who have a steady income to make mortgage payments, but lack the liquidity needed upfront for a home purchase. As a B Corp real estate brokerage, we feel compelled to take the lead and to break down the barriers to homeownership in the communities we serve.

That’s why we’re creating the RiseUp Fund. 

Inspired by other ‘buy one, give one’ impact models, Houwzer will donate $100 to the RiseUp Fund for every home we help our clients buy or sell. 100% of those funds will go directly to down payment and closing cost assistance for families who need it. 

Through our fund’s resources and partnerships, we’ll provide underserved families access to homes with built-in equity, help them secure affordable mortgages, offer financial literacy courses, and post move-in support. The vision is to make homeownership attainable for those who lack the resources to escape the cycle of perpetual renting.

I’ve always felt strongly about building a company that balances purpose with profit and uses business as a force for good. (It’s why we became the first residential real estate brokerage in the world to be certified as a B Corporation.) While Houwzer has done a lot of good through volunteering, giving back, and treating our workers well – that’s really the bare minimum of what businesses should do.

We’re ready to do more – it’s time to take our impact model to the next level. The events of this past year have highlighted the needs that still exist. The best way for Houwzer to recognize and support underserved communities is to empower them to become homeowners.

We’ll be sharing more details over the next few months – what the initiative looks like, who it will be serving, and how you can get involved. We’re so excited to see what we can accomplish together. To learn more, check out our recent feature in The Philadelphia Citizen.

-Mike Maher

CEO & Co-Founder, Houwzer

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