The Housing Fund, Inc. Wins $100,000 Wells Fargo NEXT Award for Innovative Strategy to Improve Consumer Finance

The Housing Fund, Inc. noted for creation of the Alternative Payment Plan


(Nashville, TN, August 17, 2016) The Housing Fund, Inc. (THF) won a $100,000 Wells Fargo NEXT Seed Capital Award to implement its strategy to launch its innovative consumer finance product in Tennessee.

The Housing Fund is establishing home loan solutions for immigrant communities, seeking affordable and ethical housing financing in Tennessee. The Nashville and Middle Tennessee area is home to over 80,000 Kurds, Egyptians and Somalis, as well as many Sudanese and Hispanics. The Housing Fund is working closely with representatives of the local community and local bankers to implement the Alternative Payment Plan mortgage loan product in compliance with cultural norms and ethical financing.

THF’s mission is to provide resources and creative leadership to help individuals and communities create and maintain affordable and healthy places in which low and moderate income people live.  Since 1996, THF has loaned over $83 million dollars for more than 5,500 housing units.  This has leveraged over $700 million in private financing.  THF offers down payment assistance loans for low-to-moderate income homebuyers, provides short-term financing for the construction and/or rehabilitation of affordable housing, loans to create and preserve affordable artist live and work space, as well as a variety of other loan programs.

“As a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), we play an important role in generating economic growth by investing in opportunities that transform lives and places for disinvested people. We make our economy stronger, one opportunity at a time, and with this expansion provided by the NEXT Award, THF will have the potential to finance more than $4.9M in loans and serve a minimum of 300 households,” said Joan Davis, Interim CEO of THF.

“Never before has it been more necessary for CDFIs to embrace fintech, explore new distribution models, and develop leading-edge, responsible financial products. THF’s innovative consumer finance strategy proves that community lenders are the next frontier for innovation in responsible consumer finance,” said Fran Lutz, interim CEO of Opportunity Finance Network (OFN), the nation’s premier CDFI network.

OFN presents the NEXT Awards in partnership with Wells Fargo and Prudential and support from the John D. And Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Kresge Foundation.


For more information




About the Awards


The Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance celebrate the CDFI industry—its creativity, accomplishments, and enduring importance.


This year marks the 10th anniversary of the NEXT Awards. Launched in 2007, the NEXT Awards celebrate the innovation of the nation’s most promising CDFIs by awarding more than $76 million through a competitive awards process. Each year the NEXT Awards culminates in a ceremony at OFN’s Annual Conference to spotlight Awardees and the entire CDFI industry.


About the Groups behind the Awards

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.9 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 8,600 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet ( and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries and territories to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 268,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s 2016 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYSE: PRU), a financial services leader with over $1 trillion of assets under management as of June 30, 2016, has operations in the United States, Asia, Europe, and Latin America.  Prudential’s diverse and talented employees are committed to helping individual and institutional customers grow and protect their wealth through a variety of products and services, including life insurance, annuities, retirement-related services, mutual funds and investment management. In the U.S., Prudential’s iconic Rock symbol has stood for strength, stability, expertise and innovation for more than a century. For more information, please visit


The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation supports creative people, effective institutions, and influential networks building a more just, verdant, and peaceful world. MacArthur is placing a few big bets that truly significant progress is possible on some of the world’s most pressing social challenges, including over-incarceration, global climate change, nuclear risk, and significantly increasing financial capital for the social sector. MacArthur has been a leading supporter of the Opportunity Finance field since the early 1980s, investing nearly $250 million in approximately 100 groups nationwide. More information is available at:


The Kresge Foundation is a $3.6 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2015, the Board of Trustees approved 371 grants totaling $125.2 million, and nine social investment commitments totaling $20.3 million. For more information, visit


Opportunity Finance Network (OFN) is the leading national network of community development financial institutions (CDFIs) investing in opportunities that benefit disinvested communities across America. Through 2014, OFN’s network originated over $42 billion in financing in urban, rural, and Native communities, with a net charge-off rate of less than one percent. For more information, visit


Make A Mark Community TourMAM tableWalking the tour 2taco truck 2skate boardKelly tableDevleoperCrowd shot taco truckCrowd Kelly tableChalk Art

