Darryl Scipio is a man of many talents.
He’s been deeply involved in community and political activism since his college days, taking on leadership of the Black Law Students, earning a fellowship to attend the Eagleton Institute of Politics for a year, and working in the Community Law Clinic. After graduating law school, Darryl joined the ACLU of New Jersey, running the Racial Justice Program there. And he spent the next few years working in the labor movement with Local 32BJ Service Employees International Union.
Justice runs deep with Darryl.
And now he’s applying that passion to a real estate project he’s embarking on called Savers Village. He aims to help every tenant save enough for a down payment on a home, to turn renters into homeowners and start building generational wealth. And he listed the investment opportunity on Small Change because he believes that crowdfunding really levels the playing field for investors.
Insights and Inspirations
- While Darryl’s interests are diverse, there is a common thread that binds them. He was brought up to help others and he’s passing that on.
- Darryl believes that culturally, philanthropy is outdated. Philanthropists tend to give to tried, tested and big organizations. He views crowdfunding as having enormous potential for igniting new ideas.
- What’s Darryl’s big hairy audacious goal? He wants to build 60 Savers Villages over the next few years.
Information and Links
- Darryl is proudest of his wife starting a company that makes beard oil for men. He uses it and loves it. It’s at www.ancestralelement.com.
- And then there is his nonprofit chess mentorship program. It has two sites www.newarkchessclub.com and www.successwithchess.com. They’ve taught over 5,000 children how to play chess, and given tens of thousands of dollars to chess tournament winners in scholarships during the last decade.
- He also wants to put a spotlight on Meshele Hardy – she has a podcast called Progress on Purpose and its full of great tips on making it! She also owns a clothing company called Sew Naturally Talented, and she makes each piece by hand. AND she is a high school biology teacher. Just all around amazing! And also his sister :-).
Read the podcast transcript here
Eve Picker: [00:00:19] Hi there. Thanks so much for joining me today for the latest episode of Impact Real Estate Investing. Daryl Scipio is a man of many talents. He’s been deeply involved in community and political activism since his college days, taking on leadership of the Black law students, earning a fellowship to attend the Eagleton Institute of Politics for a year and working in the Community Law Clinic. After graduating law school, Daryl joined the ACLU of New Jersey, running the racial justice program there, and he spent the next few years working in the labor movement with Local 32 BJ Service Employees International Union. Justice runs deep with Daryl. And now he’s applying that passion to a real estate project he’s embarking on called Savers Village. He aims to help every tenant save enough for a down payment on a home. You’ll want to hear more. Be sure to go to Evepicker.com to find out more about Daryl on the show notes page for this episode. And be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can access information about impact real estate investing and get the latest news about the exciting projects on my crowdfunding platform, Small Change.
Eve: [00:01:51] Hello, Daryl, thanks so much for joining me.
Daryl Scipio: [00:01:54] Hi, Eve, it’s my pleasure. Absolutely.
Eve: [00:01:57] So you’ve led an incredibly rich and varied life, as far as I can see. Dual degrees in political science and Africana studies, .com jobs, entrepreneur, political fellowships, launching a chess mentorship program, racial justice work at the ACLU. And as a lawyer and I’m wondering how and why all of this and what really drives you.
Daryl: [00:02:24] Thanks for the question and thanks for having me today.
Eve: [00:02:27] Yeah, it’s a pleasure.
Daryl: [00:02:28] It’s a real pleasure and an honor to be here. I have always had varied interests, and if something looks interesting to me, I would say to myself, I want to try that. I want to learn more about that. I’d like to see what that’s about. Sometimes it’s worked and I’ve had great success. Sometimes it hasn’t and I’ve been like, get me out of here. But, you know, I’ve really tried to take life by the horns and live it to the fullest and have as many experiences as I possibly can while I’m here. So I think one of the threads, the common threads between everything that I’ve participated in or most of the things that I’ve participated in is a desire to help others and a desire to take the resources that I’ve been blessed with having access to and using the knowledge or the connections that I’ve gained to help people that don’t have access to that resource.
