Implementing GGRF Nationwide

Green Building, Green Buildings and Climate Resilience, Local Economies

Maximizing GGRF Investments in Low-Resourced Communities

Excited to share a post I co-authored with Denise Scott, CEO of Bell and Notice Advisors. The historic Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF) investment has the potential to scale climate change mitigation, lower energy costs, improve air quality while spurring economic development in low resourced communities. But fulfilling GGRF’s mission in traditionally underserved communities will require closer engagement with community based housing organizations and a plan for consumer advocacy. Read more. 

Video: Creating a Pitch Deck for Prospective Donors and Partners


Addressing challenges from climate change resilience to food insecurity can be daunting when making a case to potential donors. Crafting compelling messaging around your theory of change and the anticipated impact you aim to achieve is crucial for engaging donors and strategic partners.

A few years ago, we created a video on utilizing pitch decks similar to those used by tech giants like Airbnb to attract early investors. We believe you’ll find it valuable.

Please feel free to reach out for further details about our fund development services, particularly those focused on climate change resilience.

Community Developer Pioneers Green Affordable Housing in the Bronx

Green Buildings and Climate Resilience

Photo: 425 Grand Concourse, an award-winning PHIUS Passive House certified development, co-developed by MBD Community Housing Corp. Photo Courtesy of MBD. Photographer: Onaje Scott, Nashish Photography.

Photo: Entrance to Hostos, CUNY Academic Advising Center at 425 Grand Concourse. Photo Courtesy of MBD Community Housing Corp. Photography by Onaje Scott, Nashish Photography

For Climate Week 2023, ILE Strategies is celebrating MBD Community Housing Corp*. for their pioneering work in the development of 425 Grand Concourse in the Crotona Park section of Bronx, NY.  The development is the largest certified Passive House (PHIUS) development in North America to date.

We recently had an opportunity to speak with the organization’s visionary leader, Derrick Lovett, President and CEO of MBD, about the nuts and bolts of pulling a project like this together.

“425 Grand Concourse is an example of what’s possible when we work across sectors and put our heads together to come up with solutions to housing, economic, and environmental challenges,” says Lovett. “In the face of terrible air quality, the nation’s highest rates of asthma among children, and disproportionate homelessness, this project is a model for addressing many concerns at once.”

Completed in 2022, the development is a unique partnership between nonprofit, public, private, education, and medical partners. The site boasts 277 units of affordable housing, a much-needed medical center, and an educational facility for CUNY Hostos students.

Photo: November 2022 – Derrick Lovett, CEO of MBD (front, middle) with partners and community members at Ribbon cutting ceremony for 425 Grand Concourse. Photo courtesy of NYC Housing Preservation and Development.

Designed by Dattner Architects, the 26-story building consumes 70% less energy than conventional housing of its size, reducing carbon emissions in an area plagued with one of the highest levels of childhood asthma rates in the United States. Completed in 2022, project partners for this $178.5 million development include Trinity Financial (co-developer), NYC Housing Development Corporation, and Citibank.

Since its inception nearly 50 years ago, MBD has always been on the cutting edge. Responding to the failures of early federal policy to address blight in urban areas, community activists, naming themselves Mid-Bronx Desperadoes took matters into their own hands and developed a demolished city block in their neighborhood and transformed it into a haven of tree lined streets, with affordable single family homes.

View East along Charlotte Street from Boston Rd., Bronx, 2009

Photo: Aerial view of Charlotte Street, after revitalization by MBD Community Housing Corp, this project is one of the first activist-led, single family affordable homeownership development in NYC. Many of the original families are still in their homes and courtesy of NYPL. 

Ronald Reagan South Bronx | Ephemeral New York

Photo: President Jimmy Carter visits the ruins of  Charlotte Street Bronx NY in 1977. MBD Community Housing Corp (also known as Mid-Bronx Desperados) redeveloped this site, pioneering community-led development as a response to failed federal policy. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress. 


View east along Charlotte St. from Boston Rd., Bronx, 1981

Photo: Charlotte Street, and many areas like it stood, blighted, gutted and neglected for decades prior to the emergence of groups like MBD. The organization continues to take on the toughest challenges in addressing quality of life, housing, the social needs of seniors and climate change mitigation and adaptation. 

From there MBD developed several more affordable housing housing sites, renovating blighted buildings, developing the neighborhood’s first major shopping center and catalyzing other economic activity across the Bronx. 

Although MBD and their development partners have received well-deserved recognition for  425 Grand Concourse, the organization, approaching its 50th anniversary next year, does not have any plans to stop there.

