The Fortune Society: Helping Returning Citizens Thrive

Capital One contributed funding to help open a housing development for returning citizens and people experiencing homelessness

Capital One’s Community Finance team joined forces with The Fortune Society to further its vision to foster a world where all formerly incarcerated individuals will have the opportunity to thrive as positive, contributing members of society. 

In addition to providing employment, education and health services, The Fortune Society provides low-threshold access to supportive emergency, transitional and permanent housing at properties, The Fortune Academy (the Castle) and Castle Gardens in West Harlem, New York, Freedom House in East Harlem, New York, along with its Scatter-Site Housing program.

Castle Gardens first opened its doors in 2010 with the help of financing from organizations including Capital One.

“Capital One has long been an integral supporter in The Fortune Society’s aim to build people, not prisons,” said JoAnne Page, President and Chief Executive Officer of The Fortune Society. “They recognized early on that providing safe and permanent, affordable homes for justice-involved people experiencing homelessness and low income families was paramount to improving their lives and strengthening the fabric of our communities. Thanks to the incredible support of Capital One, Fortune’s participants can call Castle Gardens their home.”

At the time, Capital One provided $22 million in debt financing and made a $17 million low income housing tax credit equity investment for the construction of Castle Gardens.

More than 60 of the 114 units in the building were set aside for individuals who formerly experienced homelessness, while the remaining units house families with low-incomes. Those formerly homeless tenants have the opportunity to access The Fortune Society’s programs that support formerly incarcerated individuals. 

Between 2009 and 2018, Capital One provided a total of $415,000 in philanthropic support to The Fortune Society to support peer-to-peer programs, workforce training, entrepreneurial programs and financial literacy.

“In 2008, in the midst of the Great Recession when most financial institutions were either slowing down or completely halted financing affordable housing, we entered the New York affordable housing market and partnered with The Fortune Society to finance the construction of Castle Gardens,” says Desiree Francis, Head of the Community Finance group in External Affairs. “Our decision to invest in this housing development has made a meaningful difference in the lives of so many people.”

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