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Announcing a New Five-Year Initiative: Building Community-Led Real Estate Infrastructure

Thursday, June 17, 2021
by Sarah Frankfurth, Director of Regional Programs and Partnerships, Northern California Grantmakers

Finding solutions to bridge the gap between the Bay Area’s fast-paced commercial real estate world and the nonprofit sector, has been a key focus of NCG’s Nonprofit Displacement Project (NDP). Over the past several years, Community Vision, NCG and its NDP partners, have been exploring a strategy to increase critical community-led real estate infrastructure that promotes the security of place, creates for affordability, builds wealth, and supports Black and Brown leadership of community real estate development. We are now excited to announce the launch of the California Community-Owned Real Estate (CalCORE) Program – a five-year, state-wide initiative to increase community-controlled and mission-driven real estate for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color across California.  

CalCORE, led by Community Vision and Genesis LA - a Los Angeles-based Community Development Financial Institution, will build the capacity of small and emergent local Community Development Corporations and Community Land Trusts, with a focus on BIPOC led organizations. This spring, CalCORE has welcomed its first cohort of sixteen CDCs and CLTs from across the state who will spend the next year working with an experienced real estate consultant, and engaging in trainings and peer learning sessions as they build real estate capacity to increase power, wealth, and well-being in low income communities and communities of color. 

Read the announcement from Community Vision below.

Community Vision is thrilled to announce the launch of the California Community-Owned Real Estate (CalCORE) Program. Founded in partnership with Genesis LA, a Los Angeles-based CDFI, CalCORE supports increasing community-controlled and mission-driven real estate for Black communities, Indigenous communities, and communities of color across California. Both CDFIs bring extensive experience providing financing and advice for real estate projects and are committed to cultivating wealth generation, power-building, and place-keeping by supporting self-determination and community ownership of community assets.

CalCORE is a five-year, state-wide initiative that supports small and emergent developers, with a focus on BIPOC-led Community Development Corporations (CDCs) and Community Land Trusts (CLTs). The program is a responsive strategy that builds the number, capacity, and efficacy of local CDCs and CLTs and supports community-led real estate development, acquisition, and mitigates displacement by ensuring local ownership and long-term affordability. These deeply-rooted organizations are nonprofit real estate actors and often serve as a buffer between the commercial real estate market and their communities, but often face both capacity and capital barriers for wider community impact.

We know that community ownership of real estate keeps people rooted in their neighborhoods and is foundational to wealth-building,” said Ruby Harris, Community Vision’s Co-Director of Lending. “Our goal is for CalCORE to support community-based organizations to create sustainable solutions to the real estate gap that leaves so many communities at the mercy of the whims of the market.”

Developed in partnership with community organizations and partners, CalCORE operates on a holistic cohort and peer-based model. Key goals of the program include:

  • Build informal statewide and regional community real estate networks that bolster or establish new and lasting connections between small, local nonprofit real estate developers.
  • Strengthen participant organizations’ operations and advance their real estate project(s) through a blend of training, peer learning, and deep one-on-one technical assistance.
  • Develop flexible and affordable predevelopment and capital pools that are more easily accessible to community real estate projects.
  • Establish local referral networks that are culturally competent (both to BIPOC and nonprofit communities) to make it easier for cohort participants to connect with service providers to support their projects.

Read the full announcement