Opportunity Zones

A new national community investment program that connects private capital with low-income communities across America

EIG Launches Interactive Map Highlighting Innovative Opportunity Zone Activity

Facts & Figures

In the summer of 2018, the U.S. Department of the Treasury certified 8,766 individual census tracts across all 50 states, six territories, and the District of Columbia as Opportunity Zones. 294 Opportunity Zones contain Native American lands and nearly a quarter (23.2 percent) are in rural areas. These communities were chosen by governors from the wider universe of qualifying low income census tracts. Governors selected tracts that on the whole demonstrated far more distress across nearly every available social and economic measure than the eligible tracts they bypassed. The result is a map of both need and opportunity across which one of the most exciting economic and community development experiments in at least a generation will play out.

Number of Opportunity Zone census tracts by state

How do Opportunity Zones work? Investors can now choose to roll capital gains over into qualified Opportunity Funds, which in turn channel patient capital into qualifying equity investments in Opportunity Zones for at least a decade in exchange for capital gains tax reductions and possible exemptions. This new source of risk capital will seed new startups, accelerate business expansions, create jobs, increase and improve housing options, and revitalize the built environment in distressed communities across the country.

Here’s what we know about where these communities stand today.Note that several of the sources cited here do not provide data for U.S. territories. The following analysis therefore presents information on the 7,826 zones across the 50 states and D.C. unless otherwise noted. Similarly, all figures are derived from the latest available American Community Survey 5-year estimates unless otherwise noted.

 

By most measures of socio-economic well-being, Opportunity Zones are among the highest-need communities in the United States

Population and demographics

31.3 million people call Opportunity Zones home (35 million including Puerto Rico and the territories). The majority of Opportunity Zones residents, 56 percent, are non-white minorities, compared to 39 percent of the country as a whole. Black Americans are particularly over-represented in Opportunity Zones, constituting twice as large a share of the zone population as they do the national population.

Total U.S. population grew by 5.6% from 2006-2010 to 2013-2017. By comparison, the average population growth rate of an Opportunity Zone over that time period was just 0.9%, a third of the average growth rate of non-Opportunity Zone tracts. All together 3,501 Opportunity Zone census tracts (45 percent of the total) registered population declines between the 2006-2010 and 2013-2017 time periods, collectively shedding 1.3 million residents. 

Poverty1 

In total, 8.3 million Americans residing in Opportunity Zones live in poverty. Opportunity Zones have an average poverty rate of 29 percent, compared to a national poverty rate of 15 percent. 

Poverty rates rose in 58 percent of zones between the 2006-2010 and 2013-2017 periods. Poverty rates increased nationally at the same time, but the increases were generally steeper in zones: The poverty rate increased by 1.6 percentage points in the average Opportunity Zone compared 0.7 percentage points in the average non-Opportunity Zone census tract. 

Even though Opportunity Zones only cover one-quarter of the country’s low income census tracts, they cover 38 percent of all U.S. census tracts that have been persistently poor (with a poverty rate of at least 20 percent) since at least 1980. They cover 49 percent—essentially half—of the country’s pockets of concentrated persistent poverty, meaning census tracts in which at least 40 percent of the population has lived in poverty since at least 1980.

Income

The median family income (MFI) in the average Opportunity Zone is $44,700, compared to $70,850 nationally; the value in the median tract is $43,040. Fully two-thirds of zones have an MFI below $50,000. Only 6 percent of zones have an MFI above the national one. There are more Opportunity Zones in the $30,000 to $32,500 band alone than there are above the national MFI.

Even as median family income increased by 10 percent at the national level between the 2006-2010 and 2013-2017 periods, incomes actually declined for the median family in 35 percent of Opportunity Zones.  Adjusting for inflation, the median family in two-thirds of zones saw the buying power of their income decrease between the two periods.