Eve: [00:03:37] Yeah, I think I see a fairly solid strain of racial justice in your work as well. Is that correct?
Daryl: [00:03:45] That is correct. It’s because I’ve always been impacted by race in America. And so I just thought that the right thing to do was to to fight for racial justice in one way or another. Racial justice has always been and race has been a central factor in my life. As a Black man in America and as someone that has grown up with mentors and adults that are important to me, that have given themselves to me and their time and their expertise and their mentorship. And the only thing that they’ve said to me was, now, when it’s your turn, give it back to someone else and you know, there’s been in this country, a lot more racial unrest that I’ve seen since, you know, in the past decade or so. And it is something that has placed itself into my life because of who I’ve been around and who I’ve been influenced by. When you see some sort of injustice, I was taught that you address it. Because we’re all, I believe that we’re all here to make this world a better place and the way you do that and when it comes to racial injustice, it’s to create racial justice.
Eve: [00:05:24] Yeah, I have to say, I feel a little more hopeful after meeting people like you and the project that you’ve embarked on, which which I’d really love to talk about next. It’s a real estate project in Newark, New Jersey, and I know it has a social mission, but let’s talk about the structure first. So after all these other things that you’ve done, you’re now turning your attention to real estate and you’re planning to build a rather large building. You want to just tell us a little bit about the building itself?
Daryl: [00:05:53] Yes, the building will be on a plot of land that’s about twenty six thousand square feet, a little over half an acre. We plan to build 39 units in an apartment building. And we’ll have three bedroom units, two bedroom units and one bedroom units, and I’m not exactly sure about the breakdown. It’ll probably be 15 one and two bedroom units and nine three bedroom units.
Eve: [00:06:27] Right. Do you have a timeline for construction? Where are you in the in the process?
Daryl: [00:06:34] We are currently in the process of acquiring the land and getting city approvals, we’re anticipating that takes about six months, and then we will spend 18 months on construction, so we hope to open our doors at the end of 2022. Worst case scenario, beginning of 2023.
Eve: [00:06:59] And who are your partners in this?
Daryl: [00:07:01] I’ve partnered with a developer named Patrick Turborg. I’ve partnered with real estate professionals Frank Robinson, Stephen Aravilo. And my architect is Mark Best. My engineer is Brian Grant. And these are folks, honestly that have a lot more experience than I do. So it was important that my team knows more than I do about their about their specific areas of expertise.
Eve: [00:07:37] And if I’m correct, it’s largely a Black team as well. A team of Black professionals, is that correct?
Daryl: [00:07:43] That is correct. One of the goals that I seek to make a reality is that not only do we help empower the residents of Newark, that and the members of Savers Village, but also the people that are building and developing and raising capital. And we want to help empower folks that look like me so that, you know, we can start to pass down that institutional knowledge to our children and they can do it with their children. And the only way to do that is through having the experiences.
Eve: [00:08:17] So you mentioned the name of the project, Savers Village, which is a really interesting name. And I know there’s a bigger social mission behind this project. And what challenge are you trying to solve with these thirty nine units?
Daryl: [00:08:32] We are working to turn renters into homeowners with this project. Newark, New Jersey, where the project is located, has a population that has seventy five percent of the people that live there as renters, they rent from other folks and that’s that’s huge. As you can imagine. So there’s a big push to turn those folks into homeowners. And the city of Newark supports this initiative because part of that big push to turn renters into homeowners comes from the city and from the mayor and his administration to start to create and build wealth for Black folks in America. Most of our wealth has come through homeownership and land ownership. So during the mortgage crisis of 2008, 40 percent of the Black wealth in America was wiped away.
Eve: [00:09:29] Interesting.
Daryl: [00:09:29] And when all those subprime mortgages defaulted and all those banks went out of business. So, you know, there’s a social component of trying to help turn renters into homeowners, but then also try to help folks understand what it means to build generational wealth and start to save and start to create systems to support people that are going to be here long after you’re gone.
