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  • Heather PresleyCowen

Unlocking Abundance: Embracing Empowered Finance for Community Growth


In the realm of housing and community development, the narrative has long been dominated by a dichotomy of abundance and scarcity. The lens through which we view financial resources—whether as bountiful or lacking—greatly influences the possibilities we see and the actions we take. As a Capital Stacker, my journey has always been about transcending traditional boundaries to unlock new avenues of abundance for communities.


One of the remarkable avenues emerging at the forefront is the innovative blend of housing finance, philanthropy, and impact investing—a model I like to call “Empowered Finance.” This model is not merely a theoretical concept but a pragmatic approach that’s been demonstrated in various community projects across the nation.


For instance, the District of Columbia’s Mayor proposed a $20 million Workforce Housing Fund to subsidize housing for middle-income occupations, which in turn catalyzes local economic growth and broadens property tax bases. Similarly, projects like Veranda and The Village on Sage Street are shining examples of high-quality workforce housing that’s accessible to those early in their careers or on a fixed income.


The beauty of Empowered Finance lies in its capacity to foster a symbiotic relationship between community development and financial sustainability. It’s about nurturing a mindset of abundance among community leaders and the philanthropic community. A mindset that not only acknowledges the potential in innovative partnerships and programs but also actively seeks to realize this potential.


The momentum of impact investing is a testament to this shifting paradigm. High-net-worth individuals and organizations are increasingly channeling their resources towards impact investments. Kaiser Permanente’s $200 million pledge to address housing stability and homelessness is a striking example of the scale at which impact investments are being leveraged to tackle housing challenges.


At the heart of this movement is the essence of #Swagger—a belief system that propels us to strive for what’s possible, to not settle for less, and to do whatever it takes to reveal our visions. It's about remaining vigilant of our own limiting beliefs that might hinder our engagement in innovative partnerships and programs.


Empowered Finance invites us to redefine the narrative of what’s charitable, what’s financially sustainable, and what’s possible when we synergize our efforts towards a common goal. It’s a call to action for community leaders, the philanthropic community, and all stakeholders to step into a realm of endless possibilities, driven by a collective aspiration for community growth and empowerment.


In embracing Empowered Finance, we are not only addressing the immediate housing needs but also sowing the seeds for long-term community development and economic stability. It’s about building a legacy of abundance, where every stakeholder is a contributor, and every contribution is a stepping stone towards a thriving community.

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