A key goal of the Fund is to support both minority-led developers and minority-led local nonprofits. Nearly 50% of Amazon’s announced investments were committed to help advance the work of these two groups, with another 15% going to projects in partnership with public agencies.

Minority Developer Accelerator

Developers of color are not only underrepresented in the real estate industry; they also lack access to the capital and resources necessary to advance much-needed affordable housing projects to help their communities.

According to a 2019 report from the Urban Land Institute, a nonprofit research and education organization for real estate and land use experts, 5% of its U.S. members are Black and 82% are white, though Black people represent more than 13% of the U.S. population. This disparity translates into a lack of diversity at the project development level that can subsequently exclude developers of color from working on meaningful and lucrative housing deals as cities expand.

Our Commitment

In December 2021, the Amazon Housing Equity Fund committed more than $21 million to pilot a professional training, mentorship, and capital funding accelerator program to increase the number of professional real estate developers of color who are focused on affordable housing and inclusive community building in all three priority communities.

This accelerator program is a two- year, part-time professional development program— offered free of charge to participants—to foster the careers of emerging real estate developers of color and to lower barriers to getting real estate projects off the ground. To implement the program and ensure participating developers remain the key customers, we’ve worked with local partners in each region to implement the program, including LISC in the Puget Sound region, Capital Impact Partners in the Arlington, VA/Washington D.C. region, and the Urban League of Middle Tennessee in the Nashville, TN region.

About the Program

The inaugural group of participants is a diverse mix of developers who are already creating and preserving affordable homes in the region. With this new program they will receive:

In-person classroom instruction on real estate fundamentals, affordable housing trends, public policy, and financing best practices.

Business advisors to provide insights in 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 architectural and engineering costs; permitting, survey, and site-planning fees; and market and feasibility studies.