“We want great educators to have the ability to begin to build their roots or to continue to call Denver their home. Engaged and committed teachers make a positive, long-term impact on our community.”
Dear DPS Community,
We are excited to announce a very generous $5 million donation to help our educators deal with the high and rising cost of housing in Denver. It is an important step forward to help our educators meet a pressing need.
While state funding for education has painfully failed to keep up with inflation over the last decade, the cost of housing in places like Denver has been skyrocketing, placing home ownership out of reach for many of our educators.
We are therefore very grateful that Ben and Lucy Ana Walton and their Zoma Foundation have generously donated $5 million specifically to help educators in the Denver Public Schools purchase homes, in partnership with San Francisco-based startup Landed.
“Denver is a tremendous community in which to raise our children,” said Zoma Foundation co-founder Ben Walton. “We want great educators to have the ability to begin to build their roots or to continue to call Denver their home. Engaged and committed teachers make a positive, long-term impact on our community.”
The opportunity provides half of the 20% down payment on a home, up to $70,000 per household, to be paid back in the future. It’s available to all full-time employees who have been with DPS at least two years.
Teacher Jozi Martinez spoke of her excitement about the program at a launch event held at Denver School of Innovation and Sustainable Design (DSISD). “I’ve been a teacher for 10 years and am a seventh-generation Coloradan. I currently own a home in Arvada and dream of the day I can purchase a home with a Denver ZIP code.”
Under the program, no DPS funding is required. And, any proceeds that the Landed-Zoma partnership receives from the future sale of homes go into a revolving fund to help more educators purchase homes in the future. We’re excited to be the first district outside of California to welcome Landed.
As grateful as we are for the donation, we know it is only one small piece of a much larger and very challenging financial puzzle. Above all, we need to continue to advocate for greater state funding for education to support our kids and compensate our professionals. And, at the same time, it is essential that we continue to think outside the box and explore innovative opportunities for our educators to obtain housing. I am grateful to School Board Member Lisa Flores and the entire board for their leadership on this issue.
Finally, we need to continue work with the city on providing affordable housing for our educators — and all our DPS families — who are not able to keep up with rising costs, as the Strengthening Neighborhoods Committee so strongly recommended. Affordable housing and great schools go together.
Pictured above: On Thursday, DPS joined Zoma Foundation co-founder Ben Walton to announce their partnership with Landed to assist DPS educators in the home-buying process.
Each year, Education Week identifies some of the nation’s most exceptional school district leaders in its Leaders To Learn From report and shines a spotlight on their extraordinary impact on the success of educators and students.
Susana was honored for her leadership in equity. She was recognized for her positive impact throughout Denver Public Schools and most importantly, for being a “perpetual fighter looking out for all kids.” Congratulations, Susana!
Click here to learn more about Susana’s fight for equity in DPS and watch a highlight video.