Client Introduction Leads to $1M Sunflower Bank Investment in the Austin Community

At Sunflower Bank, we believe in Creating Possibility in our communities. We strive to align our business with the communities we serve and take actions to make a positive impact within them. So, when Donna Day, Sunflower Bank Regional Market President and 2023 Austin Business Journal “Women in Business” Honoree, was approached by one of her family office clients about investing in the Austin Housing Conservancy (“AHC”), it presented a perfect opportunity for Sunflower Bank to show its commitment to the city of Austin.

Relationships Drive Community Improvement

Our complete mission statement at Sunflower Bank is “Bringing out the best in the lives we touch … Creating Possibility.” With this statement, we affirm our commitment to align our business with our customers, communities, and employees in every community we serve. By being deeply involved in our communities, we build connections that make a difference. Our objective is always to make people’s lives better. 

An Austin-based commercial banking client of Sunflower Bank first made the introduction between Sunflower Bank and the Austin Housing Conservancy after recognizing our shared goal of investing to create a better Austin. The AHC has a five-year track record of impactful contributions to the Austin community focused on affordable housing development for the people who need and deserve it most. After reviewing the opportunity, it was clear the partnership was a perfect fit resulting in Sunflower Bank’s $1 million financial commitment. 

 When asked about Sunflower Bank’s decision to invest with the AHC, Donna shared the following:

“Affordability continues to present a primary challenge in Austin, specifically when it comes to places to live. Sunflower Bank and our team in the communities throughout greater Austin want to make an impact where it’s needed most and our $1 million commitment to the Austin Housing Conservancy is one of the ways we are doing that.”

Donna Day, Regional Market President

A Significant Cause and Substantial Impact

The Austin Housing Conservancy was established as a direct counter to an emerging crisis in Austin, TX: the lack of housing affordability for middle-income individuals and families. Among those affected are essential community support members such as educators, first responders, and hospitality employees. 

“Unless immediate action is taken to preserve affordable housing for middle-income families, Austin will suffer the same fate as San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and other major cities with unlivable rent and cost-of-living expenses. Core employees will be priced out of the city. Your children’s schools lose more teachers, your local ER loses more nurses and your company loses more employees.”

Source: AHC's website

As a fund created to invest long-term equity directly into the problem it has identified, the Austin Housing Conservancy presents a unique opportunity for many different types of investors including large foundations, family offices, and, of course, bank community reinvestment programs to receive single-digit financial returns while supporting positive environmental outcomes for the Austin working class. These investments support the purchase and preservation of multifamily properties with the objective being to maintain affordable rent for essential community support staff. 

This community investment has already begun to make an impact in Austin. Both Sunflower Bank and the Austin Housing Conservancy are excited to see this impact grow as future investments are received. Monica Medina, President of Affordable Central Texas, the sponsoring organization for the Austin Housing Conservancy, shared an update on the fund’s success:

“Since inception in 2018, the Austin Housing Conservancy has invested in 13 properties totaling almost 2,000 units at a value near $400 million.  AHC is preserving a housing inventory that is affordable for our essential workforce and providing a return to investors.  We have proven the model and are ready to scale.  Sunflower Bank’s investment helps us continue our expansion and deepen our impact.”

“Since inception in 2018, the Austin Housing Conservancy has invested in 13 properties totaling almost 2,000 units at a value near $400 million.  AHC is preserving a housing inventory that is affordable for our essential workforce and providing a return to investors.  We have proven the model and are ready to scale.  Sunflower Bank’s investment helps us continue our expansion and deepen our impact.”

Monica Medina, President of Affordable Central Texas

This efforts of this dedicated group of community leaders will make a historic difference in Austin. Sunflower Bank is excited to be a part of this change as we grow our partnerships with leading organizations and professionals, as well as real estate developers, small business owners, investors, nonprofits, government agencies and others dedicated to community investment opportunities.

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