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A partnership for affordable housing and community development has picked B'more for its launch. Former Saint, Panther, and Dolphin (and current saint) Reggie Howard tells us we owe that to Ray Lewis, who wanted this union of The United Athletes Foundation and Baker Tilly started before training camp. (The same way we want to get all banal conversation done before Monday Night Football.)
Ray Lewis, Carlos Guice, John Ridgeway, and Reggie Howard at Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Pratt Street, on July 23, 2012
At Monday night's launch party at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum on Pratt, here's Ray the Raven (vice chair of UAF, thankfully less menacing without all the face paint), Carlos Guice of Baker Tilly's affordable housing and community development team, Toyota Financial Services' John Ridgeway, and UAF co-founder and prez Reggie Howard. Reggie tells us Ray did his conditioning tests Monday morning, headed to the party, and then reported for Day One of training camp Tuesday morning.

Barbara Schaefer McDuffie, Rema Miller, SKAI, Reggie Howard, and Don Bernards at Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Pratt Street, on July 23, 2012
Baker Tilly DC biz dev head Barbara Schaefer McDuffie, UAF regional director Rema Miller, performer SKAI, Reggie, and Baker Tilly affordable housing head Don Bernards. Carlos and Don tell us Baker Tilly is a national partner, and the venture wants to provide financial literacy training and affordable housing. The starter markets: Baltimore, New Orleans, and Atlanta. Accounting firm Baker Tilly can certainly guide UAF in acquisitions, financing for renovations, and flexible financial instruments for the folks who will live in these homes (rental, for-sale, long-term rent-to-own), but another goal is to use its reach to bring in more corporate help.

Mike Ross at Reginald F. Lewis Museum, Pratt Street on July 23, 2012
First move: the acquisition of more than 200 single-family homes in New Orleans that will be refurbished and sold affordably. The deal should close within 60 days, something with which Baker Tilly New Markets Tax Credits leader Mike Ross can certainly help. Carlos and Don say the program likes cities that offer redevelopment funds and a lot of foreclosed stock. The partnership is in its early stages and the partners are working with the locals (municipalities, agencies, and nonprofits) to determine in which areas they can be most productive. Reggie, by the way, is sticking with last year's picks: Ravens over the Eagles in the Super Bowl, adding he'd like to see his buddy Ray get another ring before heading out. (And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called playing to your audience.)