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FHLBank Atlanta Announces $1 Million Heirs’ Property Grant Initiative

·5 min read
Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta

Funding will improve Minority Homeownership, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Generational Wealth

ATLANTA, Aug. 29, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta (FHLBank Atlanta) announced today that it is making $1 million in grant funding available to organizations that submitted pilot initiatives during last year’s Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Funders’ Forum.

The Funders’ Forum took place in Atlanta in December 2021, and was designed to connect potential funders with nonprofits and other entities for the purpose of preventing and addressing the issue of heirs’ property. With FHLBank Atlanta’s new $1 million grant initiative, organizations that presented pilot initiatives during the Funders’ Forum can now apply for up to $100,000 to fund their pilot programs.

Heirs’ property occurs when a real property owner dies without a will that designates a successor owner, or without a recorded deed. It also occurs when property is left to multiple beneficiaries, resulting in a fractured or tangled title that is unmarketable and, if left unresolved, prevents the ability to sell, collateralize, improve, or otherwise transfer the property. Heirs’ property is a barrier to the accumulation of generational wealth, leads to neighborhood blight, and is a pervasive issue that disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minority, low-wealth, and distressed urban and rural communities.

“FHLBank Atlanta began taking a serious look at the challenges of heirs’ property in 2019,” said FHLBank Atlanta President and CEO, Kirk Malmberg. “The funding we are announcing today represents the next step in the efforts of FHLBank Atlanta, our members, and our community partners to resolve this important issue.”

“This funding will create better awareness and help entities execute local initiatives that will have a scaled-response to the heirs’ property challenge in neighborhoods across the Southeast,” said Arthur Fleming, Senior Vice President and Director of Community Investment Services for FHLBank Atlanta.

The Funders’ Forum created an opportunity for organizations to partner with one another in an effort to establish a supply of capital, human resources, and organizational pilot initiatives aimed at providing solutions to heirs’ property. In all, 84 organizations hailing from 22 states and the District of Columbia presented pilot initiatives to 40 potential funders during the Funders’ Forum.

Frank Fernandez, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta noted that the Foundation was pleased to support the Funders’ Forum and provide a location for the event. “FHLBank Atlanta has taken a leadership role in addressing the issue of heirs’ property and we are encouraged to know that the Bank is providing its own capital to assist organizations devoted to developing solutions to this important issue.”

Representatives from Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Truist, and BankUnited, an FHLBank Atlanta member located in Miami Lakes, Florida, also attended the Funders’ Forum.

“FHLBank Atlanta should be commended for bringing the issue of heirs’ property to the forefront and we’re grateful to be a part of this effort to transform a system that often leads to loss of property, land, and wealth for families of color,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of Housing Affordability Philanthropy at Wells Fargo. “In the coming months, we plan to award up to $1.5 million in grant funding to nonprofit housing and legal assistance organizations to help more people and communities keep generational land and property.”

“JPMorgan Chase was happy to help plan for and participate in the Funders’ Forum,” said Carolina Jannicelli, head of the firm’s Racial Equity Commitment. “Heirs’ property is a fundamental obstacle to wealth creation for underserved communities and we applaud FHLBank Atlanta on launching its grant initiative to help resolve and prevent this complex issue.”

“As a member of FHLBank Atlanta, Truist was pleased to participate in the Heirs’ Property Prevention and Resolution Funders’ Forum,” said Anthony L. Weekly, executive vice president and chief CRA and community development officer for Truist. “We applaud FHLBank Atlanta’s efforts to bring focused attention to the issue of heirs’ property and as a result of their efforts, we are now actively working with several organizations across our footprint to address challenges various communities face as a result of this issue.”

Eric Hibbert, executive vice president, managing senior credit officer and iCARE program chairman with BankUnited, noted that his institution is always interested in solutions to problems and challenges impacting the communities the bank serves. “After being invited to take a leadership role in the Funders’ Forum, BankUnited created our own initiative to address the issue of heirs’ property and pursue innovative solutions in collaboration with other organizations to address this issue in our markets,” said Hibbert. “By adding more resources to this effort, FHLBank Atlanta is providing critical assistance to organizations devoted to solving this problem.”

Organizations that submitted pilot programs during the Funders’ Forum can submit an application for granting funding by clicking here. Application reviews are expected to begin in early October.

For additional information on the Heirs’ Property Grant Initiative, please contact Catherine Sterba at csterba@fhlbatl.com, or Art Fleming at afleming@fhlbatl.com.

About the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
FHLBank Atlanta offers competitively-priced financing, community development grants, and other banking services to help member financial institutions make affordable home mortgages and provide economic development credit to neighborhoods and communities. The Bank's members – its shareholders and customers – are commercial banks, credit unions, savings institutions, community development financial institutions, and insurance companies located in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. FHLBank Atlanta is one of 11 district banks in the Federal Home Loan Bank System. Since 1990, the FHLBanks have awarded approximately $7.3 billion in AHP funds, assisting more than one million households.

CONTACT: Peter E. Garuccio
Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta
pgaruccio@fhlbatl.com
404.888.8143