In this age of wealth inequality, runaway development and gentrification, it’s easy for communities to feel powerless in the face of rapid change. Lynn Smith founded Buy The Block, a real estate crowdfunding portal and the first portal that is African American-owned, to help change that dynamic.
Smith (pictured above) has invested in real estate since she was 21, and experienced firsthand how difficult it can be for small investors to get financing. She also saw how the North Miami neighborhood where she grew up was radically altered by development, without any input from residents. Those experiences led her to found Buy The Block.
“I wanted to be able to offer an alternative financing source for developers and allow the community to be the financiers for these deals,” says Smith.
“As investors, we don’t always necessarily get access to these deals,” she continues. “XYZ developer that we’ve never seen or heard of before comes in and before you know it, the whole neighborhood gets turned around.” Buy The Block, she says “allows individuals to play a role in their community. They can actually see their money being put to work, and potentially get a return or interest.”
Even a single $100 or $500 investment in an apartment complex in Detroit, for example, can help to turn a block and a community around, she says. “There is empowerment in it.”
From Solar Farms to Food Deserts
To launch the Buy The Block, Smith raised close to $110,000 from 455 backers who donated money to a crowdfunding campaign she ran on BBnomics, a donation crowdfunding site she also owns. The campaign urged people to “Buy the Block and stop gentrification.”
Buy The Block, which is based in Denver, got its FINRA approval and opened its doors in October 2017. The portal handles Regulation Crowdfunding offerings, which are open to all investors, as well as offerings under Regulation D, an exemption limited to accredited investors that has no limits on how much money can be raised.[…]
The post Buy The Block Empowers Black Communities to Invest in Themselves appeared first on Locavesting.
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