Patty Rouse, Housing Visionary and Co-Founder of Enterprise, Passes Away at 85

Patricia “Patty” Rouse, the co-founder of The Enterprise Foundation, now Enterprise Community Partners Inc., and wife to the late James W. “Jim” Rouse has died at 85, Enterprise announced today.

Columbia, Md.—Patricia “Patty” Rouse, the co-founder of The Enterprise Foundation, now Enterprise Community Partners Inc., and wife to the late James W. “Jim” Rouse has died at 85, Enterprise announced today. It was the Rouses’ goal to ensure that every person living in America has a decent, affordable home. Patty Rouse served as vice president and secretary and was a lifetime member of the Board of Trustees of Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. She also served as secretary and a member of the Board of Directors of its for-profit subsidiary, Enterprise Community Investment, Inc. Jim and Patty Rouse’s vision gave rise to an organization that is marking 30 years as the leading provider of the development capital and expertise it takes to create decent, affordable homes and rebuild communities.

Enterprise was inspired by an encounter the Rouses had with three women from the Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. With no development, financial or construction experience, three members of the church put down a non-refundable deposit in 1972 to purchase the Ritz and Mozart apartment buildings in the Adams Morgan neighborhood. Their commitment won over Jim Rouse, and he helped them secure $625,000 to complete the transaction and $125,000 toward the cost of rehabilitation. Jubilee Housing was born in 1973, and it provided the launch pad for Jim and Patty Rouse to start the Enterprise Foundation in 1982. In 2005, it was renamed Enterprise Community Partners. Today, Enterprise continues to uphold the standards set by the Rouses to ensure that all people have the opportunity for affordable housing.

Throughout her career, Rouse was appointed to several boards and the recipient of many prestigious awards for her invaluable contributions to the affordable housing and community development industry:

  • Founders Committee of World Times, Inc.
  • Publisher of The WorldPaper
  • Jubilee Housing, Inc. Board
  • Howard County Poetry and Literature Society Board
  • The Health and Welfare Council, Inc. Board
  • National Low Income Housing Coalition Board
  • Appointed by President Bush to the Board of Directors of the Commission on National and Community Service
  • National Civilian Community Corps Advisory Board
  • Commissioner of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority
  • Founding member of the President’s Circle of Habitat of Humanity
  • The National Committee Against Discrimination in Housing Board
  • Howard County Women’s Hall of Fame
  • Leadership Council on Civil and Human Rights Hubert Humphrey Human and Civil Rights Award
  • The National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy Person of the Year

Rouse graduated Magna Cum Laude from Sweet Briar College in 1948 after spending her junior year at St. Andrews University in Scotland. She did graduate work in Urban Studies at Old Dominion University and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Old Dominion University in 1997.

In her honor, Rouse’s family has asked that contributions be made to The Patty Rouse Fund to support Enterprise’s work with the poor. Please direct donations to: The Patty Rouse Fund, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc., 10227 Wincopin Circle, American City Building, Suite 500, Columbia, MD 21044-3400.

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