Jeramey Jannene
Eyes on Milwaukee

$10 Million Fund Being Created To Back Hispanic Real Estate Developers

Announcement made at second annual Urbano real estate conference.

By - Sep 16th, 2021 04:37 pm
Debby Tomczyk, Ivan Gamboa, Moira Fitzgerald and Michael Emem speak at the 2021 Urbano conference. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Debby Tomczyk, Ivan Gamboa, Moira Fitzgerald and Michael Emem speak at the 2021 Urbano conference. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

The second annual Urbano real estate conference ended with a major announcement.

The Hispanic Collaborative is raising a $10 million fund to support Hispanic and Latino real estate developers.

Ivan Gamboa, conference planning chair, told Urban Milwaukee that the fund hopes to make its first investments in late 2022. It would provide supplemental investments to complete financing packages with an aim of making it easier to get Hispanic-led projects off the drawing board and into the ground.

Gamboa is intimately familiar with the need for capital to advance real estate development, he serves as senior vice president at Tri-City National Bank and board chair of the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.

The Urbano conference is focused on increasing the number of Hispanic real estate developers, investors, professionals and projects in the Milwaukee area. More than 100 people attended, hearing from national speakers and participating in breakout sessions with local leaders on career development topics.

Held at Marquette University‘s Alumni Memorial Union, breakout sessions included panel discussions on construction, brokerage and property management career paths, leveraging your personal network to grow your success, how to raise money for projects and a live recording of the Urban Spaceship program that discussed urban design on the South Side.

Full group presentations were given by Department of City Development Commissioner Lafayette Crump, Latino Donor Collaborative President Ana Valdez and Remine founder Leo Pareja. The event was sponsored by lead partner American Family Insurance with support from than a dozen other organizations.

Panelists and moderators included Gamboa, developer Michael Emem, lobbyist Moira Fitzgerald, entrepreneur Jeremy Fojut, attorney Debby Tomczyk, Marquette Center for Real Estate director Andrew Hunt, NAIOP Wisconsin head Jim Villa, CARW CEO Tracy Johnson, urban demographer Michael Bradley, developer Montavius Jones and Wangard president Matt Maroney.

The collaborative is a program hosted by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Association of Commerce aimed at improving Hispanic well being.

The event helped mark the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. A formal kickoff, that served as a post-event networking event, is being held Thursday evening at the Deer District beer garden.

“Latinos are driving significant growth and prosperity across the country and in Wisconsin. Our vision for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month programming is to highlight and showcase these contributions and honor the richness of our culture,” said Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee executive director Francesca Mayca Wegner in a statement. “We are thrilled to partner with the Hispanic Collaborative and numerous other community leaders to create new partnerships and organize a dynamic month of initiatives and events to honor Hispanic Heritage Month..”

A full calendar of Hispanic Heritage Month events is available at

“Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to honor our heritage and the significant impact Latinos have made in Milwaukee by hosting various educational opportunities, events and initiatives throughout the month,” said Hispanic Collaborative chairman and Marcus Theatres President & CEO Rolando Rodriguez.

The second annual Urbano conference had a decidedly different feel than the first, held March 10, 2020. The first conference, held on the last day before widespread pandemic-induced shutdowns began, had a nervous energy as attendees discussed what impact they thought COVID-19 might have. The second annual event featured both mask and vaccine requirements, but no sign of attendees shaking hands by tapping feet or singing a song in the bathroom to make sure they watched their hands for 20 seconds.

The importance of the Hispanic community to Milwaukee has grown tremendously in the past two decades. A 2016 UW-Milwaukee study found that without the growth of Milwaukee’s Hispanic community, the city would have lost over 100,000 residents since 1990.

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One thought on “Eyes on Milwaukee: $10 Million Fund Being Created To Back Hispanic Real Estate Developers”

  1. Mingus says:

    In Milwaukee, there hardly ever seems to be a major building development without some kind if TIF or outright government aide that go to several large white developers. There should be some mechanism to give minority developers the opportunity to access these types of funding so that they can become players in what seem to be a monopoly by a few developers with political connections.

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