Mardie Oakes

Mardie Oakes 2006 Global Fellow

Hello Housing

Poverty Alleviation & Economic Development

North America, United States

Mardie Oakes 2006 Global Fellow

Bold Idea 

House Californians in need by bringing together real estate financing tools with innovative design options to create cutting-edge housing solutions.


Architecture has inspired Mardie Oakes since she was a child. Believing that innovative design could create stronger communities and healthier lives, she attended Rice University School of Architecture. Mardie spent five years as a nonprofit housing developer in the Fifth Ward, Houston’s lowest income community. There, she co-created an exhibition and demonstration project, “16 Houses: Owning a House in the City” in partnership with the Rice School of Architecture and Diverse Works Artspace. As a result, Mardie recognized the need for creative financing and for building bridges across disciplines to help make cutting-edge projects a reality. After earning an MBA from Harvard Business School, she moved to San Francisco to serve as Director of Lending for a nonprofit bank, where she invested $20 million of private capital into affordable housing projects in the Bay Area.