ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Sept. 20, 2021 – The Regions Foundation, a nonprofit funded primarily by Regions Bank, on Monday announced a $100,000 grant to foster greater homeownership in a North City neighborhood while also empowering more youth through workplace and skills training.
Specifically, the grant will support a powerful community partnership between The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. and Dream Builders 4 Equity. This community partnership is making a real and tangible difference in St. Louis’ Hyde Park area, where the grant from the Regions Foundation was formally presented.
The foundation’s contribution will support down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers to purchase properties renovated by participants in Dream Builders 4 Equity’s Real Estate Program. The Real Estate Program provides youth with an opportunity to earn funds for their future and learn new skills as they work alongside minority contractors to rehabilitate vacant houses. Youth retain equity in the renovated properties, earning wages for their work, as well as receiving a portion of the proceeds in scholarship form when the home sells.
Proceeds from home sales are reinvested in the program and the student college fund. The Hyde Park collaboration will support the rehabilitation of several homes.
“The Urban League has always advocated for homeownership as a way of closing the wealth gap,” said Michael P. McMillan, President and CEO of The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. “To have a community partner like the Regions Foundation invest in our efforts to move renters into homeownership and stabilize once-thriving neighborhoods is invaluable; this is exactly what equitable development looks like.”
Supporting affordable housing initiatives like the one taking place in Hyde Park is a key priority of the Regions Foundation.
Our support offers the opportunity to invest in youth with great potential and in this historic neighborhood at the same time.
Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation
“Achieving homeownership is a significant milestone that is the result of hard work and financial planning,” said Marta Self, executive director of the Regions Foundation. “Through our community partnership with the Urban League of St. Louis and Dream Builders 4 Equity, we can empower people and families to achieve their dream of homeownership, while also encouraging youth to learn valuable skills as they plan for and dream about their future. Our support offers the opportunity to invest in youth with great potential and in this historic neighborhood at the same time.”
In addition to Hyde Park, Dream Builders 4 Equity also renovates homes in the Kingsway East, Gravios Park, and Fountain Park neighborhoods. Over the span of five years, the nonprofit estimates it will serve 250 youth involved with its program and support 25 families new to homeownership.
Students will earn $375,000 in scholarship funds and $360,000 in employment wages.
The home build projects are also expected to generate $4 million in revenue for minority contractors, $1.6 million in construction labor wages and 250 living-wage jobs.
“Dream Builders is dedicated to working directly with city youth to help them develop the skills they need to gain upwardly mobile, living-wage careers,” said Michael Woods, co-founder and executive director with Dream Builders 4 Equity. “Students in our summer youth academies master the professional and financial skills they need to secure employment and maintain wealth. Moreover, we dare our students to dream about futures they may have never imagined by introducing them to successful role models that look like them. It’s about encouraging our students to realize the power they have within their neighborhoods by giving them ownership in our community development projects and training them to think as contractors, responsible community developers and resident members of a community.”
Beyond the new grant from the Regions Foundation, Regions Bank itself has been a longtime Urban League community partner, donating more than $150,000 since 2015 to support a variety of programs, including the Save our Sons initiative, which helps economically disadvantaged men in Ferguson. The bank also served a key role in supporting the National Urban League Conference held in St. Louis in 2017. Regions associates have also contributed 800-plus volunteer service hours through committee leadership roles and by teaching financial education programs and resume writing workshops, along with donating professional attire and providing mentorship workshops.
“We are excited that the grant announced today by our colleagues at the Regions Foundation will help advance the long-term goal of creating more inclusive prosperity in our community,” said Scott Hartwig, Greater St. Louis market executive for Regions Bank. “The work of the Urban League and Dream Builders 4 Equity is about much more than transforming houses – it’s an opportunity to also transform lives. Funding from the Regions Foundation will advance a tremendous community partnership that’s connecting people with a brighter future, while also helping youth save for college and learn valuable skills that will serve them for the rest of their lives.”
About The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. The mission of the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, Inc. is to empower African Americans and others throughout the region in securing economic self-reliance, social equality and civil rights.
About Dream Builders 4 Equity Dream Builders 4 Equity (DB4E) believes that the foundation of thriving communities lies in equitable resources and opportunities for youth, residents, businesses, and real estate development, which comprise the 4 pillars of our Equitable Development Model. Our goal is to tackle the vacant home epidemic plaguing the St. Louis region by hiring minority contractors and high school youth to do large scale, community-led developments in neighborhoods that have been historically divested in, growing them into thriving communities where residents have the opportunity to live out their full potential.
About Regions Foundation
Regions Foundation supports community investments that positively impact the communities served by Regions Bank. The Foundation engages in a grantmaking program focused on priorities including economic and community development; education and workforce readiness; and financial wellness. The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation funded primarily through contributions from Regions Bank.
About Regions Financial Corporation
Regions Financial Corporation (NYSE:RF), with $156 billion in assets, is a member of the S&P 500 Index and is one of the nation’s largest full-service providers of consumer and commercial banking, wealth management, and mortgage products and services. Regions serves customers across the South, Midwest and Texas, and through its subsidiary, Regions Bank, operates more than 1,300 banking offices and approximately 2,000 ATMs. Regions Bank is an Equal Housing Lender and Member FDIC. Additional information about Regions and its full line of products and services can be found at www.regions.com.