If you drive to the top of Underwood Avenue in the Boston-Thurmond neighborhood, you’ll find renovated homes that demonstrate what’s possible when dedicated community members come together to make a difference.
Founded in 2020 and known for its dynamic construction training program, The Do School is working to build economic mobility in more ways than one.
“We bring together men and women from underserved communities into a live learning environment with training in the construction trades,” said founder and executive director Jerry Anderson. “The process begins with the purchase of a house that needs repair and has depressed property values. The house becomes a platform for training our cohorts about all the aspects of the home renovation process. Once complete, we make that property available to purchase, and proceeds from the sale fund future renovations.
A Mission-Aligned Investment from the Foundation helped The Do School secure a loan from Piedmont Federal Savings Bank to purchase its first property in 2021.
An Inclusive Economy Grant from the Black Philanthropy Initiative helped the organization pay sustainable wages to its first cohort of apprentices, and an Inclusive Economy Grant from the Foundation made it possible for them to hire a site supervisor to manage what can often be a complicated jobsite with many moving parts.
“We’re transforming lives, properties, and communities—and when I say that, I truly feel it ,” said operations manager Willette Mosby Reynolds. “This program is helping individuals who are looking for ways to improve their lives, and it’s transforming a distressed property from what was an eyesore into a beautiful new home.”