Eve: [00:09:56] So in addition to the building, you’re building some systems. What are those? How you planning to turn renters into homeowners?
Daryl: [00:10:04] Our plan consists of taking 10 percent of someone’s rent and putting it into an account for them and save that money and invest portions of it so that after a certain amount of time, let’s say anywhere from three to five years, and they can take that money and use it for a down payment on a new home and to cover any closing costs that may come up.
Eve: [00:10:35] Are you going to do this for all renters in the building? Do they have to commit to that?
Daryl: [00:10:41] Our goal is to do it for all renters. And yes, we want them to commit to that. If they change their minds midway, through living there, then there’s nothing that we can do to stop them and that money is their’s, they’ll get that if they say, hey, you know what, I’m moving out and I’m going to Bali and I’m taking my money with me. Then we’ll say, hey, here’s your money, have a great time in Bali, sent us a postcard.
Eve: [00:11:09] And they might buy a shack there, you know.
Daryl: [00:11:11] That’s right. Yeah. I mean, with the amount of money that they’re going to save with us, they can buy a lot more than a shack in Bali.
Eve: [00:11:19] Yeah, probably. Yeah.
Daryl: [00:11:21] They can do really well down there. It’s voluntary. But, you know, we’re looking for renters that are committed to home ownership and starting to build generational wealth through home and land ownership, saving and investing. Part of what we’re going to offer to the tenants is financial literacy, credit repair and first time home buying education.
Eve: [00:11:43] And how are you going to do that?
Daryl: [00:11:45] We’re going to partner with local non-profits that offer those services and make sure that they offer it to our tenants and, you know, it can be in person or over Zoom, but our tenants will have to commit to taking those steps towards achieving that goal through the education.
Eve: [00:12:03] And so how are you going to vet and prioritize tenants who come to you? Like people looking for somewhere to live.
Daryl: [00:12:10] Mainly through our application process. We’re going to do a deep dive into who the tenant is and really kind of understand what their goals are and see if there’s a fit between the tenant and our project and find people that meet that criteria and let them know that, you know, this is a long term project, but will have long term consequences as well.
Eve: [00:12:36] Do you think there’s an ideal person? Is there an avatar of a tenant that you’d like to see move into this project?
Daryl: [00:12:43] To be honest, I would say, you know, when I think about who would be the ideal person, it was it would really just be someone that wants to be a homeowner, someone that has tried to save for home ownership, but has been unsuccessful and is really committed to moving from renting to home ownership. There’s two things that you generally need for home ownership. And the first thing is a good credit score. So someone that’s committed to keeping a credit score above 700, ideally. And then the second thing is, you know, someone that has constant income, if you have constant income and if you have a good credit score, then you can give a mortgage to a bank and get a loan for a home. So folks that are committed to those things are ideal tenants.
Eve: [00:13:34] Are there any local banks that are interested in partnering with you? I wonder about redlining as well. And, you know, if it’s going to be more difficult for some tenants than others.
Daryl: [00:13:45] There are some local banks that are interested. Investor’s Bank has shown some interest in working with us. There’s a community development, financial institution in Newark called Invest Newark that’s interested in working with us. And New Jersey Community Capital, a nonprofit lender and developer, is interested in partnering with us on this project.
Eve: [00:14:11] That sounds really great. So you’ve also listed the project on Small Change, and I’m wondering why crowdfunding and what you hope to get out of raising funds for the project through our real estate platform.
Daryl: [00:14:26] Sure, it’s been a real blessing to have the opportunity to list the project on a platform like Small Change. I’m a huge fan of crowdfunding. As someone that comes from the non-profit world I run a 501(c)(3) chess mentorship program and I think that crowdfunding is an awesome way to get donations and to raise money. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the philanthropic world, but there’s a way to do things that are outdated.
Eve: [00:14:55] Oh, yeah, I’m very I’m very familiar.
