Houwzer Launches RiseUp Fund, Provides Pathway To First-Time Homeownership For Underserved Families

For every home Houwzer helps its clients buy or sell, Houwzer donates $100 to the RiseUp Fund with 100% of those funds supporting eligible families with first-time homebuyer grants and programs

Houwzer, a next generation, end-to-end real estate brokerage and homeownership platform powered by proprietary technology and an all-W2 labor model, announces the launch of the RiseUp Fund. RiseUp, an independent, Federally-chartered nonprofit organization created by Houwzer, provides a clear path toward homeownership for underserved families through education, financial assistance, and empowerment. Houwzer, a certified B Corporation since 2016 and the first B Corporation real estate brokerage in the world, donates $100 to the RiseUp Fund for every home it helps its clients buy or sell with 100% of those funds supporting eligible families with homebuyer grants and programs.

Using the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) classification as defined by the United Way, RiseUp serves low-to-moderate-income individuals and families who need help to secure their own home. Houwzer then uses its resources to help families acquire homes in appreciating communities, deliver turnkey homes with built-in equity, and secure affordable financing. Houwzer’s unique one-stop-shop model with in-house mortgage and title significantly reduces the overall costs for the eligible families.

“As we continue to navigate one of the most difficult housing climates in history, Houwzer remains committed to leveling the playing field and assuring everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American dream of homeownership,” said Mike Maher, Houwzer CEO. “Through the RiseUp Fund, we are putting real dollars and real resources directly in the hands of families who need it most. We help cover the closing costs while offering our expert salaried agents, affordable mortgage services, and a host of education and mentoring programs to set them up for successful homeownership long after the purchase of their first home.”

“My vision for the RiseUp Fund was inspired by Richard Rothstein’s book, ‘The Color of Law’, and the philanthropic work done by ‘The Admiral’, David Robinson, the NBA basketball legend, who I’ve had the great opportunity to get to know over the years when his private equity fund, Admiral Capital Group, co-led our Seed round,” said Mike Maher, Houwzer CEO. “David also invested personally in Houwzer, and a big part of his thesis was our ability to create an impact model as disruptive as our business model.” David Robinson’s philanthropic career off the court, with a large focus on childhood education, has been just as impressive as his basketball career on the court.

“As an investor in Houwzer and Chairman Emeritus at RiseUp Fund, I believe homeownership has perhaps the most demonstrable impact on so many critical outcomes for underserved families – stability, security, safety, health, equal opportunity, upward mobility, and wealth creation,” said David Robinson. “I believe that residential segregation has created compounding structural inequalities that have significantly impacted the homeownership opportunity for our black and brown communities, among other underserved populations. The RiseUp Fund represents a next-generation impact model that will create a repeatable, scalable platform for homeownership and help accelerate the generational wealth opportunity for the underserved.”

The RiseUp Fund offers a $5,000 grant to be used to offset closing costs for first-time homebuyers who are considered low- to moderate-income earners. In partnership with RiseUp, Houwzer is able to further offset closing costs through interested party contributions and/or reducing its compensation to $0. The RiseUp Fund also offers HUD-certified homebuyer educational seminars, which are mandatory precursors prior to awarding the grant. Awardees will be assigned a HUD-Certified Housing Counselor as a mentor to assist them throughout their first year of homeownership to avoid pitfalls and mishaps that are common to first-time homeowners. Awards are based upon demonstrated financial need, geography, and successful completion of a HUD-certified homebuyer education seminar.

In December 2021, RiseUp helped its first family purchase their forever home in North Philadelphia. The recipient, a single mom of two children, benefited from Houwzer’s full array of services and was able to select a home in a neighborhood of her choice– a differentiator for RiseUp compared to other home assistance programs that do not offer participants the power to choose.

Simultaneously, RiseUp announced its esteemed national Board of Directors which includes:

This year, RiseUp will award ten (10) $5,000 grants to low-to-moderate-income families who are first-time homebuyers in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas. In 2023, the organization will award twenty (20) $5,000-grants and expand its footprint to the Washington, D.C. and Baltimore, Maryland communities and by 2024, RiseUp will reach the sunshine state, Florida.

“Homeownership has always been the clearest path to wealth in America, but systematically there’s been inequitable access to buying a home,” commented Suzanne Garber, CEO of the RiseUp Fund. “Our mission is to accelerate generational wealth of the underserved through homeownership. When our recipients close on their homes and are handed the keys, they’ve gained confidence, are more empowered, and have the knowledge and skills necessary to own and maintain a home for the long-term, passing on that asset to the next generations.”

To apply for RiseUp or become a partner in the Fund, please visit www.riseupfund.org.