(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

Microsoft reveals project criteria for $500 million affordable housing funds

The company will soon accept applications for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside.

A Microsoft official met with local business owners on Wednesday and outlined the tech giant’s plans and criteria for projects related to the $500 million affordable housing commitment it has put out in an attempt to curb the homelessness crisis.

Microsoft will open applications for funding next week for projects related to affordable housing on the Eastside that meet a criteria detailed at a Bellevue Downtown Association (BDA) breakfast on May 29. Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, gave some of the first details about how specifically the company will disperse the funding it announced in January.

Broom specified that Bellevue projects must have at least 100 units; dedicate at least 40 percent of the units dedicated to middle-income families or 80 percent of the units to low-income families; the projects must be within a 60-minute commute of Bellevue during peak traffic hours; and developers must commit to maintaining affordable prices long-term, at least 10 years.

Projects will also be considered based on diversity within the housing and the surrounding area along with what amenities are included.

“Ideally, [the projects] will have daycare on the ground level or some form of health care,” Broom said. “We want to build a walkable place people want to live at.”

The information was clarified during a panel discussion at the BDA breakfast with Broom, Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, and former Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle and detailed the affordable housing crisis earlier that morning.

The $500 million commitment will fund projects that create and preserve affordable housing in the Puget Sound region in an attempt to curb the housing crisis. The funds are split to provide about $225 million to subsidize middle income housing in Bellevue, Kirkland, Redmond, Issaquah, Renton and Sammamish while another $250 million will go toward low-income housing across King County.

Despite the immediate goal of improving affordable housing options throughout the region, Microsoft’s primary goal aims to eliminate some of the risk around affordable housing projects while creating a precedent for future investors to follow.

“Our biggest goal will be, can we create replicable products that other investors can use [to] make a little bit of money? We can get the markets to work a little better [and] essentially take away some of that risk of investing.” Broom said. “That is ultimately what our goal is with this portfolio.”

Broom, Davis and Gregoire highlighted that while Microsoft makes this effort to solve part of the affordable housing crisis, local business owners can also look at how to invest in the problem.

“There is something everybody can contribute to this work, the thing we’re looking for is creativity,” Broom said. “So that means nonprofit sitting at table with for profit and seeing how they can improve [and] work together to provide funding and tools that will incentivize and provide comfort to people looking to make a change.”

“It doesn’t have to be $500 million,” Davis added. “Think through what it is you individually can contribute proportionally.”

“Failure is not an option,” Gregoire concluded. “We have got to come together and embrace bold new kinds of ideas, take risks and succeed where everyone else has failed.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak stands as former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, thanked local officials for their effort to work with Microsoft in curbing the affordable housing crisis. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

Bellevue Mayor John Chelminiak stands as former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, thanked local officials for their effort to work with Microsoft in curbing the affordable housing crisis. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

(Left to right) Jane Broom, Microsoft Philanthropies senior director, former Washongton Gov. Christine Gregoire, who now serves as CEO of Challenge Seattle, and Charlie Davis, partner and managing director at the Boston Consulting Group, speak on Microsoft’s $500 million commitment to affordable housing at a panel discussion during a Bellevue Downtown Association breakfast. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

More in Business

Snoqualmie Casino. Courtesy photo
Kirkland-based company sues to challenge ‘tribal gaming monopoly’ in Washington

Company called the state’s policy an “erroneous application of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act.”

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
The forces behind our current COVID-induced inflation | Guest column

Recent inflation numbers have been quite high and at levels not seen… Continue reading

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
The ‘year end’ elements of financial planning | Guest column

With the end of the year fast approaching, we remind clients that… Continue reading

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
How financial planners address plan uncertainty | Guest column

One of the key challenges we face as financial planners is dealing… Continue reading

Mixologist and general manager of Civility & Unrest, Joe Dietrich (photo by Cameron Sheppard)
If you want a regular cocktail, go somewhere else

Master mixologist Joe Dietrich is elevating cocktail culture at Bellevue’s Civility & Unrest.

Robert Toomey, CFA/CFP, is Vice President of Research for S. R. Schill & Associates on Mercer Island.
Is cryptocurrency really an investment? | Guest column

Undoubtedly you have heard about the new form of money known as… Continue reading

Front bar at Bellevue’s Civility & Unrest (courtesy of Civility & Unrest)
Two of James Beard Award-winning chef Jason Wilson’s restaurants to reopen in October

The Lakehouse plans to reopen Oct. 12 and Civility & Unrest reopens Oct. 14.

Stock photo
Grocery store workers have right to wear Black Lives Matter buttons

National Labor Relations Board ruling against ban by Kroger-owned QFC, Fred Meyer

Big Island Poke in Renton (courtesy of The Intentionalist Facebook page)
Small-business advocacy group wants you to try minority-owned businesses and put it on their tab

The Intentionalist is opening up $400 tabs for folks to use this weekend at select businesses.

Eastside King County restaurant owners discuss challenges with U.S. Rep Suzan DelBene at Pomegranate Bistro in Redmond. (Photo credit: Cameron Sheppard/Sound Publishing)
Restaurant owners discuss labor difficulties with U.S Rep. Suzan DelBene

Experienced service and kitchen staff are reportedly hard to hire as food service reopens.

Dave and Buster's restaurant and entertainment venue looks to hire 130 people to staff its Bellevue venue, set to open in August. Photo courtesy Dave and Busters.
Dave and Buster’s hiring 130 for August opening in Bellevue

Dave and Buster’s restaurant and entertainment venue opens in downtown Bellevue on… Continue reading

Images of dishes from Issaquah’s Umi Cafe posted on the SMORS page. (Photo courtesy of Kristen Ho)
Facebook page promotes minority-owned restaurants across Puget Sound region

Miya Nazzaro used to be a member of Facebook pages that were… Continue reading