Common Questions

On this page we provide answers to some common questions we get about the program and the down payment fund. See details about homeowner courses and eligibility for down payment grants on those respective webpages.

Are contributions to OWN IT tax deductible?

All contributions to the OWN IT down payment fund are tax deductible through our financial partnership with One City Schools Foundation, a 501(c)(3), and all contributions are tax deductible.

Where do the funds come from?

Financial contributions come from community members, the real estate industry, small and medium-sized companies, and large corporations. Make a one-time donation today, or commit to recurring donations. Real estate professionals can also join the Ambassador Program.

How can members of the community, businesses in the real estate industry, and organizations in other sectors contribute to the OWN IT program?

We have developed an innovative new model where professionals in the real estate, banking, and financial communities can systematically contribute funds to reduce the racial wealth gap and improve homeownership rates among Black and brown families in the Greater Madison area. Our vision is for the community to serve as the family wealth that Black and brown families have been historically denied through real estate homeownership.

Real estate agents ready to be part of the solution can join the Ambassador Program. And participating brokers make it easy for their agents to contribute to change. Learn more about these programs and browse our collection of education resources for professionals.

Down Payment Grants

Who is eligible to receive down payment assistance?

Funds will be available for families and staff at One City Schools to purchase real estate starting in 2022. Upon approval of their application, $15,000 towards down payment funds will be available for nine months (contingency free) while they search and negotiate on the purchase of residential single family or duplex, owner occupied property in the Greater Madison area.

Why is the program exclusive for families with children enrolled at One City Schools and school staff, and alumni?

The OWN IT: Building Black Wealth program is currently in a pilot phase to test the feasibility of this innovative new model. Limiting eligibility at this time allows us to test the model, learn and make improvements, and cultivate funding sources before expanding to a wider audience.

We are partnered with One City Schools to directly reach and serve our target audience: Black and brown families in the Greater Madison area. A vast majority of families enrolled in One City Schools — about 85% — are families of color. While enrollment is not limited to families of color, this keeps the OWN IT program in compliance with the Fair Housing Act which does not allow race-based down payment funding.

One City Schools puts a strong emphasis on supporting families with their two generation school model. They recognize the importance of a healthy environment and community on the development of children. The OWN IT: Building Black Wealth program is a natural fit with the types of forward-thinking, community-building educational opportunities that One City Schools provides to families. We are proud to partner with One City Schools during the pilot phase of the program.

How will OWN IT: Building Black Wealth ensure that Black families receive down payment assistance when One City Schools also serves white families and employs white teachers and staff?

The OWN IT: Building Black Wealth program is designed to serve Black and brown families, but doesn’t limit participation in the education program or down payment fund to only people of color. This allows the program to maintain compliance with the Fair Housing Act, which prohibits race-based funding.

We strongly believe that all families can benefit from learning more about wealth building and homeownership, as well as the historical and ongoing barriers Black and brown families face in building generational wealth through real estate.

Our workshops stress the importance for communities and all of its members to embrace and enthusiastically support financial models designed to expand wealth building opportunities for Black and brown households who remain at a disadvantage in their ability to purchase a home. It is our belief that people completing the education course will honor the program’s intention to support Black and brown families in their pursuit of owning a home.