Impact Investment Helps Teachers Land Homes

(Soquel Union Elementary School Board Superintendent Scott Turnbull, Santa Cruz County Schools Superintendent Michael Watkins, teacher Christine Canavan, Community Foundation CEO Susan True, Landed Director of Partnerships Ian Macgruder) 

Community Foundation steps up as first local investor securing $500K to help teachers with their down payment as part of Landed home buying program

The Community Foundation launched its new $500,000 investment in more affordable housing as part of a partnership with San Francisco-based startup Landed, Inc. Four local teachers have already had offers accepted on homes and received down payment assistance through Landed’s program in Santa Cruz County. 

“At times the housing crisis can appear overwhelming but partnerships like the one with Landed are proof we’re moving toward highly creative solutions that have real impact on people’s lives in our community,” said Community Foundation Santa Cruz County CEO Susan True. “The Community Foundation will continue to search and invest in affordable housing options that help our local workforce lay roots in this community and build a stronger, more vibrant Santa Cruz County for us all,” she said.

The early investment of half a million dollars from the Community Foundation established a Landed fund open to other investors who can invest in affordable housing for local educators. This investment, structured as a Program-Related Investment (PRI) comes as an increasing number of community foundations consider ways to use impact investments, in addition to traditional philanthropic grants, to further their impact in the community. The Community Foundation and Landed estimate the average amount invested in each of the Santa Cruz County homes so far to be about $70,000. A $500,000 investment like the one secured by Community Foundation has the initial capacity to help six to eight educators with down payments for their homes. Any gains from this assistance will be re-invested to support an ever-growing number of educators in the county.

“Landed helped us buy the home we’ve been renting for many years in Capitola,” said Soquel Union Elementary School teacher Christina Canavan, the first Santa Cruz County Schools homebuyer with Landed. “We are still pinching ourselves that we own our home. It’s truly a blessing and we are very appreciative that this program is helping families like ours afford to live in the communities we serve,” she said.

Landed lowers barriers to home ownership by giving educators half of the down payment on a home (up to $120,000.00 per family). In exchange, homeowners give a portion of the appreciation or depreciation of the home’s value when it is sold. Landed’s payment support is currently available to all teachers, administrators, and staff in Santa Cruz County who have worked for a public school or district in the county for at least two years.

While results are still early, Landed cites improved educator retention, better school quality for students, financial well-being for teachers and less strain on the environment as a few of the key program outcomes. For many teachers in Santa Cruz County and the Bay Area, Landed has the potential to serve as a life-line in the midst of a seemingly endless housing crisis.

“We are thrilled that we have already been able to support several teachers in Santa Cruz County and that this new investment will help more local educators access home ownership,” said Landed Director of Partnerships, Ian Magruder, a former Student Representative on the Santa Cruz City Schools Board of Trustees whose mother and sister are both local teachers.

Since its founding in 2015, Landed has already helped educators purchase homes in San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Clara, and other cities across the Bay Area. In 2017, Landed also received a $5 million investment from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative to help educators in three public school districts on the Peninsula buy homes.  Interested educators can apply for Landed’s down payment support at

More coverage on this program from KSBWSanta Cruz SentinelRegister-PajaronianSanta Cruz Tech Beat