History

At the forefront of innovation for over 20 years

HPN was founded in 1992 by a new breed of entrepreneurial nonprofit interested in creating a peer network from the affordable housing and community development sector. At the time, leaders of 37 public/private partnerships gathered in Boston to discuss their experiences about the work they were doing, sharing the conviction that entrepreneurial, large-scale nonprofits could best learn and grow by working together. Twenty-two years later, HPN is a collaborative of 100 of the leading housing and community development nonprofits in the country that combine social mission with private enterprise to address the most challenging problems facing our country.


HPN President and CEO Thomas Bledsoe with founder and former Chairman Bob Whittlesey

The key to HPN's success has been peer exchange and learning among the nation's foremost social entrepreneurs. They come together for interactive meetings and exchanges where they share best practices, develop ideas for innovative social enterprises, and advance a policy agenda that promotes the growth and impact of the sector. Our collaborative model allows top performing organizations to achieve the economic and mission benefits of national scale while maintaining their local identity and accountability.

In 1995, the Housing Partnership Network created its first joint enterprise to operate as a funding intermediary for our members' homeownership counseling programs. Since then, HPN has been accredited as a CDFI; established the Gulf Coast Housing Partnership in response to the crisis in the Gulf after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita; partnered with five other national nonprofits in 2008 to create the National Community Stabilization Trust to address the foreclosure epidemic; and in 2012, in partnership with 12 members, established the Housing Partnership Equity Trust, the first real estate investment trust owned and operated by nonprofits.

HPN and our members continue to receive local and national recognition for efforts to create affordable homes, stabilize neighborhoods, and strengthen communities. In 2013, HPN received the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions (MACEI) given to "exceptional organizations" that address the world's most pressing problems in creative ways. Also in 2013, HPN was awarded $2.5 million as part of the Wells Fargo NEXT Awards for Opportunity Finance for the expansion of the Housing Partnership Equity Trust.