Creating access to down payment funds

Access to money is one of the biggest barriers to homeownership. Down payment assistance programs are known for creating unnecessary barriers and we aim to change that by creating a new model that eliminates restrictions and barriers. Families and staff at One City Schools who go through the educational programming available (for free) are able to apply for funds starting in 2022.

Common restrictions for down payment assistance programs (DPAs):
– Income restrictions. DPAs are only allowed for low to moderate income families.
– Approval of funds only after all other contingencies have been satisfied.
– Sales price limitations.
– Location based – only available for homes in certain areas.
– Payback rules/regulations based on how long you occupy the home.
– Additional inspections/testing required and repairs to be made and paid for prior to closing.
– Occupancy rules for the home being purchased.

The OWN IT: Building Black Wealth program offers a homeownership fund for families, alumni, and staff of One City Schools who are first time homebuyers (not having owned a home within the past three years) and who complete the free educational program. Funds are granted free and clear and don’t have to be repaid.

Once approved, $15,000 is held in a restricted account for nine months, giving the buyer time to search, negotiate, and close on a new home. Funds must be used for the purchase of an owner occupied single family property or duplex.

Raising funds for families to use in 2022!

Funds will be available for families and staff at One City Schools to purchase real estate starting in 2022. Upon approval, $15,000 towards down payment funds will be available to applicants 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.

The Down Payment Fund application submission periods in 2022 will be February 8-18 and July 12-22. We have finalized much of the application process. Contact us ( for details about the process and how to apply.

This project is under the fiscal sponsorship of One City Schools Foundation, a 501c3. All contributions are tax deductible. Make a donation online or Donation checks can be made out to ‘One City Schools Foundation’ and include ‘OWN IT Downpayment Fund’ in the memo line. Mail checks to:

One City Schools / OWN IT
Attn: Alice Torti
2012 Fisher Street
Madison, WI 53713

Where do the funds come from?

Financial contributions will come from community members, the real estate industry, and large corporations.

Join us in considering creating a new business model within the real estate, banking, and financial worlds where we are systematically contributing to the fund.
– You or your company can commit to contributing a percentage of quarterly earnings, or a percentage of commission checks, or monthly bonuses to the fund.
– Homeowners who are selling their property can participate by contributing a percentage of the proceeds of the sale to the fund.
– Community members can explore ways to contribute as they engage their neighborhood associations in conversations around neighborhood segregation, redlining, the wealth gap, and challenging the systems that continue to perpetuate racism.
– Where else can we explore ways our city can to participate in building this fund and making homeownership more accessible for all?

To sponsor, partner, or financially support this program, please email us at: