Neighborhood Allies Launches a Revolutionary Community-Based Real Estate Development Pilot Designed to Benefit All Residents With Hiring of New Director of Real Estate Services

Jul 13, 2020

Neighborhood Allies will launch the Centralized Real Estate Accelerator (the Accelerator), a new model that seeks to accelerate, scale, and sustain a more strategic real estate system to benefit all residents. Seed investments from an anonymous donor and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) will allow us to launch a dedicated support platform that will provide strategic guidance, technical assistance and training, and capitalization support to increase local developer and system-wide capacity. 

The Accelerator holds the promise of a bold and fundamental shift from our existing fragmented system to a more powerful, effective and aligned community development framework that enhances social mobility and builds wealth for residents in under-resourced and marginalized communities. By strengthening the production, asset and property management capacity and outcomes of participating CDCs/CBOs/Neighborhood Developers, and the industry as a whole, the Accelerator seeks to close the pre-development, technical capacity, and performance monitoring and reporting gaps in the system.  

After 18 months of research, strategic planning and fund development for the Accelerator, Neighborhood Allies is ecstatic to welcome Matt Madia to our team as Director of Real Estate Services. In this role, Matt will lead the efforts to build-out, test and model the products and resources needed to fully launch the Centralized Real Estate Accelerator. The buildout phase is expected to take 24 months to fully develop and capitalize. Prior to joining Neighborhood Allies, Matt served as Chief Strategy and Development Officer at Bridgeway Capital where he worked in partnership and service to many of our existing community partners, including Wilkinsburg CDC, McKees Rocks CDC, Operation Better Block, and the Hill District Federal Credit Union by providing leadership and strategy around development opportunities. Matt brings with him a decade of financial tool development in the development sector and has raised nearly $25M in grants and $40M in new debt facilities. Matt also brings expertise in small business, manufacturing, and food related business needs to the team. 

“We have learned that the lack of technical capacity, human resources and pre-development funding at the early stages of a community-based real estate project are critical to advancement, and significantly impairs a community’s ability to absorb capital and lead its own success. The Accelerator has the potential to transform the future of equitable, community-based real estate in the region, and create real value through leveraging new sources of public/private/civic capital, increasing the effectiveness of the community development system, and ultimately growing wealth and opportunity for low-income and communities of color.”

-Presley Gillespie, Neighborhood Allies President

Spurred by the unforeseen circumstances, both with the outbreak of COVID-19 and America’s recent reckoning with the racism inherent in our societal institutions, the need for the suite of services like those offered by the Accelerator has only been amplified. A fundamental strength of the Accelerator is its ability to accelerate the pace of responsible and equitable community-driven real estate development, and to challenge old paradigm in order to provide innovative, strategic financing solutions and technical assistance that will be critical in the face of extraordinary, post-COVID headwinds. The Accelerator is premised on scale, efficiency, smart and data-driven service delivery; and it is crucial now more than ever in helping the community development sector to rebuild, recover, and repair some of the harm imposed on our communities.

Neighborhood Allies and our partners have been forging the path to this system change for years–testing new ideas and implementing programs and initiatives that empower and engage residents and work to mobilize an effective, high-capacity community investment infrastructure. Our North Star is Expanded Opportunity – over the next 10 years, we will move 100,000 of our most vulnerable Pittsburghers up the economic ladder. Building on successful programs and partnerships such as the Real Estate Co-Powerment Series (with Omicelo Cares), our Shared Real Estate Talent Program and our Economic Opportunity for All work, the Accelerator high-level strategies are to:  

  • Model and develop permanent talent-building efforts that increase the expertise of local stakeholders by pairing direct investments with training in real estate development, asset management, and small business development;  
  • Resource optimization to collaborate, coordinate, and build a pipeline of investable projects;  
  • Deployment of tools such as credit enhancement and risk mitigation tools, along with other incentives to encourage job-producing, clean, economically vibrant projects;  
  • Design of multi-sectoral, intersectional outcomes – including energy efficiency and jobs, and vibrant street corners and corridors into all projects;  
  • Ensuring communities can influence capital flows and ensure investments align with local neighborhood housing and economic development goals that address involuntary displacement; 
  • Ramp up and accelerate investment in marketing and neighborhood investment attraction;  
  • Develop and communicate shared impact metrics, monitor neighborhood change and encourage transparency and accountability; 
  • Creation of new collaborative relationships amongst those working on economic development, workforce development, and community development;  
  • Integrate networks of participants to Economic Opportunities through FOCs, FEC’s, Digital Inclusion, and Workforce Development systems;  
  • Identify, coordinate, and manage new private partners and investors, including, universities, healthcare institutions, socially responsible corporate partners, and high net worth family investments, dedicated to creating impact.

Please join us in welcoming Matt to the Neighborhood Allies Team. For more information on the Centralized Real Estate Accelerator, Matt can be reached at

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA