PeerStreet, a two-sided marketplace for investing in real estate debt, announced the launch of a new charitable initiative, the Evolving Neighborhood Uplift Fund, or the E.N.U.F. project. The aim behind E.N.U.F. is to create a more purposeful and sustainable way to invest in real estate entrepreneurs from underserved communities across the country.
The initiative will provide capital and mentorship to real estate entrepreneurs as they complete a real estate project from start through sale. PeerStreet will support this process by tapping into the existing community of investors, lenders, and real estate entrepreneurs that are already active on the platform. Through E.N.U.F., a class of ten entrepreneurs will have access to a real estate mentor to provide guidance and training throughout the process and receive the capital they need to be funded out of an innovative, charitable giving vehicle, hosted by the Tides Foundation.
“The best corporate social programs create lasting change, and the PeerStreet E.N.U.F. program aims to do exactly that,” said Edward Wang, Director of Corporate Social Impact, at the Tides Foundation in a recent release. “By ensuring that program participants receive the skills and guidance they need to independently achieve success is so much more valuable than just providing funding alone. We’re really excited to see people admitted to this program be representative of a diverse group of entrepreneurs making a difference in America’s housing market.”
This charitable initiative is the direct result of PeerStreet’s desire to take action in their own way to support the ongoing national discussion around systemic racism. Through internal discussion inside the company, and by consulting with industry leaders, they saw how real estate can be a powerful driver of closing the racial wealth gap and creating a more level playing field for all Americans.
As Ashley Flucas, General Partner of Flucas Ventures and a founding advisor to the E.N.U.F. project, said in PeerStreet’s release, “I know first-hand that real estate is a powerful economic driver to accomplish this goal and helping others to be able to grow wealth through real estate is very exciting,”
Brew Johnson, PeerStreet’s CEO, saw the company as uniquely situated to embark on a charitable project like E.N.U.F. because it is a natural extension of the platform’s original goal: to expand access to real estate debt investment opportunities, and then enhancing communities by improving residential real estate.
The existing PeerStreet model creates what Johnson calls a “wealth creation cycle,” saying, “when people invest in loans on PeerStreet, they earn interest on their investment which is great, but the ecosystem that those investments support is even more important – their invested capital gets allocated to small businesses and real estate entrepreneurs who buy properties, hire tradesmen and contractors to fix up those properties, then rent out or sell those properties to homebuyers. More money invested on the platform translates to more support of small businesses and the jobs they create, more investment in improving aging housing stock, and more investment directly into communities. This wealth creation cycle is powerful and reinforcing.”
Through the E.N.U.F. project, PeerStreet will extend these benefits to not just real estate entrepreneurs who get the funds, but by extension the whole community through this wealth creation cycle.
While the initiative was announced earlier this year, PeerStreet has just recently opened applications for the first class of entrepreneurs in April. These applicants will be reviewed by the E.N.U.F. Advisory Board on a number of criteria, including:
- Demonstrate a passion for real estate investing and community improvement
- Be a member of an underserved community
- Have real estate experience or some college experience. Some examples include successfully completing one or more fix and flips, managing one or more rental properties, working with real estate investors, brokers or lenders, completing real estate classes/courses or real estate educational training, etc.
To follow the E.N.U.F. Project, or to see when applications will be open, find additional information here: https://www.peerstreet.com/enuf