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the
challenge

Valuing Homes in Black Communities

October 28, 2021 – April 27, 2022

Together, Ashoka and Brookings launched a Collaborative Innovation Challenge to foster a new generation of structural innovations to address devaluation.

We believe people across the country are developing powerful innovations with the potential to (re)design our markets so they reflect the value of homes in Black communities; the value of homes as financial asset, as the place where people live their lives, and as the building blocks of communities.

We invited innovators who are advancing policy-based and market-based change on the local, regional and/or national scale to submit applications from October 28th through January 25th for a chance to win funding of up to $100,000.

announcing
the innovators
shifting the needle

timeline

October 28, 2021: Challenge Opens

  • Participants began submitting entries.

December 2, 2021 [6:00 PM ET]: Early Entry Deadline

  • Participants who submitted an eligible entry by this deadline were considered for an Early Entry Prize (see below).

January 25, 2022 [6:00 PM ET]: Final Entry Deadline

  • The application period closed and submitted, eligible applications continued to the Screening & Community Review phase.

January 26, 2022 – February 9, 2022: Screening & Community Review

  • Participants networked and provided peer feedback to one another.
  • Screeners selected featured innovators.

February 10, 2022: Featured Innovators’ Announcements Began

February 15, 2022 – March 8, 2022 [5:00 PM ET]: Semifinalist Refinement

  • Semifinalists featured innovators had an opportunity to refine their applications based on feedback.

March 9 – 30, 2022: Semifinalist Review

  • A panel reviewed semifinalist submissions and selected finalist featured innovators.

March 31, 2022: Featured Innovators’ Announcement

April 1 – 22, 2022: Finalist Review

  • A judges panel selected spotlighted innovators from among finalists.

April 27, 2022: Spotlighted Innovators’ Announcement

prizes

All eligible participants received:

  • The opportunity to view, review and connect with other Challenge applicants.
  • Feedback on their Challenge application from their peers.
  • Feedback on their Challenge application from screeners selected by Ashoka and/or the Brookings Institution.

Early Entry Featured Innovators received:

  • A cash prize of up to $15,000 each.
  • Additional feedback on their Challenge application from Ashoka colleagues on how to strengthen their application during the Refinement phase.
  • Automatic passage into the Semifinalist phase of the Challenge.

Semifinalist featured innovators received:

  • An opportunity to refine their entries and incorporate feedback received from peers and reviewers.
  • Additional feedback from Challenge screeners selected by Ashoka and/or the Brookings Institution.

Finalists featured innovators received:

  • An opportunity to network virtually with Challenge partners.

Overall Spotlighted Innovators received:

  • A cash prize of up to $100,000 each.
  • An opportunity to collaborate with Challenge partners.

criteria

Application Eligibility

Participants had to meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • All persons involved with preparing or submitting this application are over 18 years of age.
  • All persons involved with preparing or submitting this application as well as the organizations affiliated with the application are committed to advancing racial equity.
  • All persons involved with preparing or submitting this application agree to the Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge Terms and Conditions.
  • No person involved with preparing or submitting this application has a conflict of interest in participating in the Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge or was involved in the Challenge’s design, decision-making, or administration.
  • The innovation has a clear path for success and has demonstrated initial momentum. (See FAQs below.)
  • The applicant represents a citizen sector, private sector, or public sector entity with an organization registered in the United States. Alternatively, this innovation is affiliated with a partner that is registered in the United States and could accept funds on behalf of the innovation.
  • The applicant is authorized or has approval from the sponsoring organization to submit and/or represent this application in this Challenge.

Application Evaluation

The selection committee and judge’s panel will be looking for Changemakers who provide strong answers to a range of questions about what your initiative does, what connects you to this topic, and how you plan to bring about structural change. Entries will be evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Focus: Does the innovation focus on increasing the value of homes in Black communities? (See FAQs for what we mean by the “value of homes”.)
  • Structural: To what extent does the innovation create structural change in the market? (See FAQs for what we mean by the “structural change“.)
  • Impact: To what extent does the innovation increase the value of homes in Black communities?
  • Strategic Path: Does the innovation have a clear path to bring about structural change in the market?
  • Creativity: Does the innovation bring a new approach to valuing homes in Black communities?
  • Ethics: Is the sponsoring organization committed to advancing racial equity?
  • Dedication: Is the sponsoring organization committed to carrying out their initiative and creating a lasting impact?

In addition to our evaluation criteria described above, the group of spotlighted innovations will be selected to represent the diversity of applications received and the diversity of the field. Diversity will refer to: gender, accessibility, class, ethnicity, race and age. Diversity can be showcased in the target audience of a project, its partners or the team representing it.

