Patricia “Patty” Rouse, the co-founder of The Enterprise Foundation (now Enterprise Community Partners) and wife to the late developer and philanthropist Jim Rouse, has died at age 85.
Rouse served as vice president and secretary, and was a lifetime member, of the board of trustees of Enterprise Community Partners. She also served as secretary and a member of the board of directors of its for-profit subsidiary, Enterprise Community Investment.
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 city’s 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. Thus, Jubilee Housing was born in 1973, and it provided the impetus for the Rouses to start the Enterprise Foundation in 1982. In 2005, it was renamed Enterprise Community Partners. Today, Enterprise continues to work to ensure that all people have the opportunity for affordable housing.
Throughout her career, Rouse was appointed to several boards, including those of Jubilee Housing, the Howard County Poetry & Literature Society, the Health and Welfare Council and the National Low Income Housing Coalition; she was also the recipient of many prestigious awards, such as the Leadership Council on Civil & Human Rights Hubert Humphrey Human and Civil Rights Award, as well as the National Housing Conference & Center for Housing Policy Person of the Year, for her contributions to the affordable housing and community development industry.
She graduated magna cum laude from Sweet Briar College in Virginia in 1948 after spending her junior year at St. Andrews University in Scotland. She did graduate work in Urban Studies at Old Dominion University (ODU) in Norfolk, Va., and received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from ODU in 1997.
In her honor, the Rouse 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,10227 Wincopin Circle, American City Building, Suite 500, Columbia, MD 21044-3400.