YIGBY Project Nears One Million Dollars in Philanthropic Support

Innovative housing group sets sights on breaking ground April 2021


Closing out 2020 with a heavy dose of hope for 2021, we’re pleased to share that the YIGBY project is nearing its fundraising goal of $1 million in philanthropic support, having raised $930,000. 

As previously shared, Yes in God’s Back Yard (YIGBY), a project fiscally sponsored by Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties, is a collaborative group of experienced real estate professionals, homeless advocates, and philanthropic organizations who are partnering with faith communities to rapidly develop affordable housing on underutilized faith community properties, using a self-supporting, scalable model. Through YIGBY’s financing model, the money funders invest stays in the community, building economic security.

In June, YIGBY announced that Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church (Bethel AME), a longstanding community pillar and San Diego’s oldest African American church, signed on as the first faith-based partner to build affordable housing on their property through the initiative.

The Bethel AME-owned property, located at 32nd and Imperial Avenue, will house 16 one-bedroom units designated for seniors and Veterans who are living with disabilities and experiencing homelessness, and will partner with the HUD Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) voucher program. The project serves as a demonstration project of the YIGBY model in action.

During 2020, the YIGBY team developed a pro forma, applied for a loan from Self-Help Federal Credit Union, and raised philanthropic capital for the $4.1M construction project. Of the $1 million being raised for philanthropic support, $700,000 will go towards the proof of concept project’s equity, with the remaining funding the sustainability of the YIGBY model for future projects. 

“The YIGBY project is about innovation, but at its core it’s about people, and the belief that every person deserves a place to call home,” Andy Ballester, co-founder of GoFundMe, co-creator of BQuest Foundation, and an early YIGBY investor, shared. “By this time next year, 16 people experiencing homelessness in San Diego will have permanent, sustainable housing, while all of the developer money will stay with the church in our local community. That is smart, transformative funding,” he said.

Through a generous matching grant challenge of $500,000 offered by the BQuest Foundation, $430,000 has been raised to date from philanthropic partners across the region for capital for the Bethel Veteran Housing project and YIGBY operations. YIGBY is grateful for the tremendous support coming from all the foundations and philanthropists who have stepped up to the plate in a big way to make this happen, including: the YIGBY Advisory Board, BQuest Foundation, Alliance Healthcare Foundation, Funders Together to End Homelessness San Diego, The Parker Foundation, Lucky Duck Foundation, Aetna, UPLIFT, and The Payne Family Foundation.    

Ground breaking is scheduled for April 2021 with full occupancy by December 2021. Want to cap off 2020 with an investment into a better 2021? Contact Amy Denhart if you are interested in bringing YIGBY over the $1 million funding finish line.