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Inaugural IGNITE! Awards Enlighten Intersection 2015 Attendees

Everyone was a winner at the IGNITE! Community Pitch Fest. Six organizations shared their inspirational work as they competed for the coveted Audience Choice Award.

We heard from:

  • Staci Horwitz of City of Lakes CLT who supported her homeowners and others to explore what makes a house a home.
  • David Tisel of City First Homes who has transformed how his board makes decisions by putting data at their fingertips.
  • Katie Ulrich of Proud Ground who, through HomeKeeper, is squashing nay-sayer arguments by demonstrating the impact of individual wealth creation made possible through CLT homeownership.
  • Mim McConnell of Sitka CDC who is strategizing about how to house as many people as possible on her small Alaskan island with limited access to land and resources.
  • Dean Fearing of Kulshan CLT who is increasing the value of CLT homes without making them more expensive by working with homeowners to install solar roof panels.
  • Suzanne Cabrera of Housing Leadership Council who, when faced with absolutely no access to first mortgage financing, organized local banks to lend to CLT homeowners.

Dean Fearing, AKA “Batman”, was one of the IGNITE! Community Pitch Fest co-winners of the coveted Audience Choice Award for Kulshan CLT’s work to make homes more valuable but not more expensive through solar power.  Kulshan CLT has helped 26 homeowners lower their monthly utility costs through the installation of solar roof panels. Read more about the initiative at: http://www.whatcomtalk.com/2015/08/31/kulshan-community-land-trust-solar-power/.

Staci Horwitz, the other IGNITE! Audience Choice Award co-winner, told the tale of “This Home Is Not For Sale”—a public art installation and engagement strategy by City of Lakes CLT and CLT homeowner, Molly Van Avery. The collaborative team engaged City of Lakes CLT homeowners, poets and artists to think differently about the impact of homeownership—especially in neighborhoods hard hit by the foreclosure crisis. Through shared meals and permanent Realty signs, This Home is Not for Sale created an opportunity for neighborhood residents to get to know their community and blocks and to explore what makes a house a home.

While Staci and Dean walked away with the Voter’s Choice Award (two tickets each to Intersections 2016 in Park City, Utah), all contestants walked away with $500 and the bragging rights of being a nationally recognized program for innovation and impact. But, it may be that the audience was the biggest winner of all. Participants left the community pitch fest reinvigorated, inspired and eager reach further and deeper to achieve their missions.

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