A platform for real estate developers of color to shape the future of Cleveland

A new program, entering into its second term is accepting applications to entrepreneurs of color seeking to develop real estate in Cleveland. Cleveland Development Advisors (CDA), Village Capital Corporation (VCC) and Capital Impact Partners have created the Cleveland Equitable Development Initiative (CLE EDI) to provide them with training, technical assistance, mentorship, networking and pathways to financing.

Recognizing there is not enough diversity in the real estate industry, the initiative is designed to correct that inequity in Greater Cleveland by eliminating barriers to success and providing them with the tools they need to scale up, particularly as they develop projects in the very communities they are from.

The CLE EDI program is a part of a broader initiative, the Equitable Development Ecosystem Collaborative (EDEC) to support the success of minority developers with other community partners, including Cuyahoga County, the City of Cleveland, the Land Bank, LISC, Enterprise Community Partners, and Cleveland Neighborhood Progress.

 Empowering Developers of Color to Lead Revitalization Efforts

In an effort to better ensure that real estate developers truly reflect our city’s diversity and that real estate developers of color are able to participate in the growth and revitalization efforts, we are launching the Cleveland Equitable Development Initiative (CLE EDI). Charting a path toward inclusive economic opportunity, The CLE EDI program combines local knowledge, experience, partnerships, and collaborations. The CLE EDI will also focus on – project design, feasibility, and project financing – to support developers of color to grow their careers and support communities.

Training & Knowledge Enhancement

Program participants engage in formal real estate development training, workshops with local development experts and city leaders, having transparent discussions around challenges and opportunities for developers of color to succeed in Cleveland and beyond. 

Mentorship, Networking, Relationships

Emerging Developers will be paired one-on-one with a developer mentor to support from both a business and project approach perspective. These local experts provide project-specific guidance to further participants’ real estate development efforts.

Financing Opportunities

Cleveland Development Advisors and Village Capital Corporation will work with CLE EDI members to connect them to project financing opportunities, leveraging the knowledge and relationships they’ve gained to strengthen their financing applications

Apply For the 2024 – 2025 Cleveland Equitable Development Initiative

The Application Window for the 2024 – 2025 CLE EDI Cohort is open from July 1st – July 29th.


Successful candidates for the program will be selected based on the following criteria: 

Identify as Black, Indigenous, and/or Person of Color (BIPOC) and/or a racial or ethnic minority. 

Demonstrate experience as a small-scale developer (either for-profit or nonprofit organizations) who is seeking to further their experience developing affordable housing and/or growing their portfolio. As this is not an introductory program, candidates are expected to have some direct real estate development experience. 

Live in or have connection to Cleveland, OH  

Demonstrate a commitment to community development and neighborhood reinvestment in Cleveland through work on tangible real estate development project(s). 

• Commit to attend mostly in-person training on Wednesday afternoons (between 3:00 – 6:00 p.m. EST) during the months of late September 2024 – May 2025 for up to 4 hours per week. 

• Commit to additional hours (4 – 6) monthly for assignments, mentor/advisor meetings, etc.

Demonstrate interest in responding to Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for real estate development opportunities, with or without a development partner, within four – six months of completion of the program.


For Any Question Please Contact:

William A. Willis,

Senior Director Development Services, 


(216) 926–8139

23-24 Program Participants