Crowdfunding Downtown

Originally published on as part of the Housing project

George Kafka Can you explain the genesis of FICA and, in simple terms, how the model works?

Renato Cymbalista (FICA) Around four years ago some people who were like me—white and middle-class—started to discuss and figure out what could be done to effectively address gentrification in São Paulo. We knew the answer had to do with real estate and it had to do with money. We formed a non-profit association which would essentially act as a crowd-sourced fund or purse. With that fund, we buy property in downtown São Paulo and we rent it at non-speculative prices. People support us on a monthly basis or one-off donations. It’s a long-term project. When it started, we thought we would be buying our first apartment in five years’ time, but it went quicker than we thought. In the beginning, a couple of the founders of the association donated us an apartment. Our official name is Community Property Association, but we thought we would need a sexier name so we invented FICA: Fundo Imobiliário Comunitário para Aluguel (Community Real Estate Fund for Rental)…

Originally published on as part of the Housing project

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