Capital Impact Partners announced today that it has awarded grants totaling $50,000 to the Association for Black Economic Power and the Sustainable Economies Law Center, co-winners of its fourth annual Co-op Innovation Award. This year, the award recognizes two organizations leading initiatives that address racial inequality and create social impact through economic empowerment for residents in low-income communities.
The Sustainable Economies Law Center (the Law Center) was also awarded $25,000 to increase technical, educational, and operational support for the East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative (EBPREC), which the Law Center is now incubating. EBPREC is bringing together communities of color, indigenous peoples, and housing justice organizations in Oakland, California to pilot an innovative model of land and housing ownership that disrupts root causes of racialized inequality and makes housing and commercial real estate affordable in the long-term. The organization is collaborating with more than 20 organizations across the country to replicate this model with the goal of building a broader movement and national impact.
This innovative model of land ownership engages everyday people to organize, finance, acquire, and steward land and housing. Unlike a conventional housing cooperative, which is formed to provide housing to a defined group of residents, this approach is designed not only to provide housing, but also to build a large membership base and serve members’ collective goal to transform systems for land ownership. This is critical in a community like Oakland, which is experiencing rapid gentrification, leading to the displacement of long-term residents.
“I’ve been working with the amazing leaders of EBPREC for two years, and I’m thrilled that a leadership team will finally get paid to do this important work. I’m so grateful to Capital Impact Partners for investing both in leaders of color and in innovative cooperative models,” said Janelle Orsi, Executive Director of the Law Center.
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(Originally published May 1, 2017.)