After disasters, the wealth gap in communities grows. Innovative Impact Investing can alter that course.

Hope Voelkel May 30, 2021

More than two years after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston, the first HUD funds began making their way to a limited number of citizens. To this day, only 185 homes have been rebuilt using federal funds with an additional 56 in active construction. SBP, a national disaster resilience and recovery organization, has rebuilt more than 200 homes.

Some people can afford to self-fund their recovery while waiting for their HUD funding (using savings or traditional loans). Many will be eligible for reimbursement. But others, particularly the most vulnerable, cannot. We need innovative ideas that facilitate investment into at-risk populations made more vulnerable by disasters.

The Recovery Acceleration Fund (RAF) is just such an idea. For eligible homeowners, this HUD-compliant mechanism would give homeowners access to private capital (via a structured equity instrument capitalized with ESG/impact investment funds, secured by a charitable loan-loss reserve) via loans to support rebuilding costs. Eligible participants would receive support to apply for reimbursement and would repay the loans when HUD funding became available. More families and communities could begin their recovery processes sooner, bringing economic and personal stability back.



Meta Themes

  • Equity & Inclusion

  • Impact Investing


Philanthropy, equality, wealth gap

Purpose and Desired Outcome

Extreme weather events are only increasing. A recent Rice University study shows in areas that receive heavy federal recovery investment after a disaster, white residents gained net worth over the course of recovery while low-income communities and communities of color lost net worth over the same period. Innovative ideas like RAF facilitate investment into underserved, vulnerable and at-risk populations. This sort of investment has long-term, life-changing impact for individuals, families and communities.


  • Allocators (Family Offices, HNW Individuals, Foundations)

  • Government

  • Asset Managers

  • Intermediaries (Financial Advisers, Investment Bankers)

  • Corporate & SME


  • NameZack Rosenburg
  • TitleCo-Founder & CEO
  • OrganizationSBP
  • StatusConfirmed
  • NameLauren Puffer
  • TitleESG Equity Strategy
  • OrganizationJefferies Financial Group
  • StatusInvited
  • Name(Retired) Senator Mary Landrieu, US Senate
  • Title.
  • Organization.
  • StatusInvited
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