Excellerate Foundation Launches Excellerate Housing, LLC

LAST UPDATED • August 7th, 2023

Excellerate Foundation Launches Excellerate Housing, LLC

New Subsidiary Will Accelerate Affordable Housing in Northwest Arkansas


Rogers, Ark., August 7, 2023, Excellerate Foundation announced today the creation of Excellerate Housing, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary, to accelerate the creation of affordable housing in Northwest Arkansas. 

“The affordable housing crisis has been with us for years, but it continues to intensify in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, historic inflation, and a population growth rate that shows no signs of slowing down,” said Jeff Webster, President / CEO of Excellerate Foundation. “Excellerate Housing will help those who have been hit the hardest by the lack of affordable housing, especially the region’s ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) population.”

The new subsidiary is the culmination of six years of ongoing work by Excellerate Foundation to develop creative solutions for the affordable housing sector, to unify community stakeholders in realizing those ideas, and to leverage funding to maximize the impact. Excellerate Housing will offer the Foundation–and the region–a new tool to help meet these goals.

“When we first adopted housing as one of our program pillars, there wasn’t a lot of attention given to the issue,” said Henry Ho, Board Chair of Excellerate Foundation. “But a study funded by Walton Family Foundation in 2019 shined a spotlight on the housing crisis, which had been an almost invisible problem to many of those in the community.”

The study, “Our Housing Future”, noted that “failure to act could result in widespread instability, including job losses, increased poverty, and rising numbers of homeless individuals and families”.

“It was a call to action,” continued Ho, “and Excellerate did not hesitate to pick up the baton on behalf of lower-income families across the region.”

The Foundation first demonstrated its ability to bring people together to tackle the affordable housing crisis by facilitating the Cobblestone Farm Community development in West Fayetteville, which will serve close to 100 families and provide one to four bedroom units that will range between $365 and $625 in monthly rent. Delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cobblestone Farm Community plans to open later this year.

To elevate the housing issue in the business community, the Foundation spearheaded the creation of the NWA Regional Fund, through which local banks invested more than $40 million in equity to support five new affordable housing developments in Northwest Arkansas. The fund supported 345 new rental units for lower-income families that will run, on average, 49% below current market rate rent. This will result in $65 million in rental savings for these families over the next 35 years.

“In 50 years of operation, we have seen only two other states that have been able to put together a regional fund like this one,” said Christine Cormier at the time, who is executive vice president – fund management and investor relations for WNC, which structured the fund’s tax credit syndicate. “Arkansas now joins this elite group.”

While working additional developments through the pipeline, the Foundation also turned its attention to policy change, with an invitation from Bentonville Mayor Stephanie Orman to join her Housing Affordability Workgroup in 2022. Chaired by Excellerate CEO Webster, the group spent a year researching and analyzing ways to encourage developers to build affordable housing for the city’s residents. This work resulted in a recommendation for developer incentives and process improvements called Project ARROW, which was adopted by the Bentonville City Council in January and is currently in its implementation phase.

Having distributed $15 million in Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) for Benton County during the height of the pandemic, Excellerate has also been appropriated $2.4M of the County’s remaining ERA funding to leverage toward an affordable housing development. Washington County has done the same for its residents, providing $1.7 million in ERA funds to the Foundation for affordable housing construction and housing stability services.

This track record of being able to bring the community together to tackle some of the region’s biggest challenges resulted in the Council on Foundations and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development honoring Excellerate Foundation with the 2023 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships.

Excellerate Housing, LLC is a milestone in Excellerate Foundation’s 25-year history, and it will provide the Foundation with even more opportunities to provide affordable housing to low-income families in diverse, inclusive environments with additional services and resources that will help them thrive.