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Impact Investment to Local Nonprofit Helps Build Affordable Houses

Four Housing Units to Be Built in South Fargo

On June 25, a groundbreaking was held for an affordable housing unit that will be constructed on the corner of 13th Ave S and 11th St. S in Fargo as part of the “Rebuilding Fargo Project.” This lot will be the location of one of two twin homes (four housing units) to be built by the nonprofit Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area. Rebuilding Together’s mission is to offer home repair and renovation services free of charge to low-income families across Cass-Clay.

The construction of these homes is made in part through a grant from Wells Fargo Bank called the Priority Market Program. The grant is designed to motivate organizations to develop a project that would have a major impact on a specific neighborhood in communities Wells Fargo serves. Rebuilding Together chose Fargo’s downtown core neighborhood to launch the “Rebuilding Fargo Project.” The goal is to rehab 20 homes and build four affordable houses.

Rebuilding Together requested a Mission Related Investment (MRI) from the FM Area Foundation to help build the two twin homes in the south side of Fargo. The FM Area Foundation was able to provide a loan for $550,000 thanks to its impact investing program, where a portion of the Foundation's assets are invested locally in projects that have both a social and financial return. Impact investments provide capital to important community projects that lack access from traditional sources due to the perceived risk. As loans are repaid, new investments are made back into the community. 

One of the focus areas for the Foundation’s impact investing program is affordable housing.

“In 2015, the FM Area Foundation, along with the Chamber of Fargo Moorhead West Fargo, the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corporation, the United Way of Cass Clay and the Fargo Moorhead Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsored a comprehensive workforce study. One of the things learned from the study was that a lack of affordable workforce housing was a barrier to attracting and retaining individuals in the community to fill many of the available lower to moderate income paying jobs. Supporting efforts, such as the Rebuilding Fargo Project to create affordable housing through local impact investing is one way of addressing this need,” said FM Area Foundation Executive Director, Tim Beaton.

Rebuilding Together will start construction of the four affordable homes in August.

“We tried to get conventional financing, but because of certain requirements that wasn’t an option. The FM Area Foundation’s MRI program was the perfect fit for our project,” said Russ Richards, Executive Director of Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area.

One of the two lots was donated by the City of Fargo, and the newly created Cass Clay Community Land Trust will help find the homeowners and ensure the houses remain affordable for years to come.

“Providing affordable, safe and healthy housing can change a family’s future. It reduces stress and provides a solid foundation to build on,” Richards said.

The FM Area Foundation is honored to partner with Rebuilding Together Fargo-Moorhead Area; City of Fargo; Cass Clay Community Land Trust; and Wells Fargo to help create affordable housing in the F-M area.

 FM Area Foundation’s impact investment helps Rebuilding Together build four new affordable homes in south Fargo.