Home Local News  “We’re making history right now.” Groundbreaking Black homeownership program welcomes first homeowner

 “We’re making history right now.” Groundbreaking Black homeownership program welcomes first homeowner


“This has been a long time coming. I am super excited. When you see a dream come true that you’ve been working on for so long, it’s kind of eye-opening and mind-boggling,” Tiffany Malone tells Madison365. “And then when you look across the table and you see a single Black female — that could be you or anybody else that you know — accomplish such a goal in life with the help of a downpayment assistance program that has little to no restriction. It’s really awesome.”

Malone, a real estate consultant for the Alvarado Real Estate Group, is a key part of the “Own It: Building Black Wealth” team, who along with staff at One City Schools and community supporters celebrated a historic moment on Tuesday afternoon — the closing on a house for the first-time homebuyer Kelsey Glavee, a speech-language pathologist at One City Schools. It was a very emotional event at One City Schools in Monona as Glavee became the first-ever recipient of a $15,000 grant as part of a new program and down payment fund administered in partnership with One City Schools. 

“A lot of people said it wouldn’t work but this is historical. We’re making history right now,” Malone says. “And we’re changing everything that the federal government and the policies and procedures and other downpayment assistance grants … we’re changing that narrative. And that’s really incredible.” 

OWN IT: Building Black Wealth is a private sector initiative designed and led by a diverse team of Madison-area professionals in the real estate, banking, and finance industries who acknowledge the systemic racism embedded within financial systems, practices, and policies.

(L-r) Lender Sara Whitley, Kelsey Glavee and Tiffany Malone




Ian Carter, a realtor for Keller Williams Realty, was present for the check presentation and has been an important part of the Own It Team. 

“It was actually a Madison365 article that got me first interested in this program. I’ve been wanting to find ways to make an impact in helping Black and Brown people and people in other underserved communities … to give them information and access to be able to compete in housing, which you know is a staple of most wealth,” he tells Madison365. “You look at most wealthy individuals and they have a significant amount of real estate. Owning a home also allows for some other securities and different things that have a major impact on the family when they grow up.”

“Own It: Building Black Wealth” is designed to eliminate substantial barriers to wealth and homeownership for Black families in the greater Madison area. The team has a common goal – to empower, educate, and guide communities of color towards homeownership, wealth, and financial freedom.

“Honestly, I’m normally not at a loss for words, but I am in this particular instance, in large part because of how fast it was able to come together,” Carter says. “Especially in a system and a situation where there’s been a lot of barriers to entry and a lot of discouragement and legalities that prohibited the involvement in real estate and purchasing real estate and building generational wealth. 

“We still have a lot of different discrimination, discriminatory practices and systematic injustices that we’re still dealing with,” he adds. “But to be able to be in a tangible program that gives folks homeownership education and to be able to back it up with substantial monetary funds that have no strings attached … it’s just awesomeness.” 

New homeowner Kelsey Glavee celebrates with the teams from Own It: Building Black Wealth and One City Schools. (Photo supplied)

Kelsey Glavee’s new house is very close to One City Pre School in the heart of Madison’s south side.

“Kelsey works at both [One City] schools. So the days that she works at the Pre School she will literally be able to walk to work in the mornings,” Malone says.

One City Schools CEO Kaleem Caire tells Madison365 that Glavee is an “outstanding teacher” and one of the few Black speech and language pathologists in Wisconsin.

“She’s more than deserving of this. She works hard. She said that she didn’t know anything about the first steps in buying a home so she was doing some online research and it gave her the knowledge and the confidence to go out and do it,” Caire says. “So from our standpoint — the two-generation model and the whole ecosystem village concept — it’s about all of us pulling together. This program is for our families and our staff. And it’s designed to help move them forward economically. By doing this, we’re able to retain staff and keep good people here in Madison.”

Caire adds that it is so powerful to see people like Sara Alvarado and Tiffany Malone come together to make this possible. “My hope is that other schools will connect to this,” Caire says. “Schools can be more and should be more to families than just a place to educate their kids.”

Six more Madison-area families will be receiving a $15,000 grant to put toward the purchase of their first home in 2022 with the help of OWN IT: Building Black Wealth.

“This is the first of many. Kelsey is our baby. We got our first accepted offer — I am the buyer’s agent. So Kelsey is our first participant that is actually closing. We have another participant that’s closing next week. And then we have more to follow,” Malone says. “So this is crazy amazing. And I hope that people will jump on this bandwagon and help this program grow and donate so – like One City says – that no families are left behind. We want our parents to be homeowners and that’s what they choose to do.”