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Donor Partnership Helps Create the Next Steps Fund

A black couple crouch outside a newly-purchased home. The female partner at the left, on one knee, watches, smiling, as the male partner on the right places a "sold" decal over the "for sale" sign in the lawn.
Young couple buying a new house
Aligning with The Pittsburgh Foundation’s strategic plan’s focus on the areas of economic mobility and racial equity, the Women Donors Network decided to concentrate on home ownership. The Next Steps Fund was launched to boost Black home ownership equity.

Source: The Pittsburgh Foundation

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jennifer McDowell began meeting virtually with a group of Pittsburgh-area women in the Women Donors Network. After much discussion about societal issues, they decided to focus their giving on reparations. Aligning with The Pittsburgh Foundation’s strategic plan’s focus on the areas of economic mobility and racial equity, the group decided to concentrate on home ownership.

Networking to Make a Difference

Through their networking, the women met Tammy Thompson, the executive director of Catapult Greater Pittsburgh. Thompson had been wanting to start a program to help Black first-time homebuyers with closing costs, but securing funding was proving difficult. When McDowell and her friends heard Thompson’s idea, it was an easy choice. They provided an initial gift of $250,000 to get the Next Steps Fund started.

“This wouldn’t exist without these donors. They started something that has impacted many families, and because their funding enabled us to leverage more funds to grow the program, it will hopefully continue for years to come.”

Tammy Thompson, Executive Director, Catapult Greater Pittsburgh

Boosting Homeownership for Black Families

The Next Steps Fund aims to boost Black homeownership equity. Historical discrimination, limited housing options, and other factors hinder Black families from buying homes at the same rate as White families. Closing the Black-White wealth gap requires understanding past injustices and taking corrective actions.

The Next Steps Fund has helped 50 families buy homes in the Pittsburgh area. The individual grassroots philanthropists involved have helped make a difference. Black families in Pittsburgh facing social issues surrounding homeownership have a supportive resource with the Next Steps Fund.

Visit our Programs page to learn more about the Next Steps Fund and eligibility criteria.

Giving and Community Support

The Pittsburgh Foundation highlights the impact of individual giving and community support, emphasizing the power of grassroots philanthropy in addressing social issues. This story highlights the power of individual giving, partnerships, and community support in creating positive impacts.

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Homeownership is within reach!