CommonBond Communities is the largest nonprofit provider of affordable housing with services in the Midwest.

About 8,000 people live in CommonBond developments. More than 60 percent of all its residents are families with children, and about 30 percent are seniors. The organization also provides housing for people with special needs, including the formerly homeless and disabled.

The Minnesota-based organization continues to add to its 4,500- unit portfolio. In 2010, it started four projects with 207 units. It plans to start another six projects this year.

“We're trying to respond to the rising demand for workforce and affordable housing across the upper Midwest,” says Paul Fate, president and CEO.

One recent project is Bishop's Creek Family Housing in Milwaukee. Built with the Bishop's Creek Community Development Corp., the 55- unit project replaces an abandoned tannery and leads the revitalization of the neighborhood.

Fate says the company is unique for its “more than housing” model that includes its Advantage Centers, which focus on helping children thrive in school and adults to achieve economic success.

He reports that 95 percent of the students taking part in CommonBond's youth services graduate from high school. Without the program, the rate would likely be closer to 45 percent given the students' incomes and backgrounds.

The organization is active in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. While remaining committed to those areas, CommonBond is exploring development opportunities in several nearby states.