Short Film: The Williams Family

Shamae and LeVar Williams were scrambling to buy a home after their landlord decided not to renew the lease on their three-bedroom rental. They had three months to move out, so their search was frantic and frustrating, as they were outbid on multiple homes. Several loan officers asked the Williams’ if they could go to a family member for a loan. That wasn’t an option. Thankfully, LeVar’s brother had heard of another: The Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth. Between $40,000 in down payment assistance from Dearfield and a PATH grant, a FirstBank program for first-time Black homeowners, the Williams’ family were able to purchase a home with enough space for their family of five.


Director | Algernon Felice Jr, Gary Community Ventures

Algernon Felice Jr has been recognized nationally and regionally as an award-winning producer, having won a Chicago/Midwest Emmy® for writing, producing and directing a campaign that explores the humble roots of a historic business. He has also won multiple Wisconsin Broadcasters Association awards for his work in brand development and television production, and was featured on CNN for his filmmaking and cultural storytelling.

Producer | Mary Gerlach, Gary Community Ventures

Mary Gerlach is a writer, collaborator and optimist. As Senior Brand and Integrated Marketing Manager for Ventures, Mary is responsible for brand development and outreach for the breakthrough solutions that Gary Community Ventures incubates internally. Currently, Mary works closely with the teams responsible for the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, My Spark Denver and MyFriendBen.

Producer | Aisha T. Weeks, Gary Community Ventures

Aisha T. Weeks is the Managing Director of the Dearfield Fund for Black Wealth, an impact investment fund that seeks to close the racial wealth gap through homeownership. Under Aisha’s leadership, the Dearfield Fund has provided more than $5 million in downpayment assistance to first-time Black and African American homebuyers in the Denver metro area.

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