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News & Events

News & Event

Investing in Homes Together

Every month on her way to work, Doris Simmons of Evanston stops by The Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati to drop off her mortgage check. 
Rick Williams of The Home Ownership Center, homeowner Doris Simmons, and GCF donor Roger Schorr.
Rick Williams of The Home Ownership Center, homeowner Doris Simmons, and GCF donor Roger Schorr.
Every month on her way to work, Doris Simmons of Evanston stops by The Home Ownership Center of Greater Cincinnati (HOC) to drop off her mortgage check. 

Doris uses its drop box. Other clients come in the building and say hello while delivering their payments. 

This personal relationship with clients is indicative of HOC’s work; it supports neighborhoods in 20 counties in Ohio and Indiana by promoting and maintaining homeownership. 

Services include education about saving to buy a home, the purchasing process, and home maintenance. HOC works with clients to prevent foreclosure, so when a secondary lender closed during the financial crisis, there was concern about homeowners like Doris. 

“We provide intervention instead of foreclosure and this was the beginning of the foreclosure crisis,” HOC’s Executive Director Rick Williams said. “We were extremely concerned about these homeowners being in the hands of this large lender because we knew this one was very foreclosure-happy.” 

Enter The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) and impact investing, a tool that recycles charitable dollars

Impact investing uses charitable assets to invest in projects that can generate financial and social returns. The Foundation and its donors have invested $10.5 million to date on projects that create jobs, build homeless shelters, provide energy-efficient homes, build affordable housing, and prevent foreclosure. 

As a leader in the field, Cincinnati’s impact investing expertise is being recognized around the country. 

An impact investment in HOC allowed the nonprofit organization to buy 90 percent of the above-mentioned loans, enabling homeowners like Doris to keep paying their mortgages but having access to help if needed. 

Roger Schorr, a long-time friend of GCF, was the first donor to make an investment using his donor advised fund

“It just seemed a very effective way to leverage our assets,” he explained. “It was a way of making something happen without a lot required. Our fund can be paid back and do it again.” 

“It’s not every day that there is access to this kind of funding, this fast, for this purpose,” Rick said. “We probably could have gone to a bank partner but the terms would not be what we enjoyed with GCF. The bank would have seen it as a way to make money, not as a way for us to help these homeowners and sustain our organization.” 

Thanks to HOC, donors, and GCF working together, the values of homes like Doris’ are protected, positively affecting homeowners and neighborhoods. 

That’s called making an impact.



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