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Wealth Building Real Estate

Why we are betting big on investing in commercial real estate as a tool for change, and why you should too.

When we look at the racial wealth gap—both in the context of where wealth has traditionally been built in the U.S., and where capital and power have been stripped from BIPOC communities over generations—physical property plays a starring role. 

Owning real estate has been seen as part of the storied American dream, but it has also been one built for white Americans.

Talented individuals and groups across the country are challenging the status quo, reclaiming vacant lots, corner markets, and whole blocks for their communities and ensuring the future of ownership includes Black, Indigenous and other people of color excluded by our systems. 

We are challenging funders to join us in learning about and investing in wealth building commercial real estate projects. 

Impact investors and philanthropy need to take big bets on projects that take a holistic approach to the economic needs of a community, shifting power and control of neighborhoods to those who live and work there.  These projects are using creative financing models to meet community needs and need bold, flexible funders to meet them where they are. 

We are uplifting projects that focus on community ownership of commercial and mixed use spaces as this type of development is newer to the market, requires larger capital, and has the ability to create long-term wealth in BIPOC communities.

We’ve open-sourced what we know about how and why these projects create long-term impact and wealth building potential for BIPOC communities. 


Over the past two years Common Future held conversations and workshops with a variety of stakeholders, read available literature, and engaged a cohort of five organizations currently working on real estate projects meant to build wealth in their communities. 

Learn more about these organizations:

EG Woode

Kensington Corridor Trust


Takao Suzuki, Little Tokyo Service Center



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Who Should Invest in Real Estate Projects

Institutional and individual impact investors looking for projects with potential for wealth building and long-term positive impact.  

Those looking to increase in economic stability as a community changes over time

Those seeking reduction in displacement of existing businesses and residents in a specific neighborhood or area

Those seeking to stabilize a neighborhood, by taking a building off the speculative real estate market and creating a community asset.

Those looking for impactful ways to  diversify their mission-aligned/impact investing portfolios 

“Hesitation is asymmetrical. While funders may hesitate because real estate investments are less familiar to them, we have seen no hesitation from community leaders in this space. They are not hesitating because they know they need to act, to support their local communities and stave off displacement. I would encourage funders to draw strength and inspiration from local leaders forging uncharted paths.” 

—Eric Horvath, former Director, Impact Investments Common Future 

With special thanks to our cohort:

E.G. Woode, L3C

Chicago, IL

Kensington Corridor Trust, 

Philadelphia, PA 


East Cleveland, OH

Little Tokyo Service Center,

Los Angeles, CA 

Urbane Development,

New York, NY