Life expectancy

Life expectancy in the average Opportunity Zone is 75.1 years, more than three years shorter than the 78.3 nationwide or the 78.6 outside of Opportunity Zones.1

Health outcomes

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes census tract level health data for 500 US cities. This dataset covers 3,500 Opportunity Zones, a little less than half of all Opportunity Zones. Even though the dataset is not comprehensive and only features urban areas, it does nonetheless provide a snapshot of the health challenges facing residents in a large number of Opportunity Zones. Individuals living in these Opportunity Zones are less likely to take advantage of preventative health services, such as flu shots, mammograms and dental care and more likely to suffer from medical conditions that include asthma, diabetes and heart disease versus those living in non-Opportunity Zone tracts. The average obesity rate in these Opportunity Zones is 7.4 percentage points higher (35%) than non-Opportunity Zone tracts and a third of residents of these Opportunity Zones did not participate in any leisure-time physical activity, compared to 24% of residents of non-Opportunity Zone tracts.2

Food access

The U.S. Department of Agriculture provides data on “food deserts”, which are defined as low income census tracts without a full service grocery store within a 1 mile radius in urban areas or within a 10 mile radius in rural areas. While Opportunity Zones represent around 11 percent of all census tracts, they account for 24 percent of the nation’s food deserts. In total, 2,225 Opportunity Zones, or 28 percent of all zones, qualify as food deserts.3

Education

Educational attainment in Opportunity Zones is lower than the nation as a whole, with 18 percent of adults 25 and older having obtained at least a four-year college, compared to 31 percent of adults nationally. Tellingly, more adults in Opportunity Zones lack a high school diploma than have a four-year college degree.

 

Opportunity Zones have troubled residential housing markets

Vacancy

The housing vacancy rate in the average Opportunity Zone is 13 percent, compared to 8 percent nationally. In 47 percent of zones, housing vacancy rates rose between the 2006-2010 and 2013-2017 periods.

Rent burden

Fifty-five percent of renting households in Opportunity Zones are rent-burdened, several percentage points higher than the rest of the United States. Households are defined as rent-burdened if they spend 30 percent or more of their household income on rent.

Aging stock

Opportunity Zones’ housing stock is much older than that of non-Opportunity Zone areas; in the average zone, the median residence was built 50 years ago—more than 10 years before the median residence nationwide. 

Home values

The median home value in the average Opportunity Zone is $156,300, compared to $246,000 nationwide. The median home is worth less than $100,000 in nearly half (44 percent) of zones, and median home values declined in more than half of all Opportunity Zones between the 2006-2010 and 2013-2017 periods.

Homeownership

Homeownership rates are lower in Opportunity Zones than outside: 45% of the Opportunity Zone population owns a home, compared to 63% in all census tracts nationwide. Of those homeowners, 1.4 million are minority black or Hispanic households.

 

Continued disinvestment and low levels of economic mobility threaten the vast majority of Opportunity Zones and residents

Data from Harvard University’s Opportunity Insights, the research organization associated with Raj Chetty’s pathbreaking studies into equality of opportunity in the United States, shows that today’s Opportunity Zones are overwhelmingly places that have struggled to deliver economic opportunity to their residents for at least a generation.  

Incarceration

Young adults from poor backgrounds who grew up in Opportunity Zones were significantly more likely to be incarcerated in 2010, the benchmark year. Fully 3.2 percent of the children of low-income families in the average Opportunity Zone were in prison, compared to 2.0 percent outside of Opportunity Zones and 2.7 percent in the average low-income community that was not designated an Opportunity Zone.4

Income mobility

Economic mobility for children from poor backgrounds is measurably worse in Opportunity Zones than outside. Only 7.3 percent of children born to poor parents in the average Opportunity Zone were able to climb into the top fifth of the income distribution upon adulthood, lower than the 13.2 percent average for poor children outside of Opportunity Zones.

Gentrification

Gentrification and the rapid transformation of historically poor urban neighborhoods into mixed or higher-income enclaves can be a traumatic process for long-term residents who may be displaced by rising rents, rising property taxes, or cultural change. At the same time, re-investment combined with the right policy tools benefits long-term residents and their children in meaningful and long-lasting ways. However, all assessments of the scale of gentrification across the United States find that the phenomenon is extremely rare, and that fact holds across the country’s Opportunity Zones. EIG’s analysis of community socioeconomic change found that the ratio of Opportunity Zones losing population to those showing signs of gentrification is approximately 12 to 1. Across the vast majority of Opportunity Zones, just like most low-income communities in the United States, stagnation and decline prevail. 

A comprehensive nationwide assessment conducted by the Urban Institute flagged 284 census tracts, or 3.6 percent of Opportunity Zones, as having experienced high levels of socioeconomic change from 2000 to 2016.5 That figure matches closely with the findings of EIG’s own study examining population, income, poverty, and demographic trends, which found that 3.7 percent of Opportunity Zones showed signs of gentrification at the time they were nominated.6 Leadership in these communities must be deliberate about preserving access and opportunity in their zones. Cities should be proactive about mitigating any potential displacing effects of community reinvestment by ensuring their policy toolkits are refreshed and well-stocked.

