Mr. James has joined an expanding national movement that mixes community needs into the formula for socially responsible projects.
I Promise Housing is a 22-unit apartment building that provides temporary housing at no cost to families in crisis. It opened in July and includes space for social services and community events. Graduate Hotels, a Nashville-based hotel brand, spent $850,000 in 2019 to buy the 98-year-old, four-story brick building. Ben Weprin, the company’s chief executive, then went to work with his staff to recruit suppliers and contractors to donate materials and labor to complete a total renovation and furnish the apartments.
The parent company of Graduate Hotels, AJ Capital Partners, donated the finished project to the foundation. After it opened, the foundation, which has nearly $5 million in assets, spent $52,500 to buy a house across the street. It is being renovated for use by Shannon Shippe, the foundation staff member who manages the housing and services program.