About the Program

The OWN IT: Building Black Wealth program is a collaboration among Madison-area professionals in the real estate, banking, and financial industries. Our mission is to empower, educate, and guide Black and Brown families in building wealth through education and real estate homeownership.

In collaboration with our partners, we offer an education program that provides people of color with the knowledge and support to make homeownership a reality. And we’ve developed a down payment assistance program without many of the restrictions that can complicate home buying.

Community Collaboration

Our team formed around a common goal: to empower, educate, and guide communities of color towards homeownership, wealth, and financial freedom. We acknowledge the systemic racism embedded within the financial systems, practices, and policies related to real estate. We are committed to exposing and eradicating these barriers, and educating the public about the importance of reversing the enduring impacts of racial discrimination in Madison.

Advisory Team

The OWN IT Advisory Team leads the direction of the program and has contributed greatly to the development of the education program and establishment of the down payment program.

  • Sara Alvarado, Alvarado Real Estate Group
  • Tiffany Malone, Alvarado Real Estate Group
  • Jeff Mack, Park Bank
  • Grace Trewartha, Live Beneath Your Means, Financial Education and Advocacy
  • Saran Ouk, Founder and CEO of ConNEXTions
  • Justice Castañeda, Common Wealth Development
  • Kingsley Gobourne, Artemis Provisions and Cheese, UnityPoint Health
  • Ally Figiel, Realty Executives
  • Sara Whitley, Old National Mortgage
  • Carousel Bayrd, Attorney, Community Justice
  • Gail Wiseman, VP of External Relations at One City Schools
  • Darin Harris, Living Giving Enterprises
  • Heather Kapp, social justice advocate
  • Robert Beets, Prime Root



Working Groups

Working groups their team leads and coordinators oversee the development and execution of the different programs, projects, and operational components that make OWN IT successful.

Education Team

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Grace Trewartha
Education Lead

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Kelli Betsinger
Education Coordinator

Realtor Team

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Ally Figiel
Realtor Lead

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Realtor Coordinator

Fundraising Team

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Sara Alvarado
Fundraising Lead

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Fundraising Coordinator


Through the initial startup and pilot phases of the program, we have relied almost entirely on a volunteer workforce. We are extremely grateful for the generous contributions of time and expertise from course instructors, staff from our partner organizations, Advisory Team members, working group contributors, and all our passionate volunteers from the Greater Madison area.

If you are interested in contributing to the success of our program, please consider one of the following opportunities listed below or contact us to discuss others ideas.