FAQs

Definitions

What is Economic Architecture?

Economic Architecture is dedicated to the premise that we can and should (re)design our markets to serve the public good. And when we do, we have the potential to tap into the drive, ambition, and ingenuity of market participants to solve the problems that are impacting people’s lives.

Why do we use the term “homes” and not “houses”

While the term “houses” might reflect a focus on buildings, the term “homes” reflects our focus on people and their relationship to the buildings they live within.

Why do we use the term “communities” and not “neighborhoods”?

While the term “neighborhoods” can sometimes be used to refer to a geographic area, the term “communities” emphasizes our focus on the relationships among people living in a geographic area.

What do we mean when we say the “value of homes“?

To prepare for this Challenge, we reviewed the work of over 6,000 organizations and interviewed over 100 innovators from across the country.

Throughout these interviews, innovators focused our attention on three different ways that homes are valuable, as financial assets, as the place where people live and as the building blocks of community.

Homes are valuable because they are financial assets. Homeownership is a main driver of wealth in the US. When the market devalues homes in Black-majority neighborhoods by 23%, the market is taking $156 billion dollars of wealth away from homeowners in those neighborhoods.

Relevant topics that innovators address include problems with low appraisals, high assessments, high mortgage rates, high insurance costs and disinvestment.

Homes are valuable because they are where people live, where families gather, where children grow up. Homes are the places to which people return and which provide a sense of safety and belonging.

Relevant topics that innovators address include issues that impact the affordability, safety, security and stability, such as gentrification, rising tax burdens and eviction proceedings.

Homes are valuable because of the communities they are a part of, the people who live nearby, the relationships between people, the social fabric, the social cohesions, and the culture and traditions which emerge.

Relevant topics that innovators address include issues that impact the continuity of the community such as development without displacement, gentrification, rising tax burdens and growing number of financial landlords.

What is a structural innovation?

Structural innovations change the strategic landscape for other participants in the market. This leads market participants to adapt their strategies and ultimately change their behaviors. In aggregate these changes in behavior change the impact of the market. Example of the difference between direct service and structural innovations:

Small-dollar Mortgages (Mortgages of less than $100,000)

  • Direct service: Provide a prospective homeowner with a small-dollar mortgage.
  • Direct service at scale: Provide 100 prospective homeowners with small-dollar mortgages.
  • Possible structural innovation: Create a secondary market so financial institutions compete to offer small-dollar mortgages to prospective homeowners.

Appraisals

  • Direct service: Work with a homeowner to appeal an appraisal.
  • Direct service at scale: Work with 1000 homeowners to appeal their appraisals.
  • Possible structural innovation: Create a certification system to ensure appraisal management companies proactively identify appraisals that devalue homes in Black-majority neighborhoods.

Evictions

  • Direct service: Work with a resident to avoid eviction while experiencing a financial emergency.
  • Direct service at scale: Offer a program to work with 1000 residents to avoid eviction while experiencing a financial emergency.
  • Possible structural innovation: Create a stakeholder funded insurance product to enable residents to deal with financial emergencies and avoid eviction.

What is a market-based innovation?

Market-based innovations are innovations that can be introduced and carried out by market participants. Possible examples of market-based innovations include:

  • A new type of mortgage product to finance the purchase of owner-occupied rentals
  • Alternative credit rating service that more accurately reflects a prospective borrower’s credit worthiness
  • A model for collectively developing mixed income neighborhoods

What is a policy-based innovation?

Policy-based innovations are innovations that require policy change to be carried out. Possible examples of policy-based innovations include:

  • Legal standards for land contracts
  • Real estate tax reduction for properties held by community land trusts
  • Removal of single family home zoning restrictions

terms

Applicants’ entries will be published on the Challenge platform and accessible by the public. You can identify the sections of the application form that will be displayed publicly by their label “Public”. Entry information may also be shared with third parties for evaluating and processing the applications. The Challenge Partners will implement appropriate measures to ensure the Applicant’s Confidential Information is not actively revealed to any third-party that is not necessary to such related activities.

Review the full Terms and Conditions for more information about the program, including participation, intellectual property, use of prize money, use of the information you submit as a result of your participation in the program, and more.

partners

The Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge is led by teams at Ashoka and the Brookings Institution.

Dr. Andre M. Perry

Co-Lead

Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge

Senior Fellow
Brookings Metro

Stuart Yasgur

Dr. Stuart Yasgur

Co-Lead

Valuing Homes in Black Communities Challenge

Leadership Group Member
Ashoka