Banking group commits $30 million for foundation’s Mecklenburg County affordable housing campaign

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The Foundation For The Carolinas annual meeting on April 2. (FFC image)

Foundation For The Carolinas says BB&T, as well as SunTrust Banks, Inc. and the SunTrust Foundation, have announced $30 million in combined commitments aimed at increasing affordable housing in Mecklenburg County.

Currently, Mecklenburg County faces a deficit of more than 30,000 affordable housing units. Foundation For The Carolinas is leading a campaign to raise $50 million from the private sector for the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund (CHOIF) – matching the $50 million bond referendum voters approved last November to increase the City of Charlotte’s Housing Trust Fund.

The $30 million total includes $10 million toward the CHOIF, with BB&T contributing $5 million, and SunTrust and the SunTrust Foundation combining for $5 million. In addition, BB&T and SunTrust each announced commitments of $10 million in below-market debt to support affordable housing development efforts. (BB&T and Suntrust are merging under the BB&T corporate umbrella.)

“In our request for contributions from the private sector, it is our region’s financial institutions that have responded the loudest,” said Foundation For The Carolinas president and CEO Michael Marsicano. “BB&T, SunTrust and the SunTrust Foundation have shown tremendous generosity in their commitment to affordable housing. We are grateful for their support of this community.”

The foundation says other support has been received from businesses including:

  • Crescent Communities announced a $2 million donation of land in its latest development – The River District in west Charlotte – for the construction of affordable housing.
  • Wells Fargo pledged $20 million in support of increasing affordable housing in Charlotte, including a $5 million donation to the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund.
  • Bank of America, Barings and Ally announced a combined $70 million in land donations, grants and reduced lending for developers. $11 million of the investment was pledged to the Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund.

“Affordable housing is a critical component for any community, which helps them grow and thrive,” said BB&T chairman and Chief Executive Officer Kelly S. King. “As part of our mission, to help make the communities where we work better places to live, we’re delighted to make this contribution to Foundation For The Carolinas and support their affordable housing efforts throughout the Charlotte metro area.”

The Charlotte Housing Opportunity Investment Fund was jumpstarted in May 2018 with a $5 million program-related investment from the foundation. So far, the campaign has raised $31 million of the $50 million goal, with another $97 million committed to affordable housing efforts beyond the fund. The CHOIF will be held and managed by Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and will work in tandem with the city’s public trust fund.

Increasing access to affordable housing was a key recommendation of the Leading on Opportunity Report, which provided a roadmap for improving economic mobility in Charlotte Mecklenburg. The increased public Housing Trust Fund – as well as the new private sector fund – were both direct recommendations of the report.

BB&T, SunTrust and SunTrust Foundation commitments were announced during Foundation For The Carolinas’ Annual Meeting luncheon on April 2. The event featured chef and humanitarian José Andrés, who was recently nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his disaster-relief efforts.

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