Strong Communities Fund
So we grow into the best place possible
With the Strong Communities Fund, Forterra is directing investment to underserved areas. With strong community partners, we are securing land for social change.
A land of prosperity and inequity
With our region’s growth and prosperity has come persistent inequity — rural towns with outmoded economies and declining population and urban neighborhoods facing a shortage of affordable homes and inadequate infrastructure. Wealth attracts wealth. Cities and towns are gentrifying, displacing longtime residents and business owners with rising rents, and lower-income areas are contending with underinvestment.
Land is a powerful force for change. Homeownership is a foundation of wealth building, and wealth is the basis of security — access to quality education and healthcare and safe neighborhoods and protection from financial emergency. But wealth, unlike income, is built over generations. Throughout this country’s history, Black people have had their land stolen, through violence, legal deception, and racist financial systems, contributing to the massive wealth gap we see today between Black and white families.
Today’s growth and prosperity presents an opportunity. In 2016 Forterra created the Strong Communities Fund (SCF) to pool private capital from those who have benefited from economic opportunity and who want to see progressive change. To date, SCF has amassed $24 million, which in turn has leveraged $160 million in external funding.
We look to our communities for direction. Together, we are using SCF to acquire and develop land to create opportunities for homeownership and economic stimulus.
Communities come to Forterra with urgent needs and creative ideas. With Rainier Beach Action Coalition, we are securing land for transit-oriented affordable housing in Rainier Beach, Seattle. We are developing cooperative ownership models for homes and business space in Tacoma, with Fab-5, and in Tukwila, with the Abu Bakr Islamic Center. We are partnering with the town of Darrington, a timber community with deep history and knowledge of the industry, to develop the Darrington Wood Innovation Center for cross laminated timber (CLT), modular housing, and other innovative technologies.
With all our projects we prioritize the design of scalable and replicable models for use in communities facing similar challenges. Forterra has been a pioneer in creating financially and environmentally sustainable models for housing, which are built on a carefully calibrated mix of affordable and market-rate real estate and cooperative ownership.
Related Perspectives and News
More than 50 children (and their parents) gathered at Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park on Sunday for art making, movie watching and some science learning. Forterra partnered with Seattle Art Museum (SAM) and Pacific Science Center for the launch of this year’s first Kid’s Saturday of Winter Weekends at the park.
In 2015, Forterra spearheaded a conversation with about eighty stakeholders to discuss leveraging CLT and mass timber products to improve forest health, stimulate employment in rural communities, and house a growing urban population. Just over three years and an established CLT Coalition later, engagement has grown substantially.
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