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Netflix commits $25 Million to the “Equitable Path Forward” Initiative to Counter Racial Inequities Rooted in Housing

by Kelly Washington

Netflix Incorporated and Enterprise Community Partners (“Enterprise”) announced Netflix’s $25 million commitment in Equitable Path Forward. Enterprise’s new five-year, $3.5 billion nationwide initiative will help dismantle the deeply-rooted legacy of racism in housing – from the types of homes built, where they are made, who builds them, and the wealth that the homes generate.

After decades of systemic racism in housing, from government-sanctioned discrimination like redlining and race-based federal mortgage programs to restrictive deed covenants based on one’s skin color, to predatory lending and discriminatory property tax collection, communities of color bear the scars. These policies and practices have led to residential segregation and homeownership rates for Black Americans twice as high. There is a widening wealth gap with the median net worth of a white household almost eight times that of a Black household, to the real estate industry itself where only 2% of development companies are Black-led. Minority-owned firms control just 1.5% of real estate assets under management, and among community development corporations, only 16% are minority-led.

A range of factors drives these disparities. Historically, housing providers of color, despite community knowledge and credibility, have been unable to access sufficient capital for the sustained growth of their operations and real estate portfolios.

“Black and other historically marginalized leaders have been fighting to better their communities for decades but have lacked the capital to do so. That’s why Netflix is investing $25 million in Enterprise’s initiative,” said Netflix Treasury Director Shannon Alwyn. “We invite more companies to join the movement and support visionary initiatives like Equitable Path Forward.”

The multi-faceted initiative establishes an equitable path forward for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (“BIPOC”) and other historically marginalized housing providers. By filling the gaping capital gap from decades of systemic racism, the initiative strengthens providers through advisory services and additional support. It creates new career pathways to diversify leadership in real estate.

Equitable Path Forward aims to close the gap through a $3.5 billion effort to support BIPOC and other historically marginalized housing providers who create and preserve affordable homes in diverse communities, inclusive of a:

  1. $350 million Growth Fund that will provide debt, equity, grants, and innovative credit enhancement that together will attract an additional $3.1 billion of capital
  2. $15 million programs for the cultivation of local development organizations and small businesses
  3. $10 million leadership program.

“Our vision is nothing short of dismantling the legacy of racism in housing,” said Priscilla Almodovar, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Enterprise Community Partners. “By investing in these housing providers who are on the ground and engaged with their communities, Equitable Path Forward will lead to a new and needed level of responsiveness, investment, and equity in the communities that get built.”

Appeared first in Chicago Defender

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