“We have several renovation projects in the pipeline,” says Lovett, “with an eye on upgrading building systems and using every measure available to reduce the carbon footprint, improve building performance, which in turn results in enhancing the quality of life for our residents and the local community.”

*Disclosure: We have a professional relationship with MBD Community Housing Corp as our client.

Ethiopian Business Delegation Visits Harlem’s Economic Development Leaders

Local Economies


Meeting Delegation of Ethiopian Business Leaders in Harlem Sept 2023

Ethiopian Business Delegation Visits Harlem’s Economic Development Leaders 

By Anasa Scott- Laude

Though it is quite warm as I am writing this, Summer has officially ended. I have a lot to say about recent climate events but I will keep this message upbeat. 

I was honored to join Harlem CDC and NY Women’s Chamber of Commerce for a meeting with a delegation of business leaders from Ethiopia. Highlights of the meeting at Harlem CDC headquarters included the efforts of Chambers of Commerce across Ethiopia seeking to expand the role of women in trade, expand trade relations through strategic alliances with important commercial hubs in the city and address the impact of climate change on the nation’s livelihood and agriculture. Ethiopia is the world’s largest producer and export of coffee and we learned about the many layers of social, environmental and economic issues along the supply chain.

Quenia Abreu, Executive Director of the NY Women’s Chamber of Commerce (I serve as a board member) shared the organization’s best practices in advocacy and training for minority women in business. The chamber has hosted delegations from Asia and South America and was instrumental in establishing a Women’s Chamber of Commerce in Chile. 

Curtis Archer, Executive Director of Harlem CDC shared highlights of the organization’s programs supporting small businesses and the development of the Victoria Theater, a mixed-use development with affordable housing, the theater and other commercial uses. 

I spoke of ILE’s work supporting developers with implementing green features in their developments, working with clients on projects in the pipeline. The delegation was especially interested in our work in East Africa, supporting social entrepreneurs focused on climate change adaptation. We have been honored to work with young leaders in Uganda who are innovating solutions for food security, especially among women and girls. We hope to forge a partnership to support some of the emerging women-led businesses in Ethiopia’s coffee trade. 

Other News

African leaders will be in town for the US Africa Trade event in NYC. Mayor Adams will be hosting delegations from Africa to discuss business opportunities. ILE has been working with organizers behind the scenes and we hope to be able to attend at least one of the sessions if time permits. 

These engagements will be key in devising shared solutions on climate change and the economy for our collective prosperity.

Speaking of climate change …. Climate week is here and we will be sharing some tools and templates for engaging staff and community in the ever so complex but much needed green transition. Since I have been sitting in on a number of construction and finance meetings, I found myself struggling to keep up with all of the regs and fund application requirements for green financing and I would like to make that process easier for you!

Until then, wishing you all a joyous early Fall season with your loved ones!


Community-led Economic and Climate Change Resilience in Kampala, Uganda


Video: Case Study of Community-led and Innovation Resilience 

ILE Strategies is excited to share the work of our fellow Patrick Mujuzi founder of Ghetto Research Lab. Patrick is co-designing innovative solutions for climate change resiliency and economic mobility in the slums of Uganda.

Special thanks to Nandyowa Joanita for leading GRL’s digital marketing strategy, to the Aga Khan Foundation and Early Years Foundation for supporting GRL’s work.




IRA Funding: 4 Tips on Identifying and Securing Investments for Your CBO


The Inflation Reduction Act could result in funding for community based organizations to make housing and neighborhoods healthier, more sustainable and economically viable. 

IRA also help put us within reach of our nation’s climate commitment to cut carbon pollution by 50% by 2030 to prevent further global warming – and climate conditions that could many of us at risk.

At ILE we share the concern that many climate change activists have expressed about allocations in the bill to further fossil fuel production. However, if we take advantage of the investments we have been offered, we can work to offset the negatives. We can protect our communities and get the resources we need to adapt to the climate change already upon us while also doing our part to mitigate GHG and reduce further harm. – Harm that is disproportionately felt by low-income communities and communities of color, aptly known as “frontline communities”. 

So how can you access IRA funds?

At ILE Strategies have some experience in the climate change and community-development funding landscape. Our work as included securing and managing federal funds as well as working on community-university partnerships on climate change and environmental justice.  

Drawing from our experience here are some tips: 

  1. Review your current programs and planned projects and look for ways to integrate climate mitigation and adaptation, contact the corresponding local, state and federal agency for opportunities for funding. The Justice40 initiative seeks to improve allocation of federal funds by prioritizing zip codes with predominantly low-income populations.

The White House Council on Environmental Equality has convened several meetings and has assembled a network of grassroots environmental justice experts as well as scientists and foundations to help guide community based organizations through the federal contracting process.

