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Bottom Line Conversations: How Financing Has Evolved for Community-Controlled Real Estate

Senior Economics Correspondent Oscar Perry Abello talks with Devin Culbertson, VP of Innovative Finance at Grounded Solutions, about the successes, stumbles and opportunities for the financing of community land trusts.

August 10, 2022

Watch Senior Economics Correspondent Oscar Perry Abello in conversation with Devin Culbertson, VP of Innovative Finance at Grounded Solutions — the latest in Next City’s Bottom Line Conversations webinar series.

Community land trusts, or other forms of community-owned and controlled real estate, continue to make incremental progress across the country. The model has also moved beyond housing or agriculture in acquiring larger, more complicated commercial and cultural projects. As we discussed back in March with Saki Bailey of the San Francisco Community Land Trust, it’s now possible for a CLT to reach a point where it can compete to acquire a larger building — amid one of the hottest real estate markets in the country — using only private financing.

Now, we’ll dive further into that conversation with Devin Culbertson. As vice president of innovative finance at Grounded Solutions, Culbertson works with CLTs and other organizations across the country to explore how local, state or federal resources can fill in capital gaps for acquisition, rehab or construction. We’ll talk with him about how the landscape for financing community-controlled real estate has changed (or not changed fast enough); what his ideal future would look like for CLTs; and who the key players are right now in the conversation about financing community-controlled real estate — as well as who should be key players but aren’t.

Next City’s series “The Bottom Line” explores scalable solutions for problems related to affordability, inclusive economic growth and access to capital. The series is made possible with support from Citi.

About Our Host


Oscar Perry Abello is Next City's senior economics correspondent. He previously served as Next City’s editor from 2018-2019, and was a Next City Equitable Cities Fellow from 2015-2016. Since 2011, Oscar has covered community development finance, community banking, impact investing, economic development, housing and more for media outlets such as Shelterforce, B Magazine, Impact Alpha, and Fast Company. Follow him on Twitter: @oscarthinks.

About Our Guest


Devin Culbertson is Vice President of Innovative Finance for Grounded Solutions Network, a national nonprofit focused on equitable, affordable housing and dedicated to shaping communities to be inclusive and filled with opportunity for all. He strives to scale shared equity housing across the country by blending real estate and finance technical skills with patient, people-focused problem-solving. Before joining Grounded Solutions, Devin was a Director at Enterprise Community Partners, leading site coordination, community ownership, and capital strategy for the Strong Prosperous and Resilient Communities Challenge. While at Enterprise, he also created the $21M Regional Equitable Development Initiative Fund to finance the acquisition of transit-oriented development sites in Seattle. He also worked as an underwriter and analyst on the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit Syndication team. Devin began his career developing affordable homeownership and multifamily projects in Oregon, building or preserving approximately 500 units across roughly 15 projects. Devin is a graduate of Willamette University (BA) and the University of Texas at Austin, with a Master of Science in Community and Regional Planning.

This event is presented in partnership with Citi.

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