Governor’s Housing Conference–Downtown Nashville

October 7-8, 2015

The Housing Fund CEO Paul Johnson

will lead a panel of experts to discuss:

Inclusionary Zoning:
How Would It Work?
As local governments debate Inclusionary Zoning, our panelists will provide a clear picture of the practical impacts of different requirements, from voluntary to mandatory participation, from a tiered approach to across-the-board rules, and everywhere in between.
Moderated by The Housing Fund president & CEO Paul Johnson, our Wednesday afternoon panel of experts includes Hannah Cassidy from Reno Cavanaugh, Michael Kenner from MiKeN Development, David McGowan of Regent Homes, and Gregory Tidwell of Smith Gee Studios.

The Housing Fund receives $200,000 grant to integrate arts, culture, and creativity into revitalization work

Grant from Kresge and Surdna Foundations to support low to moderate income artists and the artist community in the development of their live/work or production spaces in greater Nashville and Davidson County.


Nashville, TN—A $200,000 grant to The Housing Fund from the Kresge and Surdna Foundations will support the development of lending products for the purchase, purchase/rehab and/or new construction of artist live/work or production space in Nashville and Davidson County. The Housing Fund was one of seven community lenders from across the country to receive a grant from the foundations.


The Housing Fund is a community development financial institution (CDFI), which is a local lender dedicated to providing affordable lending to underserved markets.  The fund’s mission is to provide resources and creative leadership to help individuals and communities create and maintain affordable and healthy places to live. With over $21 million in assets, The Housing Fund has lent over $67 million, leveraging $415 million in private financing for more than 4,500 housing units and community development projects in the area.


Paul Johnson, President/CEO of The Housing Fund stated “Permanent investment within culturally diverse areas will assist in the attraction and retention of creative talents and will provide an opportunity for small businesses to grow and flourish.  The Make a Mark program will provide financing to artists and the creative community and will ensure that the artistic community will have an affordable, permanent stake in neighborhoods throughout Nashville and Davidson County.”


“Musicians, artists, designers and creative entrepreneurs add the special sauce for our community” added Jennifer Cole, Executive Director of the Metro Nashville Arts Commission.  “Increasingly, artisans and creative small business owners are challenged by finding affordable housing and production space.  As a city, we must support those individuals who write the songs, make the belts and boots and design the things that make us Music City.  The Make a Mark program will provide financing to artists and the creative community and will ensure that the artistic community will have an affordable, permanent stake in neighborhoods throughout Nashville and Davidson County.”


Nashville is the home to a thriving and diverse artistic community with more than 40,000 creative workers but the booming economy means that affordable creative production space is quickly disappearing.  The Housing Fund, in coordination with the Metro Nashville Arts Commission, will create an advisory committee to assist in the development of a loan pool for the purchase of affordable work or live/work space for the creative community.  Artist investment in neighborhoods will transform neighborhoods into hubs of vibrant creative activity and to ensure that the creative spaces remain affordable.


The joint Kresge-Surdna initiative, called Catalyzing Culture and Community through CDFIs, or C4, is intended to help support and expand CDFIs’ involvement in integrating arts and culture into local revitalization work, an approach to community development known as creative placemaking.


The one-time competitive grant opportunity received more than 40 responses from community lenders to an open request for proposals (RFP) launched in September 2014. The RFP sought two project types—arts- and artist-centered interventions and neighborhood revitalization projects—both focused on deploying alternative capital in disinvested communities to augment efforts that systematically integrate arts, culture, and creative.


“CDFIs can play an important role in helping artists, arts and culture organizations, and non-arts organizations create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies,” said Phillip Henderson, president of the Surdna Foundation.  “However, the contributions of projects like the Make a Mark program extend far beyond the economy—they help to make our communities healthier, more equitable and sustainable.”


The foundation funding allows the lenders to experiment with projects they might not have considered otherwise.  “It provides risk capital,” said Rip Rapson, the Kresge Foundation’s president and CEO.  “We’re very pleased that these CDFIs are open to exploring the ways that investment in arts culture and creative enterprises and might meet their mission.”


For more information, please contact Adriane Harris at 615.515.2212.


About The Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development efforts in Detroit. In 2013, the Board of Trustees approved 316 awards totaling $122 million; $128 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, its Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $17.7 million in 2013.


About The Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity.


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