2. Partner with local environmental justice, ESG finance experts, climate change researchers including academic partners to build capacity and amplify your efforts collectively.

3. Submit a well-designed, evidence-based proposal to appropriate government agencies.

4. Publicize and promote your efforts to keep your community informed and to attract more stakeholders and support. The more of us working together and aligning our efforts, the greater our chances in successfully reducing GHGs and making our communities and planet safer for many generations into the future.

ILE Strategies Background in Climate Resiliency, Sustainable Economic Development: 

Our co-founder, Anasa, spent 20 years securing public and private funding for sustainable community development and has served 15 years in academia teaching and leading campus-community based partnerships on climate and economic resiliency projects. She is a featured lecturer on the internationally renowned Healthy Affordable Housing course online developed by the Healthy Materials Lab (HML)  at New School University/ Parsons School of Design Strategies. In addition to supporting fund development, Anasa has also facilitated sustainable building management training and conferences with WeACT for Environmental Justice, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, SolarOne and a host of other partners.

Contact ILE Strategies to explore opportunities to support your resource development efforts in building climate resilient communities. #

Unlocking Federal Funding for Community Climate Resilience and Mitigation

Green Building, Green Buildings and Climate Resilience, Local Economies, Uncategorized
Image: Wildfires, dangerous floods and extreme heat. The impact of climate change has been felt across the globe. 


Back in August Anasa Laude our Managing Partner shared a post on medium about the billions of dollars in unspent federal funding allocated for climate mitigation, resiliency and post-disaster recovery. 

We have an upcoming forum with key leaders in New York to discuss these challenges. Stay tuned. 

In the meantime check out our short post on medium.


Toolkit: Leading in Times of Uncertainty

Strategic Planning

ILE Strategy – A Toolkit for Social Impact Leaders


Are you a leader navigating new challenges? Perhaps our strategy toolkit can help. Drawing on a range of planning frameworks this toolkit includes templates and frameworks to facilitate effective communication and planning with your team as you:

-Assess external issues influencing your organization
-Revisit and restructure your strategic plan
-Assign roles for action planning
-Evaluate internal processes
-Prioritize incremental process change
Report process improvement outcomes.

Download the toolkit as a Powerpoint (editable/fillable) or as a

It just so happens as we were uploading this toolkit we came across a publication by Sequoia Capital on the 4Cs of Leadership in Uncertain Times, targeting their startup grantees. Use this as inspiration or as a set of core values as you work through planning exercises with your team.

“These are the 4 C’s of leadership in uncertain times: ○As you communicate with your teams, you need to remember that especially in times like this, you have a megaphone in front of you. What you say is amplified. ○You need to deliver your message with conviction. ○You need confidence but also a sense of calmness. You must be optimistic, but also a realist.”

Reach out to us and let us know whether these resources are helpful. We would like to hear from you.

Also, for more resources complete the form below so you’ll be notified as soon as we add more content.


Shield Your Organization From the “Great Resignation”

Strategic Planning

Employers are struggling to keep staff around, amidst the “Great Resignation”. Many organizations believe that raises and promotions are key to employee satisfaction. But this may not be what actually motivates people to stick around and take ownership of their role.

In his book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Dan Pink identifies three important factors for motivating employees that could be missing at many organizations.

They include purpose, mastery and autonomy.

Now don’t get me wrong. Raises and promotion are important. They signal to employees that they are valued and that their work is appreciated.

But staff also desire to understand and be in agreement with why the work is being done (purpose). They want the opportunity to develop important competencies (mastery). And, they want to be perceived as being competent and trust-worthy enough for self-governance (autonomy).

These are deeply human needs, as Pink explains.

Ironically, a raise and promotion provided in isolation may prompt an exit. – Since the accolades build the confidence needed to pursue opportunities that are more aligned with their goals.

Getting in sync with staff and what drives them requires doing regular checkins about company culture and fixing gaps through incremental adjustments. It’s best to make these shifts in partnership with the team to allow for ownership of the process (and accountability).

The results may improve productivity and organizational culture overall.

Policy Insights – Creating Homeownership Opportunities in Hot Real Estate Markets

Local Economies


This post is part of a lecture series I’ve conducted on affordable homeownership development and finance.

In the United States homeownership is a major vehicle for wealth accumulation. For many, it is the primary means of acquiring and maintaining economic mobility.

As described by Brookings: Wealth differs from income in that it serves three major purposes: (1) Wealth provides households with buffers during economic shocks. For instance during periods of unemployment, assets can be drawn down for emergency needs. (2) Wealth is a means for ensuring economic stability for future generations. (3) Finally, financial gains from personal assets are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

In 2017 the average homeowner boasted a net worth of($195,400) that is 36 times that of the average renter ($5,400).

