Who’s Supporting Capacity Building on the NYC Affordable Housing Scene?

photo: Glynnis Jones/shutterstock

photo: Glynnis Jones/shutterstock

In the world of philanthropy, the distinction between grantmaker and grantee isn’t always cut and dry. Especially within the realm of affordable housing, there are some interesting nonprofit financiers that receive funds from big names like JPMorgan Chase and MetLife and then turn that around to become grantmakers in their own right as well.

One good example is Enterprise Community Partners, a funder that we’ve highlighted in the past for its disaster relief efforts on the Gulf Coast. But Enterprise is also celebrating 30 years in New York, prompting the organization to renew its mission to create opportunities for affordable housing for low- and mid-income residents here.

In the past, Enterprise has stood out for its disaster relief funding, but its latest effort in New York is all about building capacity. Enterprise recently announced its new 2017 Section 4 grantees, and Section 4 is the name for a capacity building program of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With the current arrangement, HUD provides funds to Enterprise, and then Enterprise turns those funds into grant awards through a competitive application process. At this time, 15 local New York nonprofits are receiving a total of $550,000 through this program to create affordable homes in the city.

This commitment plays into the current trend of more funders prioritizing capacity building grantmaking, something that we’ve been seeing more of across the country. It also highlights the increasing need for effective public-private partnerships to address complex issues like housing. However, Enterprise’s involvement with Section 4 funds is nothing new. In fact, the group has given out over $125 million to more than 1,250 groups throughout the country as part of this HUD program. And at least $10 million of that total has gone to New York community development groups.

In Enterprise’s latest round of New York giving, groups like Asian Americans for Equality, Community League of the Heights, Services for the Underserved, and the Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation received grants. These grantees were picked following a competitive application process that focused on groups’ plans for capacity building the context of organizational sustainability, health and housing, and affordable housing production and preservation. Selected projects are preserving affordable housing properties, expanding a data-driven neighborhood service model, and studying indoor air quality and related health issues in affordable housing buildings.

Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader for Enterprise said:

At its core, Section 4 enables community development organizations to do vital work across New York. We are proud to continue a 20-year partnership with HUD to support local organizations that can use this important funding to lift up thousands of New Yorkers. Strengthening community-based organizations that know neighborhoods well is a central component of our work making New York healthier and more affordable for all those who call it home.

Overall, Enterprise is just one of three nonprofits in the nation that receives Section 4 funds from HUD each year to distribute to local community organizations. Over the past three decades, Enterprise has invested more than $3 billion in New York and helped to create over 60,000 homes. Open RFPs are posted on Enterprise’s grants page when new opportunities are available. New York City-specific programs that regularly receive funding are neighborhood impact, vulnerable populations, and public housing.