Program Updates

Our progress

  • Over $850,000 has been raised for Own It since April 2021
  • 50 real estate professionals have committed to be Ambassadors
  • 8 brokers are participating, making it easy for their agents to systematically contribute
  • 280 people have participated in the Wealth Building course
  • 67 people have participated in the Homeownership course
  • 19 families have been awarded a down payment grant
  • 11 families have closed on their new homes! See their stories »

About Own It

The Own It: Building Black Wealth program is a private sector initiative designed to address and eliminate barriers to wealth building and homeownership for Black and brown families in Madison, Wisconsin. The pilot program — currently offered only to families, alumni, and staff at One City Schools — has two main components: education courses and down payment funds with very few restrictions.

Spring Updates and Gratitudes

We have some delightful spring updates from the Own It team. Please feel free to share this with family, friends, and neighbors! As we grow our impact, we look for ways to grow our community of supporters.

Congratulations to the newest Own It Homeowner, Candie!

We are excited to share that Candie was awarded her grant at the end of February and within a week she had an accepted offer on a townhouse! WOW! She closed on March 22nd and is our newest Own It homeowner! At closing she mentioned how well prepared she felt and that even with the market as tough as it is, she was confident in what she wanted and realistic about how to navigate the process.

She gave a big shout out to her mentor, Jonathon Ferguson, and the education she got through the wealth building and homeownership courses. #teamwork

5 New grants awarded + 2 renewed extensions

We are excited to announce the first grant application window in 2024 resulted in five new grants awarded and two families renewed their grants from last year. We are hopeful for more closing celebrations soon! With the increase to $18,000 (which matches the federal gift tax limit in 2024) that means lower monthly payments and more buying power for Own It participants.

Donations to the down payment fund are tax deductible and all contributions go to local families looking to purchase their first home. Thanks for your continued support!

UW Health donates $25,000!

Housing is a public health issue and impacts marginalized communities in many ways. UW Health understands the significance of homeownership for families of color and generously donated $25,000 to Own It. We value the partnership and are grateful for their support which will help build upon our pilot program and toward continued growth and success.

A successful thank you party

The Ambassador Volunteer Team hosted a Thank You Party for Donors, Supporters, and Ambassadors last month and our devoted volunteer, Amie Heeter, captured fabulous photos! Check them out here.

We shared more about plans for the next year and how we are working to bring Own It to more families in the future. Stay tuned and please help us reach out to more real estate professionals by encouraging them to learn more about the Ambassador program by emailing us at or visiting our website to sign up.

Thank you to Boulders Climbing Gym

Boulders Climbing Gym spotlighted Own It as their featured Climb for a Cause partner in the month of April – Fair Housing Month! Climb for a Cause is a part of their larger Climb4Community initiative which aims to break down barriers, both financial and cultural, to climbing. Thank you Boulders for including Own It as part of this effort and community care.

Registration is open for the Spring Wealth Building Course

Available to all families, staff, and alumni at One City Schools, registration recently opened for the Spring 2024 Wealth Building Course. We are excited by the enthusiasm of families signing up. We strongly believe that all families can benefit from learning how to create financial stability, understand how financial systems work, how to budget better, learn more about credit scores, the aspects of homeownership, and more. This course includes the historical context of racism within the real estate and financial industries and the ways it still happens today.

If you are a One City family, staff, or alumni, interested in registering, please reach out to

Thank you for helping us grow and help change the trajectory of generational wealth within our community! Here is how your support makes a difference:

Updated July 30, 2023