Unfortunately, for many Americans the accumulation of wealth and its benefits through homeownership are out of reach due to highly speculative real estate markets, socioeconomic factors or race.

Among prospective first-time buyers highly speculative real estate markets has pushed homeownership further and further out of reach. Renters seeking homeownership are seeing an increase in household expenses especially in, well…rent! This makes it difficult for households to stash away savings for a downpayment on a home. As recently reported by the Washington Post, dozens of major cities across the nation are seeing annual costs and rental costs rise by 30% percent — for instance 34% increase in rents in Fort Lauderdale, 35% in New York City and 40% in Austin, Texas.

For Millennials and younger generations, homeownership is becoming less and less attainable.

Just as rents are skyrocketing, home prices are also through the roof. As reported by the National Association of Realtors, the

median price for a single-family home $358,000.

Economic Factors Impacting Home Affordability

Home Supply Deficit

In a nationwide survey of nearly 7,000 prospective homebuyers, researchers at Point2 found that 74% of Millennials who are interested in purchasing a home would like to do so in the next 12 months. However, 88% of respondents ages 25 to 40 have significantly less in savings than the average national down payment amount.

In 27 Markets, Millennials Need 5–10 years to save enough for a downpayment.

For Millennials and younger generations, homeownership is becoming less and less attainable.

This age group has suffered through two major economic recession since entering the labor force and are reported to not have benefited from the earnings and savings of prior generations at their age.

Advocacy and persistence among elected officials, local housing agencies community-based and mission-based private sector developers are needed to expand affordable homeownership development activity as well as affordable housing overall.

Racial Discrimination Exacerbates the Issue

Even for renters who could potentially afford a home, housing discrimination and systemic racism keeps homeownership out of reach.

In 2019 New York Newsday published the results of athree-year undercover investigationwhich found widespread evidence of unequal treatment by real estate agents in Long Island, NY. Recorded interactions with 93 real estate agents showed blatant violations of fair housing laws with Black homebuyers 49% likely to be treated unequally; researchers reported unfair treatment of Latinos at 39% and Asians at 19%.

Investment in Local Community-Based Homeownership Development

For decades community-based nonprofit developers and mission-based for profit developers have been instrumental in building and preserving housing for low- and moderate-income households — including affordable homeownership.

In dense urban areas like New York City, cooperative development and homebuyer downpayment assistance can make purchasing more feasible for many. Though many housing coops units can sell very high on the open market, affordable homeownership typically targets working households earning at or below 80% of HUD’s area median income. Deed restrictions or community land trusts protect affordability long-term. Real estate tax abatements can substantially reduce expenses.

There are also housing cooperatives developments targeting moderate and middle-income first time buyers. These developments still offer below market purchase options, but unlike the limited equity cooperatives — buyers of these cooperatives have the opportunity accumulate and capture equity after a period of time. Subsidies on these projects are treated as a lien or as a forgivable mortgage. Deed restrictions and tax abatements are temporary for these projects.

Expanding Affordable Housing Cooperative Opportunities

Unfortunately, affordable projects and programs currently in the pipeline are no where near filling the gap in need. In fact, the need is so great, that developers use lotteries to select buyers.

Advocacy and persistence is needed among elected officials, particularly congressional leaders who can expand subsidies for homeownership development, and ease restrictions for federal grants. At the local level, housing agencies community-based and mission-based private sector developers can identify underutilized public and private property to expand affordable homeownership development activity as well as affordable housing overall.

Environment, climate resilience and social determinants of health are taken into consideration in affordable homeownership developments. For instance, in some cities, like New York all new major housing developments, including homeownership developments, require sustainability measures which reduces carbon emissions, while reducing energy and water usage and costs.

The diagrams below describe key aspects of affordable cooperative development. In most cases a mix of public and private funds are needed. An allocation of federal and state funding makes a project attractive to banks and investors that have below market rates and termsfor affordable housing development.

There are hundreds of affordable cooperative developments across the United States. And even in other parts of the world like Europe. I have toured homes in Slovenia for instance where 92% of apartments are privately owned. In NYC we have worked on securing funding for construction for affordable multi-family homeownership 1–4 family homes and cooperatives. I have worked with nonprofit developers secure and disperse funding for first-time homebuyer grants and low-cost end loans for the final purchases.

Homeownership is key to economic and social mobility for many Americans. It protects low- and moderate-income families against displacement due to gentrification. There are many avenues for creating homeownership opportunities across income levels. As we look towards rebuilding the economy with a focus on equity, we should explore as many avenues as possible to make homeownership a viable opportunity for as many citizens as possible.