February is Black History Month, and I can’t think of a better way to support Black and Brown people than to introduce you to an organization that will allow you to put your allyship into action. I’m on the advisory board of birdSEED, which is a housing justice program that offers down payment grants to qualifying Black and Brown* first-time home buying residents in the Washington, D.C. area.
Flock DC, my client and a local D.C. boutique property management company, launched birdSEED a year ago in response to a combination of inequity in homeownership and a deep interest and commitment toward an anti-racist future. Lisa Wise, Chief Flockster said, “The real estate industry has played a significant role in the suppression of intergenerational wealth building for the BIPOC community. We can and must do what we can to right this wrong and create a more just and equitable future in housing.”
If you don’t know much about Redlining and the history of housing discrimination in the United States, I thought this video was well done and really eye opening. I personally learned a lot when I watched it. The video provides a history of Redlining and how wealth was created for white Americans through homeownership. Sadly, the inequity in wealth from a lack of homeownership for Black and Brown Americans continues to this day. We aim to close the gap with birdSEED.
birdSEED awards range from $5,000 to $15,000, and grants are made multiple times per year until funds are expended. The application and review process is straightforward and uncomplicated. Thirty or so Board of Advisors and I review applications, interview finalists, and identify grantees. It is one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever been a part of, and it’s truly allyship in action. We are making homeownership possible for people in a very real way. It’s such an incredible example of allyship that Debbie Laxer and I reference birdSEED in our Active Allyship workshop.
Each applicant has a unique story and faces the hardship of homeownership in a housing market that is competitive, expensive, and feels impossible to crack for many. Typically, between 3-6 grants are made during each review cycle. Of course, the advisory board wants to award each and every applicant, however, it’s not possible with limited funds.
If you are positioned to give to birdSEED, please do. Needs are great, resources are limited, and your help is essential. Every dollar donated goes into the down payment grant pool. birdSEED will gratefully accept donations, windfalls, unsolicited grants, sponsorships, partnerships and more so we can continue giving. To make a one time or recurring contribution, simply follow this link. Let’s work toward repairing an unjust past and plant seeds for a brighter and more just future.
*Applicants must identify as one of the following: American Indian, Indigenous, Alaska Native, Asian, Pacific Islander, Black, African American, Hispanic or Latinx.