 

Despite these challenges, Opportunity Zones retain many economic assets and are ripe for revitalization

Jobs and businesses

Opportunity Zones are more likely to host commercial and business activity than non-Opportunity Zones. Together they contain a total of 24 million jobs and 1.6 million businesses.7 According to business intelligence provider SMB Intelligence, zones are home to 6,300 prime growth businesses poised for investment and expansion in the near term. Between 2015 and May 2019, businesses based in Opportunity Zones won over 3,200 Small Business Innovation Research and Technology Transfer (SBIR/STTR) grants, which are awards federal agencies extend to especially innovative and high-potential small technology businesses.8

Despite these nodes of economic activity, more than one-third of prime age adults residing in Opportunity Zones are not working, compared to 27 percent across the United States. There remains considerable untapped potential in local workforces.

Assets and anchor institutions

There are at least 284 entrepreneurship incubators or accelerators in Opportunity Zones (and counting; several Opportunity Funds are investing in more such facilities).9

Opportunity Zones are home to at least 379 2- and 4-year colleges and universities, with numerous other institutions directly adjacent. Of the 379 zone colleges and universities, 47 are HBCUs, or Historically Black Colleges and Universities. A further 16 are tribal colleges. According to The New Localism, of the 8,766 total Opportunity Zones, one-third either contain a hospital or are within a half mile of a hospital. A total of 479 airports of varying sizes are located in Opportunity Zones, which many more directly adjacent to them as well.10

Brownfields

Opportunity Zones, which represent only 10.7 percent of all U.S. census tracts, contain nearly one-third (32 percent) of the country’s brownfield sites, which are properties that have been contaminated by prior (often industrial) use and typically stand vacant for years or decades.11 All together the country’s 8,766 Opportunity Zones contain over 14,700 known brownfield sites.

Clean energy

Clean energy is already taking root in Opportunity Zones. There are 475 solar energy installations producing more than 1MW of activity in Opportunity Zones, as well as 127 wind farms and 15 battery plants of at least the same capacity.12

Sources:

1 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Small-Area Life Expectancy Estimates. Figures for 2010-2015

2 U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention “500 Cities Project” data.

3 U.S Department of Agriculture’s Food Access Research Atlas

4 EIG analysis of Opportunity Insights’ Opportunity Atlas, “Household Income and Incarceration for Children from Low-Income Households by Census Tract, Race, and Gender” data.

5  Urban Institute, “Opportunity Zones: Maximizing Return on Public Investment” (2018).

6 Economic Innovation Group, “The State of Socioeconomic Need and Community Change in Opportunity Zones” (2018)

7 ESRI Business Estimates for 2018.

8  EIG analysis of Small Business Administration data.

9 EIG analysis of state incubator association directories

10 According to a tabulation provided by Southern Sky Aviation.

11 EIG analysis of Environmental Protection Agency “Cleanups in My Community” data. Estimates are conservative and reflect only contaminated sites the EPA tracks. Figures include Puerto Rico.

12 EIG analysis of U.S. Energy Information Administration Monthly Electric Generator Inventory data. Figures includes solar installations in Puerto Rico.

Previous Testimonial

Too many communities in our great nation feel passed over by economic growth and forgotten by our political leaders. We need a new formula for the public and private sectors to work together to generate new investments, new businesses, and new good paying jobs in places that have fallen behind. The Investing in Opportunity Act will harness much-needed private capital to flow to more American communities and empower state and local leaders to build a more prosperous future. Americans of all political stripes should unite behind this critical priority, and its congressional leaders — Senators Scott and Booker and Congressmen Tiberi and Kind — demonstrate there is hope for the type of bipartisan action that can provide a better future for millions of Americans.

The Honorable Andrew Young

Chair of the Andrew J. Young Foundation, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, and former U.S. Congressman

Our network of 55,000 small business owners gives us a front row seat to the unique challenges entrepreneurs face, especially those in disadvantaged areas. That is why we are supporting the Investing in Opportunity Act to provide access to capital and opportunities for growth in more communities in America. Small businesses are the foundation of our economy, and we need a tax system that benefits America’s entrepreneurs and the communities they are building.

