16:10 PM

Alliance for the American Dream promotes collaboration and benefits central Ohio

Winning project to help middle income homeowners will assist 10,000 middle-class families

Ohio State's Power of Home team

Home ownership on a middle-income budget is a step closer to being realized for 10,000 central Ohioans, after a proposal by a team of Ohio State University faculty and community partners was selected for investment in the Alliance for the American Dream competition.

The project, Power of Home, is an innovative digital service platform and suite of resources that leverages the purchase of a first home as a springboard for increasing income, reducing expenses and maximizing the economic potential of the home.

Power of Home equips 10,000 new homeowners on the edge of the middle class with customized information, advice and financial capital to maximize the economic value of the home and buffer financial shocks.

The platform’s first elements are expected to be rolled out in August. The team has identified 40,000 homeowners to recruit to the program, with a goal to have the first person enrolled by October and 10,000 enrolled by the end of 2020.The project is a collaboration of Ohio State, the Ohio Housing Finance Agency, the social enterprise Framework Homeownership and other partners.

Schmidt Futures awarded Ohio State a $1.5 million grant to generate ideas to raise the net income of 10,000 middle-class families in central Ohio by 10 percent by 2020. Overall, Ohio is on track to receive up to $2.3 million from Schmidt Futures in support of the Alliance for the American Dream work.

Power of Home provisionally received an additional $300,000 earlier this month following its final presentation to Schmidt Futures, which founded the Alliance for the American Dream in New York City. The team earned a second-place finish among four land-grant and public research universities in the contest (Arizona State and the universities of Utah and Wisconsin also participated).

The Alliance was created by Schmidt Futures, a philanthropic initiative founded by Eric and Wendy Schmidt that bets early on people who will make our world better – helping people to achieve more for others by applying advanced science and technology thoughtfully and by working together across fields.

“Partnerships are at the core of Ohio State’s incredible impact,” said President Michael V. Drake. “These projects leverage those meaningful connections, and the expertise on our campuses and in our communities, to develop scalable solutions to advance prosperity and well-being broadly across our state and nation.”

“We are a city known for its collaborative nature,” said Columbus Mayor Andrew J. Ginther. “This partnership will help create the vibrant and diverse neighborhoods that are vital to becoming America’s Equal Opportunity City.” 

Power of Home was one of six Ohio projects designed in collaboration with the Alliance for the American Dream.

Several of the other Alliance-inspired Ohio projects are moving forward with support from other investors.

  • The Ohio Microfarm Project is food system project that increases access to fresh produce while providing training and supplies to farmers in the Mansfield area, as well as assistance with cultivating their products to increase sales. A collaboration between Ohio State, community-based improvement organizations, economic development organizations and chambers of commerce, the project plans to seed a local sustainable economic engine in the heart of the six cities and neighborhoods that host Ohio State. The Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research awarded a $2 million matching grant to Ohio State at Mansfield that will go toward development of an urban sustainable food system there.
  • The Prosperity Promise helps Columbus State Community College students navigate resources for jobs, education and community services such as a food pantry, rental assistance, near-campus flexible child care services, ride-sharing vehicles and health care screenings. It is a collaboration between Ohio State (through its Ohio Education Research Center), Columbus State Community College, United Way of Central Ohio and other community partners. Recently, Columbus State partnered with Franklin County Job and Family Services to open a campus office to serve students eligible for assistance programs and has partnered with the Community Shelter Board and the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to support students in need.

Ohio State Executive Vice President and Provost Bruce A. McPheron says these collaborations have great potential.

“The Ohio State University has come together with the central Ohio community in a new and exciting way with the goal of helping Ohioans to flourish. We are excited to support teams that are keeping homeowners in their homes, growing fresh produce on urban micro-farms, and helping area students succeed,” said McPheron.

Power of Home grew out of a pilot study led by Stephanie Moulton, associate professor and director of doctoral studies within Ohio State’s John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and Cäzilia Loibl, associate professor of consumer sciences in the College of Education and Human Ecology.

The pilot program provided 500 new homeowners with one year of free financial coaching and reduced the default rate on those mortgages by 20 percent – demonstrating how effective counseling can be in the first year of home ownership.

The second round of the Alliance for the American Dream to search for the best ideas to help middle-class families will begin in August.