LISC and Amazon award scholarships to 10 minority developers to develop affordable housing and grow their local businesses

SEATTLE, March 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) has selected 10 local real estate developers focused on affordable housing to participate in its inaugural Housing Equity Accelerator (HEA) program, funded by a grant from the Amazon Housing Equity Fund.

The program, which is free to participants, is a part-time professional development and career advancement program that aims to reduce barriers that emerging real estate developers of color may face when trying to get real estate projects off the ground. . The goal of the program is to increase the number of real estate developers of color who are focused on affordable housing and to accelerate these developments.

The first group of participants is a diverse mix of developers who are already creating and preserving affordable housing in the area. With this new program, they will receive formal real estate development training and workshops, mentorship and access to finance.

“This is a remarkable group of talented and creative professionals who can lead transformative affordable housing efforts in our communities,” said AJ Cari, Senior Program Officer at LISC Puget Sound, who is leading the local effort. “HEA is designed to help them grow their businesses as well as their project portfolios, supporting strong employment in Black-led businesses that has a ripple effect far beyond any program.”

The inaugural list of scholarship recipients includes:

  • Hamdi AbdulleExecutive Director, African Community Housing and Development
  • Slayman Appadolo, Project Manager, Cham Refugee Community
  • Leslie ByrdVice President of Investment Strategy, Alpha Sharp Development Partners
  • Sylvester CannPresident, Creek Front Group
  • Kay Coledeveloper, Quality Development
  • Annette DempsManaging Member, A&D Quality Construction
  • Jaebadiah Gardner, Managing Partner, OnPoint Real Estate Services
  • K. Wyking Garrett, CEO, Africantown Community Land Trust
  • Darmetric Maloy, Director, Signature Development
  • Darray MurphyDevelopment Acquisitions Coordinator, Quality Acquisitions LLC

“The level of talent and desire to support affordable housing initiatives that we have seen through this program so far is energizing,” said Catherine Buell, director of the Amazon Housing Equity Fund. “By bringing more diverse voices, ideas, and perspectives into the conversation about inclusive community building, we will bring the most meaningful and lasting change to affordable housing.

The HEA comes from a $21 million pilot program launched by the Amazon Housing Equity Fund to support emerging real estate developers of color in local Amazon communities in the Puget Sound area; the Arlington, Virginia. Region; and Nashville. The Amazon Housing Equity Fund is more than $2 billion commitment to preserve and create more than 20,000 affordable housing units in these areas. The Fund also supports minority-led organizations to help them find a more inclusive solution to the affordable housing crisis, which disproportionately affects communities of color.

The HEA builds on LISC’s established offerings and integrates with the organization’s Project 10X initiative, which invests $1 billion to close racial gaps in health, wealth and opportunity across the country.

Participants can expect the following:

  • In-person classroom instruction on real estate fundamentals, affordable housing trends, public policy, and financing best practices
  • Business Advisors to provide information on navigating the real estate industry and development projects.
  • Professional networking opportunities with industry leaders, researchers and established real estate developers
  • Access to capital for pre-development expenses, such as architecture and engineering costs; permit, survey and site planning fees; and market and feasibility studies.

About LISC
LISC is one of the nation’s largest community development organizations, helping to forge vibrant, resilient communities across America. We work with residents and partners to close systemic gaps in health, wealth and opportunity and advance racial equity so people and places can thrive. Since our creation in 1979, LISC has invested $24 billion to create more than 436,320 affordable homes and apartments and develop 74.4 million square feet of commercial, community and educational space. To learn more, visit or learn more about LISC Puget Sound at

SOURCE Local Initiatives Support Society (LISC)

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