Morgante Wilson Foundation Helps Fund Purchase of House Set to Become Wilmette, Ill.’s First CLT Permanently Affordable Home

Kandice Korte
Morgante Wilson Architects

Nov 4, 2021 - 5 min read

Morgante Wilson Foundation Helps Fund Purchase of House Set to Become Wilmette, Ill.’s First CLT Permanently Affordable Home


CONTACTS: Sarah Lyons, [email protected], (312) 267-4520

Kim Manning, [email protected], (312) 267-4527

Morgante Wilson Foundation Helps Fund Purchase of House Set to Become Wilmette, Ill.’s First CLT Permanently Affordable Home

Launched in 2020, Foundation exceeds its goals in inaugural year to support sustainably affordable housing in Chicago’s north suburbs

EVANSTON, Ill. (Nov. 5, 2021) Wilmette’s first permanently affordable home based on Community Land Trust (CLT) principles will soon become a reality. The Morgante Wilson Foundation, a 501c3 nonprofit launched in November 2020 by the founders of Evanston, Ill.-based Morgante Wilson Architects, today announced that its first annual fundraising campaign raised enough capital to assist Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) in the purchase and renovation of a house that will be the first permanently affordable CLT home in Wilmette.

The contribution from the Foundation, whose mission is to support the creation of sustainably affordable housing in Chicago’s north suburbs, was vital to the purchase of the first of 14 new CLT homes CPAH will develop in Wilmette over the next four years. CPAH, which develops and preserves affordable housing throughout the northern suburbs, purchased the first Wilmette home in August.

“As residential architects, Elissa and I have built our careers on our personal and professional belief in the importance of home and the idea that everyone deserves a place where they feel safe and that they can call their own,” said Fred Wilson, co-founding partner of Morgante Wilson Architects along with his wife and business partner, Elissa Morgante. “We see sustainable affordable housing models like CLT as such a critical tool in building stability through home ownership – so much so that we created the Morgante Wilson Foundation nearly a year ago to focus our firm’s philanthropic efforts on those principles. We’re incredibly proud to say in our first year we reached the milestone of helping fund Wilmette’s first CLT home – thanks to the Foundation’s amazing supporters – and we’re eager to do more in year two.”

The Foundation’s emphasis on the CLT model stems from Wilson and Morgante seeing its results firsthand through MWA’s support of CPAH over the last decade through financial contributions, pro-bono architecture and design services, and Wilson’s service as a CPAH board member.

“The success stories you hear from CPAH often involve those who’ve simply come up against difficult circumstances, whether an illness, change in employment or other situation,” Morgante said. “The CLT model provides the boost they need to purchase a safe and secure home in a supportive community with great schools, strong park district programs, exceptional libraries and more.”

Located in west Wilmette, the three-bedroom, two-bath home is currently undergoing renovations and will be sold to a qualified low income household. Under the CLT model the home will be affordable for the first buyer, and remain affordable for the next buyer, and the next buyer, and so on in perpetuity, while still allowing each homeowner to build wealth through homeownership.

The Foundation’s geographic focus is on Wilmette, where Morgante and Wilson are long-time residents, and neighboring north suburban communities. “This area has given us so much as we raised our family and built our business over the last 30-plus years, so we feel strongly about focusing the Foundation’s efforts here for the foreseeable future,” Wilson said.

The Foundation will host an open house event at the Wilmette home on November 14th from 12pm to 3pm to celebrate with supporters. It will also kick off its 2021 year-end fundraising appeal to continue to grow the Foundation for the next permanently affordable homes in Wilmette. To attend the open house event, contact [email protected] for details.

The Morgante Wilson Foundation is led by a board of directors that, in addition to Morgante and Wilson, consists of John Leonard, a principal with Morgante Wilson Architects, and Craig Caffarelli, a long-time Wilmette resident and partner at GEM Realty Capital, a Chicago-based commercial real estate investment company.

For more information about the Morgante Wilson Foundation or to make a donation, visit

About Morgante Wilson Architects

Morgante Wilson Architects, Ltd. is an architecture, interior design and urban planning firm specializing in residential and commercial design, as well as LEED certification. Founded in 1987, Morgante Wilson Architects has designed innumerable projects throughout Chicago, the Midwest and the country. Morgante Wilson has received AIA Chicago’s prestigious “Young Architect Award,” AIA Special Recognition Award for Interiors, as well as awards for several historic rehabilitation projects. The firm’s work has been featured in an array of noteworthy publications ranging from The Wall Street Journal and Chicago Tribune to Traditional Home, while its projects have been exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago, The Chicago Architectural Foundation and the Chicago Athenaeum. For more information on the company, visit To learn more about Morgante Wilson Architects’ projects and approach to design, visit its blog, “Show & Live Well,” at

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For more information or to schedule an interview, contact Sarah Lyons, [email protected], (312) 267-4520.


Purchased in August by Community Partners for Affordable Housing (CPAH) with support from the Morgante Wilson Foundation, this home will be Wilmette’s first permanently affordable home based on Community Land Trust principles. Amy Kaufman (third from left), CPAH’s director of development and community relations, is pictured with Morgante Wilson Foundation board members Fred Wilson, Elissa Morgante and John Leonard.

Kandice Korte

Morgante Wilson Architects