Housing affordability in the Northwest has reached a crisis point.

The impacts are felt by hard-working families who’ve done all the right things but can’t get ahead. The governments that serve them must lead the way, developing new solutions that ensure prosperity is attainable for all. But they can’t do it alone.

The Hayden Opportunity Fund supports local governments who work hand-in-hand with organizations or private business to create innovative policies or solutions that support a new wave of housing availability and affordability in their communities.

Our Story

Thirty years ago, Hayden Homes was founded on the belief that homeownership should be within reach for every hardworking family throughout the Northwest.  That passion continues today and is coupled with our “Give as You Go” philosophy. For every Hayden Home that is sold we make a donation to First Story, our non-profit that builds affordable housing across the region. For every paycheck to our valued team members, the majority choose to make a 100 percent charitable company-matched donation.  And for every year that goes by, we contribute 10 percent of our profits as our commitment to create the next generation of givers.

For this giving spirit and dedication to serving our communities, our chairman and founder’s son, Hayden Watson received the 2019 Hearthstone Humanitarian Award, a pinnacle honor in the home-building industry that recognizes the special contributions a home-builder has made to supporting others. Hayden’s greatest hope in receiving this award is that others will be inspired to join our company in taking the lead on providing housing affordability across the Northwest. The Hayden Opportunity Fund is our way of ensuring that communities have support to do just that.


Leadership.We support agencies that refuse to leave this problem for others to solve. We award leadership that assumes the responsibility of cultivating a housing supply that is affordable to all. This award recognizes governments who go further than standard needs analyses and routine development code updates, and who create an intention to prioritize ensuring housing that is affordable to every sector of the community.

Partnership.Government can’t fix this problem alone. We believe that the best, most effective solutions are developed in partnership with stakeholders who are highly invested in solving the housing crisis and have knowledge to share what will and won’t work well. The Hayden Opportunity Fund recognizes governments that partner with organizations or private business to create solutions that work in their communities.

Innovation.For decades local governments have employed land use policies resulting in more expensive and limited housing supply. And go-to solutions in the housing toolbox, such as CET taxes and inclusionary zoning, have not solved the housing affordability crisis. We prioritize bold and creative solutions that get costs down and housing up. It’s time for actions that work.



In 2020, The Hayden Opportunity Fund will award $150,000 to three city or county governments in Oregon, Washington and Idaho that demonstrate excellent leadership in partnering with organizations or private business to create innovative solutions that spur a new wave of housing availability and affordability in their communities.

  • Nominations will be accepted in spring 2020 via online applications at this site.
  • An interdisciplinary panel of judges will make award determinations.
  • The awards will be announced at the fall 2020.
  • Governments may partner with any private or community entity including private businesses, organizations, associations, non-profits and/or banks/credit unions.
  • The award will be presented to the government agency or key stakeholder partner as outlined by recipient.
  • The government earning the largest gift will receive an engraved award, a ceremony at a public meeting of their government leadership, a party for their staff and public recognition throughout the Pacific Northwest for their work on housing affordability and availability.



Must be a city or county government in Oregon, Washington or Idaho.

Governments must partner on a qualifying project with at least one community partner or private business. Additional partners are encouraged.

Governments must have a qualifying project underway or completed.

Qualifying Projects
Projects must increase housing availability and affordability in the government’s local community.

Projects can include, but are not limited to, the following;

  • Code and zoning changes
  • Re-prioritization of land use for home building
  • Permitting process changes
  • Reducing regulatory barriers preventing the building of new homes
  • Reduction of infrastructure requirements
  • Reduction or delay of fees
  • Creation of incentives for developers that make home-building more possible
  • Offering incentives for building housing at greater density levels 
  • Piloting programs for new development types that make housing
  • Offering credits or reduced fees to companies bringing innovative solutions
  • Offering creative financing programs for homeowners

Application and Selection Process

  • Applications will become available in Spring 2020. 
  • Applicants must fully complete the application and submit it by the award deadline, which will occur in June 2020.
  • Applications will require description of:
    • The partnership, including structure of partnership and information on all entities involved. 
    • Project accomplishments and what the existing or anticipated impact will be on housing availability and affordability in your community.
    • Projects costs and resources required.
    • Metrics your partnership is using to evaluate your success.
  • Greatest preference will be given to the following:
    • Impact measured in numbers of new homes spurred by project or average median housing costs in community.
    • Strength of leadership in terms of defining the problem and demonstration of responsibility for solving it.


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Judges Panel. If you have an interest in being part of our judges panel or would like to nominate an individual, please check the box at the bottom of the form. Please complete the “Additional Comment” section by adding a short explanation or your commitment or your nominees commitment to housing affordability and/or availability. Judges will be announced Spring of 2020.

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