2022 Ivory Prize Winner Announcement

VBC Team

5 min read




Three Initiatives Honored for Tackling Nation’s Housing Affordability Crisis

 May 20, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Today, Ivory Innovations announced the three winners of the Fourth Annual Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability for their efforts to tackle the nation’s housing affordability crisis. A total of $240,000 was awarded to Build UP, Volumetric Building Companies, and Blackstar Stability. The winners were selected from an exceptional group of ten finalists that represent a growing number of initiatives, policy solutions, and companies looking to make housing more affordable and attainable.

“The past two years have taken what was an already challenging issue of housing affordability and pushed it into a full-fledged crisis,” said Clark Ivory, CEO of Ivory Homes and founder of the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability. “It’s incredible to see the progress of many of those in the Ivory Innovations community and we’re excited to add a few more exceptional efforts to that group with Build UP, Volumetric Building Companies, and Blackstar Stability.” 

This year’s winners were recognized in a Livestream event hosted by Ivory Innovations and will be featured this fall at the Urban Institute for a joint event focused on solutions to our nation’s housing challenges.

Policy and Regulatory Reform


Build UP, the winner of this year’s Public Policy and Regulatory Reform category, redefines what affordable housing is by taking a long-game approach to rebuilding and owning from within a community. Build UP is the first group in Alabama to implement a curriculum designed by the Home Builders Institute, another Top 25 finalist. This model, at the intersection of high-quality education, workforce development, and community revitalization, results in dignified, affordable homeownership and retention of talent and wealth, both of which seed stable home and school experiences for generations to come.

“Communities across the country know a great deal about what’s not working in terms of stabilizing neighborhoods and combatting intergenerational poverty, but without a unified focus on disrupting the status quo in affordable housing, we’re unlikely to find, much less scale, dignified solutions,” said Mark Martin - Founder and CEO. “Build UP operates in two spaces, education and housing, that often can’t get out of their own way. We are grateful for Ivory Innovations for shining a light on our work and that of similar forward-thinking organizations across the country.”

Build UP offers a compelling model for finding a solution focused on solving the labor problem that our country currently faces. Build UP is among the most comprehensive solutions that Ivory Innovations has reviewed and has tremendous potential to scale across the country.

Learn more about Build Up’s efforts with this short video.



Blackstar Stability, the winner of this year’s Finance category, expands equitable ownership of affordable single-family homes by attacking predatory lending practices and restructuring alternative home financing products. It works with families who hold land contracts and similar forms of seller financing to refinance their homes with traditional mortgages, improve their properties, and reduce costs.

“Homeownership remains the keystone to wealth building for most American families. Yet the homeownership gap is wider than it has been in over 100 years and we are still confronting many of the same predatory lending practices that have persisted over that century,” said John Green, Managing Principal at Blackstar Stability “We need innovative solutions, and we’re excited that organizations like Ivory Innovations embrace this challenge. Expanding mortgage access to smaller balance borrowers to address this problem requires a new approach.”

Blackstar Stability has shed light on the issue of Contracts for Deeds and other alternative financing options that are not typically part of the conversation on housing affordability, but have systemic and lasting negative impacts on thousands of families. Blackstar Stability’s market-driven approach, which is already reaching scale, was extremely impressive to the Ivory Innovations team and advisory group.

Learn more about Blackstar Stability’s efforts with this short video.

Construction and Design


Volumetric Building Companies, this year’s winner in Construction and Design, is a vertically integrated global volumetric modular construction leader headquartered in Philadelphia, PA, with operations across the United States and Europe. The company focuses on building the future by providing high-quality, sustainably produced buildings in less time across varied market sectors utilizing its technology-enabled design and engineering model, precision-driven manufacturing capabilities, and project-proven modular construction expertise.

“The housing crisis is affecting many communities across the U.S. and the globe. From Affordable housing units for the vulnerable among us to middle-market housing, the lack of inventory is keeping many from attaining quality housing and the benefits of homeownership,” said Vaughan Buckley, Founder, and CEO at VBC. “We are honored to have been recognized for our work in this space by Ivory Innovations, recognize the amount of effort required to solve these looming problems, and acknowledge our readiness to help champion this massive task on a global platform.”

After several years of modular and offsite construction winners, Volumetric Building Companies demonstrates the growing maturity and impact of this innovative approach to construction and design. Volumetric Building Companies showcased the additive nature of a vertically integrated approach to what is currently a fragmented industry.

Learn more about Volumetric Building Companies’ efforts with this short video. 



Now in its fourth year, Ivory Innovations has now evaluated more than 600 innovative approaches to housing affordability in areas of construction and design, finance, and public policy and regulatory reform.

“We are committed to growing and supporting this ecosystem of problem solvers as much as possible,” said Abby Ivory, Director of Ivory Innovations. “This year’s class of applicants, finalists and winners show that the momentum behind solutions for housing affordability is building and expanding - and we’re excited to help them in every way possible.”

Over that period, eleven winners have been awarded more than $650,000 in prize money. In addition to financial support, Ivory Innovations connects its finalists and winners with leading practitioners, capital partners, student interns, and pro bono consulting or capacity-building services. Additionally, Ivory Innovations partners with the Terner Housing Lab to send a top entrant through their accelerator program.

 In addition to the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability, Ivory Innovations places students at the center of its efforts, through Hack-A-House – an annual entrepreneurial competition – as well as scholarships, a course on Innovations in Housing, and internships that allow students to be at the center of the Ivory Prize search.

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