On June 5, Housing Action Illinois and crowdfunding entrepreneur Nat Zorach offered a webinar titled “Crowdfunding—The Next Community Development Financing Tool?”

Crowdfunding is the process of raising small amounts of money from a large base of individual backers—the “crowd”—to fund a variety of initiatives. Through online “portals” like Kickstarter that have almost become household names, crowdfunding has been used to fund events, concert tours and even startup ventures, and has gained legitimacy through regulation like the 2012 JOBS Act. Could crowdfunding become an effective tool to help revitalize communities? Could it forever change the meaning of the term “stakeholder” in nonprofit or for-profit urban development?

The webinar covered the following topics:

  • Defined crowdfunding and the different platforms available for crowd-sourced real estate investment.
  • Regulatory changes which make crowdfunded real estate investment possible and where the regulation is heading.
  • Explained how the process works and how it can be coupled with traditional financing mechanism.
  • Using crowdfunding for affordable housing and mixed use projects.
  • Plans for crowdfunding moving forward in Gary and St. Louis.

Nat Zorach works to develop sustainable solutions for affordable housing and real estate investment by providing technical consulting to private equity investors. Certified by BPI, RESNET, and a LEED Green Associate, Nat spends as much time on the “macro” side of development, working through questions of legal compliance and financial management as well as the “micro” side, making sure buildings are built correctly. A graduate of Grinnell College in Iowa, Nat splits his time between St. Louis, where he helped manage programming for Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation in 2010-11, and Chicago, where he is active in the green building community and manages projects in Gary.

You can access the slides from the webinar at this link: https://housingactionil.org/downloads/crowdfunding_presentation.pdf.