So what can companies like ACORE do to move that needle for you, to break down that barrier?
Putting people in spaces together so everyone can share notes is always valuable. Through the Accelerate program, weve had a possibility to speak directly with lenders and tax credit syndicators which is spectacular. If there are national corporations that can support our work that can likewise be a huge offer. Were presently dealing with a partnership with Lowes, which is donating about $1,000,000 worth of products to support our jobs. Normalizing direct exposure, standing next to us and stating “these communities deserve investment”– you cant put a value on that
How can possible partners work with you?
We are likewise constantly ready to host individuals if they desire to see some of the sustainable technology we are putting in these communities. We host individuals when a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in neighborhoods that historically have not had gain access to. Im always tough top executives to put their name and face on these efforts because I think that has real worth
How was your Accelerate subscription benefited you?
Its been great simply to satisfy the other Accelerate member companies. I found out a lot from having discussions with them in real-time, and discovering about people with absolutely various perspectives. I love the networking.
I think we are doing the very best we can do in the COVID environment. Just understanding that it exists, which ACORE is so intentional about the program, makes a big difference.
Show us a current success story.
We recently joined Mayor Lightfoot for a press conference to announce that we will be constructing a $30 million, entirely budget friendly and totally sustainable development, in collaboration with the City of Chicago. We are constructing 50 domestic units, a coffee store, a business center, all on the South Side of Chicago, which will broaden solar-powered use in the city
What effect are you making?
When people learn who is behind our company, I believe there is always a shock. Even in our own neighborhoods, individuals just cant think it. To me, thats pretty gratifying. People seeing whos behind 548 Capital matters.
The other thing that I think is essential is we have a financial effect that resonates with individuals, and its a quite effective message. That amount of money impacts the spending plan of everyday households
What difficulties do you deal with? Why?
You cant avoid the grind. Let me acknowledge that beginning an organization, any business, was going to be difficult. With that stated, access to capital is ungodly difficult. When I go to banks and state that were developing sustainable real estate in low- and moderate-income communities, they take a look at me like Ive spoken the wrong language. These neighborhoods are still being red-lined. Some banks dont desire to invest; they dont wish to partner; they dont want to do their share. It is a battle of generational size that Im attempting to combat here, and weve made extremely small, incremental progress. I think the lesson is that union building is very important. My voice just implies a lot, but the more I can bring good friends to the table and enhance that voice, the more we can raise attention to the need
By Constance ThompsonAugust 31, 2021
Picture courtesy of Pat Nabong/Sun-Times
The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) is delighted to share the third installment in our “Accelerating Renewables” blog site series.
Each installation includes market leaders and subjects associated with accelerating an equitable and simply transition to a renewable energy economy. In recognition of National Black Business Month, our August features highlight how three Black-owned Accelerate member business are growing in the sustainable energy sector.
Robert “A.J.” Patton is a finance, sales, and capital markets specialist with more than a years of experience in financial investment banking, endowment management, and realty analysis. In May 2016, A.J. founded 548 Capital, LLC, to integrate his expertise and performance history of creating constant returns with a personal enthusiasm for helping transform communities and their effect on the world. In 2019, Patton was named a recipient of the Energy News 40 Under 40 award– highlighting his effect on Americas transition to a clean economy.
CHECKED OUT MORE: Up-and-Comer Developer Makes Headway without the Banks ( Chicago Sun-Times, August 27, 2021).
What inspired you to start your business?
I had 2 turning points that made me jump. In 1999, my mother received a $400 gas costs, and she was just making ten bucks an hour, so we could not afford the gas expense. And so, sadly, we had our gas and heat shut down. For around a year in my teens, we had to boil water and carry it as much as a porcelain tub to take a bath. Those were uniquely bumpy rides, and experiences like that just stick with you. I do not care what happens the rest of your profession or what your lifestyle is moving forward; those moments are with you forever. As I talk about that with different groups around the nation, it has ended up being clear that my experience is not an anomaly. A lot of people have comparable anecdotes, and thats not an advantage
They looked confused that I would even attempt ask about the everyday people. I believe I turned in my resignation within 6 months of that discussion, and I began my business. I called it 548 Capital since that is the unit number in the public real estate where I grew up.
Inform us about your company? (objective, partners, areas you run in, primary consumers, and so on).
The vision of 548 Capital is to make sustainable technologies accessible for all: all neighborhoods, all households, everyone ought to have gain access to. Someone, some entity, has to serve as the bridge so that those technologies reach everyone.
I think there is constantly a shock when individuals discover who is behind our business. Even in our own neighborhoods, people just cant believe it. Putting individuals in rooms together so everyone can share notes is constantly important. We are also always willing to host individuals if they want to see some of the sustainable innovation we are putting in these communities. We host individuals once a week at our structure so they can see the innovation that were applying in communities that historically have not had access.