In Housing Affordability

The Ivory Prize is an annual award recognizing ambitious, feasible, and scalable solutions to housing affordability.  The Prize is designed to award innovators for their efforts and provide material support to advance their projects.  The search committee looks for solutions which combine elements of finance, policy, and design/construction.

The Timeline

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From the advisory board

“Over the last few years, the number of new housing starts has not kept pace with the number of new household formations. In round numbers, since 2010, only 7 new housing units have been built for every 10 households formed. This has contributed to a shortage of housing and has clearly added to the challenge of housing affordability. The Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability will help identify some of the work which is underway around the country to help provide an affordable pathway to homeownership or reduce rents, and to publicize these efforts so they can be shared and adopted by others.”

-Kent Colton: President, Colton Housing Group, Senior Fellow Harvard University.

“Community leaders and policy experts widely recognize the impact of housing on our nation’s economy and individual lives of each American. What is less recognized is the important – and at times overlapping – roles the public and private sectors play together in meeting housing needs. I value the Ivory Prize for Housing Affordability for this very reason. We need affordable housing solutions from both private businesses and the public square. I’m excited to see innovative ideas in public policy, construction, design and finance that will make an oversized impact on this oversized problem.

- Natalie Gochnour: Director, Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute



Prize money is given annually to both individuals developing projects and the startups they are building. Additional support is provided to the most promising applicants by leveraging the Ivory Innovations extensive network of professionals.  From  access to local government connections in many of the nations metropolitan areas to housing industry and venture capital professionals in-kind support is meant to pilot ideas and place them on the path to sustained growth. 


+in-kind support

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Areas of Focus




The last great innovation in housing finance was the modern 30-year mortgage which emerged in 1957. New tools are needed as the next generation of homeowners faces a unique set of constraints. These constraints range from higher personal/student debt and a growing number of careers with regular job changes to a longer timeline for family formation, and rapid urbanization. The Ivory Prize recognizes that new financial contracts must be negotiated to provide this generation the same opportunity to build wealth through home-ownership

Construction & Design

Innovative construction and design play a critical role in bringing down the cost of housing and improving building performance. The Ivory Prize award will focus on approaches for both new construction and rehabilitation. Participants may advocate the new materials or practices which provide improved efficiency in home building or use. Areas of interest include material production and use sustainability, income generating opportunities such as power generation or mixed-use spaces, and the potential of emerging smart devices and use of data. 



From local building codes and zoning laws to federal materials and appliance standards, the housing space is subject to more regulatory oversight and intervention than virtually any other industry, placing a unique burden on innovators in the housing space. The Ivory Prize recognizes teams which demonstrate competency in using policy to their advantage with a particular focus on supporting new, scalable, approaches to improve housing policy. 


Advisory Board



Clark d. Ivory

Clark Ivory has been the Chief Executive Officer of Ivory Homes in Salt Lake City, Utah since 2000. In 2006, Clark formed Ivory Commercial, one of Utah’s largest apartment builders and property management companies. Clark served as director of the Salt Lake City branch of the Federal Reserve Bank from 2006 to 2011.  Clark is currently co-chairman of the Real Estate Advisory Board to the David Eccles School of Business and serves on the Advisory Board for the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute.


Carol Galante

Carol Galante is the I. Donald Terner Distinguished Professor in Affordable Housing and Urban Policy and the Faculty Director of the Terner Center for Housing Innovation. Galante served in the Obama Administration for over five years as the Assistant Secretary for Housing/Federal Housing Commissioner at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Multifamily Housing programs.


Chris Herbert

Christopher Herbert is Managing Director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. Dr. Herbert has extensive experience conducting research related to housing policy and urban development, both in the U.S. and abroad. Dr. Herbert is co-editor of “Homeownership Built to Last: Balancing Access, Affordability, and Risk After the Housing Crisis” (Brookings Institution Press, 2014). His research focuses on financial dimensions of homeownership.


Laurie Goodman

Laurie Goodman is vice president of housing policy and co-directs the Housing Finance Policy Center at the Urban Institute. The center provides policymakers with data-driven analyses of housing finance policy issues that they can depend on for relevance, accuracy, and independence. Before joining Urban, Goodman spent 30 years as an analyst and research department manager at several Wall Street firms. Goodman was inducted into the Fixed Income Analysts Hall of Fame in 2009.



Natalie Gochnour serves as an associate dean in the David Eccles School of Business and director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah. She also serves as the chief economist for the Salt Lake Chamber. Gochnour’s experience includes a diverse mix of public service and business experience. From 2006 to 2013 she guided the public policy work of the Salt Lake Chamber. Gochnour has also advised three Utah governors. 



Kent W. Colton is the President of the Colton Housing Group and a Senior Fellow in Housing Studies at the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. Colton has more than 30 years of experience as a housing scholar and expert in the field of housing finance and housing policy. He has distinguished himself in the housing field -- in academic research and housing advocacy, in designing public policy and supporting private sector production.

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