Daryl: [00:14:57] Yeah, there’s a culture of philanthropy that says, all right, we’re going to choose you and we’re going to give you everything. And and even though this other group might have a great program, we’re not going to give them anything because they don’t come to us. We don’t know them. And so I think crowdfunding really levels the playing field when it comes to investing in real estate. And it gives folks that otherwise would not have the opportunity to invest in a project that’s worth millions of dollars, it gives them a chance to invest in a project for as little as a thousand dollars or as little as five hundred in some instances. I really like crowdfunding for that. It allows you to market your project while you’re fundraising for it as well.
Eve: [00:15:45] Yes. And that brings me to another point. You talked about building generational wealth, and I’m wondering how you think this might take hold in in Newark. If it’s possible to get the word out there so that people might invest in a project at their own doorstep.
Daryl: [00:16:05] I think people will invest. I’ve been sharing it on my social media and I’ve been getting a great response and I think when we launched in late December, it was a very busy time in most people’s lives. And now that we’re out of the holiday season, then, you know, I do believe that it will start to come to the forefront in most people’s minds. And I’ll make sure to get it to the forefront of most people’s investment through sharing it with my friends and family that are here locally and through my social media channels.
Eve: [00:16:43] Yeah, I mean, investing is yet another step in figuring out how to build wealth, and it’s not an easy one so it requires some education.
Daryl: [00:16:52] Education and patience and largely trust.
Eve: [00:16:55] Yes.
Daryl: [00:16:56] There’s a relationship that my community has had with the government, with banking, with insurance, where we place our trust in these institutions. And we would be treated differently than other folks that don’t look like us. You know, Black Americans are being treated differently than white Americans historically. And it’s not just in the private sector. It’s been in the public sector as well.
Eve: [00:17:20] Yes.
Daryl: [00:17:20] And so there’s a distrust there when it comes to investing and not just in real estate. Investing in the stock market, as well is another area where there’s some distrust amongst the Black community. We have to do our part to overcome that, to change that.
Eve: [00:17:36] I think that’s why I love real estate, because it’s so tangible, it’s so visible. It’s right in the middle of your community. And I don’t know, maybe it’s easier to trust that.
Daryl: [00:17:48] I think it is. I think it is.
Eve: [00:17:50] So this is one building. What’s your big, hairy, audacious goal?
[00:17:55] My big, hairy, audacious goal is to do 60 of these within the next few years with Newark being the first one and starting to build Savers Villages in Detroit and Houston and Camden and in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh and places all over the country where folks are facing the same challenges that Newark residents face with regard to moving from renting to home owning.
Eve: [00:18:27] 60 of them. Have you scoped out any of the next ones?
Daryl: [00:18:32] We we we started to look at a site in Philadelphia that may be ideal for this. But outside of that, no, we’re pretty laser focused on Newark at the moment and just getting this one done. Yeah.
Eve: [00:18:49] Well, Darryl, I can’t wait to see how this goes. I can’t wait to see when it’s built and I can’t wait to see the first tenants become homeowners. I think that’s an amazing goal. And I really appreciate you sharing this with us.
Daryl: [00:19:03] Thank you very much. I appreciate you joining us on this journey and supporting this initiative, with Small Change, so thank you.
Eve: [00:19:28] That was Daryl Scipio. He’s led an incredibly rich and varied life. Degrees in political science, Africana studies and law, .com jobs, entrepreneur, political fellowships, launching a chess mentorship program, racial justice work at the ACLU and more. The common thread has always been social and racial justice. Now Daryl is turning his attention to his next endeavor, Savers Village, where he plans to help renters become homeowners and to build generational wealth. And he’s listed the investment opportunity on Small Change because he believes that crowdfunding really levels the playing field for investors. You can find out more about impact real estate investing and access the show notes for today’s episode at my website, Evepicker.com. While you’re there, sign up for my newsletter to find out more about how to make money in real estate while building better cities. Thank you so much for spending your time with me today. And thank you, Daryl, for sharing your thoughts. We’ll talk again soon. But for now, this is Eve Picker signing off to go make some change.
Image courtesy of Daryl Scipio