Wealth Building Education


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In our pilot phase, courses are exclusively available for families and staff at One City Schools. To qualify, you must have a family member enrolled at the school, be an alumni, or be a current staff member. Courses are free for all eligible participants.

We hope to expand eligibility in the future. Read about our partnership with One City Schools and the common questions for details about why we limit enrollment.


The core of the OWN IT program is education. Taught by local experts, these courses help participants improve financial literacy and their understanding of homeownership as it relates to building wealth. After the coursework, the program provides families with continued guidance, mentorship, and support.

Wealth Building

The first course focuses on personal finance and building wealth in the context of the barriers Black and Brown homebuyers have faced for decades in Madison. The course includes 8 sessions covering topics like budgeting, financial literacy, and ways to repair and improve credit.


The second course involves homeownership and includes 4 sessions. It looks at the homebuying process, maintenance, and building wealth through your home’s value.

Program Design

The education program is designed to address and minimize substantial barriers to wealth that Black and brown families face in the Greater Madison area. The two main elements of the program include: wealth building education and financial assistance.

The first goal is to establish financial stability. The program provides tools for participants to assess their readiness to purchase a home and identify key steps in securing financing.

The next goal is to demystify the home buying process. Coursework introduces common real estate terminology and the steps involved in purchasing, closing, and refinancing. Participants also learn how the banking industry works and how to use property as an asset to grow wealth.

Down Payment Grants

After successfully completing the two courses, families can apply for a grant from the OWN IT down payment fund. Each household is eligible to receive up to $18,000. Once approved, the funds are available for nine months giving buyers time to search, negotiate, and close on a new home.

Discover what makes our down payment grants program different and learn about the application process. Also hear what former participants have to say about OWN IT courses and funding.

Support Network

We offer continued support for participants. Our goal is to ensure that families have the resources they need through the many stages of home buying and homeownership. Course instructors, community experts, and the class cohorts are all part of a support network families can rely on while financing, purchasing, closing on, and maintaining their home.


We thank our instructors for sharing their wisdom about personal finance, homeownership, and building wealth through real estate with program participants.

Meet the instructors »

Common Questions

Is there a cost for the program?

No, the education courses are free for all participants!

What if I miss a session? Can I make it up?

Yes, you may make up a session by watching the session recording and taking a brief quiz.

Will there be homework?

Yes, there are assignments both during and in between classes. There are no tests or grades!

How much down payment assistance is available?

Down payment grants are $18,000 per household.

When can I apply for a down payment grant?

You may apply for a down payment grant once you successfully complete all 8 sessions of the Wealth Building course and all 4 sessions of the Homeownership course. The application process is covered in the Homeownership course. The next application period will be in June 2022.

Am I guaranteed to receive a down payment grant if I complete the two courses?

Grant availability will be based on the total amount of funds raised. If there are more applicants than funds, eligible applicants will be placed in a pool and a lottery will be conducted to select the awardees. All applicants must also be first-time homebuyers, defined for this application process as not having owned a home in the past 3 years.

Do I have to use the funds to purchase a home?

Yes, the funds must initially be used to buy an owner-occupied, single-family home or duplex.

Do I have to pay back the down payment funds or are there other restrictions?

No, you do not have to repay any part of the $18,000. Once you purchase a property, the down payment and the equity it represents is yours.

When will the classes be offered next?

The most recent Wealth Building course started January 11, 2022 and will be held on Tuesday nights from 6:30-8:00pm. Future course start dates will be announced later.

Do you plan to add any more courses in the series?

Depending on interest, we may develop courses focused on credit repair, budgeting, entrepreneurship, investing, and retirement planning — all of which are introduced in the initial Wealth Building course. No grants are currently available as part of those courses.

What happens if I receive a down payment grant and I decide I’m not ready to buy a home?

You will have access to your down payment grant for nine months to purchase a home. If you are not able to do so for any reason in those nine months, the funds will be returned to the general pool. You may apply for a down payment grant as many times as you wish until you purchase a home. In each application window, grant decisions will be based on the demand for funds and applicants’ readiness to purchase.

What if I’m not Black or a person of color?

The education courses and down payment assistance are available to all families enrolled, alumni of, and current staff at One City Schools — no matter your race or ethnicity. A vast majority of families enrolled in One City Schools — about 85% — are families of color, so we feel the program is well-positioned to reach and directly serve our target audience: Black and Brown families in the Greater Madison area.

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.

If you have additional questions, contact the Education Team (info@ownitbbw.com).