John Arensmeyer

Founder and CEO of Small Business Majority

Over the past several years, our team at Village Capital has worked in 35 cities and invested in over 70 entrepreneurs. In these cities, I often hear local elected officials — from both parties — asking what they can do to help startups create more jobs. My best answer: America needs the Investing in Opportunity Act (IIOA). Introduced by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress, IIOA is the rare piece of legislation that brings together both parties. It’s designed to encourage new investment in communities that suffer from a lack of business growth. The government has an important role to play in encouraging the distribution of innovation across America to ensure that all communities — not just those on the coasts — get the startup capital they need to help us build our future economy from the bottom up.

Ross Baird

CEO of Village Capital

The Investing in Opportunity Act will steer capital to places with deep investment deficits, helping to create new opportunities in places that have long been disconnected from the broader economy.

Jared Bernstein

Senior Fellow at Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and former Chief Economist to Vice President Joseph Biden

At Newark Venture Partners we believe that venture capital done right drives job creation. We come across innovative entrepreneurs every day who have the ability to build something great, and work with them to grow their ideas and fuel the larger comeback story of Newark. That is why we applaud Senator Cory Booker and his Congressional partners Senator Scott and Reps. Kind and Tiberi for introducing the Investing in Opportunity Act, a bill that will encourage a collaborative approach towards fostering startup ecosystems and bringing new investment dollars to the community.

Dan Borok

Managing Partner at Newark Venture Partners

With over thirty years of work in distressed communities, at the Reinvestment Fund we’ve seen first hand the need for new sources of capital to revitalize local economies. The Investing in Opportunity Act is an important step towards sparking long-term private investments in the places that need it most. We thank Senators Booker and Scott and Congressmen Kind and Tiberi for fighting to give disadvantaged communities a chance to thrive.

Don Hinkle Brown

CEO of Reinvestment Fund

Our country is faced with an impending crisis. Communities around the country need innovative ideas and targeted investments in order to grow and become prosperous. The Investing in Opportunity Act can play a pivotal role in facilitating private market investment for local economic development. We are supportive of bipartisan legislation that addresses the economic challenges faced by communities within our nation.

Ron Busby

President of U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.

While the post-recession recovery has led to a widened gap of cities and regions experiencing economic prosperity and those experiencing distress, specifically focused resources in the areas that need it the most can lead to job creation, stimulate economic activity, and drive financial stability. In a time where bipartisan efforts are needed most, the Investing in Opportunity Act provides a bridge to connect more than our communities.

Chris Camacho

President and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council

America’s entrepreneurial spirit can be found in communities all across the country. But while talent is evenly dispersed, opportunity is not and many would-be entrepreneurs in America’s hardest-hit communities never get a shot to achieve the American dream. That is why we need smart policies like the Investing in Opportunity Act to help ensure entrepreneurs looking to grow their businesses in underserved communities have access to the capital they need. I applaud the broad bipartisan coalition behind this legislation for their leadership and urge Congress to make the bill law.

Steve Case

Chairman and CEO of Revolution and former Chairman and CEO of America Online

The Republican Main Street Partnership, an organization of more than 70 members of Congress who represent the governing wing of the Republican Party, believes that the Investing in Opportunity Act (IIOA) presents a fresh and exciting way to bring real improvements in the lives of Americans who live in distressed rural and urban areas. The bill was introduced in the House by Main Street’s Rep. Pat Tiberi of Ohio, who’s also the new Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. Main Street has put the IIOA on its list of top legislative priorities for 2017. We are proud to support this measure and we are confident that it will allow investors and entrepreneurs to grow businesses and create jobs in the areas that need them most.

Sarah Chamberlain

President and CEO of Republican Main Street Partnership

In our 30 years’ experience investing private capital into struggling communities, we have seen transformational results over and over again. The need today can feel overwhelming, but with the right tools in place and partners at the table, it’s not insurmountable. The Investing in Opportunity Act provides an actionable way for everyday Americans to help strengthen our nation’s economy and resolve by supporting one another.

Lori Chatman

President of Enterprise Community Loan Fund

Throughout my career as an investor, one thing has remained consistent: capital is essential for entrepreneurs to be able to grow their companies. The Investing in Opportunity Act will create a new way to tap into billions of dollars in passive private capital, so we can harness the power of entrepreneurs in underserved communities across the country to create the businesses of the future.

Ron Conway

Founder of SV Angel

Too many Americans around the country are facing economic hardship and anxiety. It’s great to see bipartisan leadership in Washington working to pass the Investment in Opportunity Act, to incentivize investment in distressed communities, and to ensure that prosperity reaches every pocket of America. I applaud Senators Booker and Scott, as well as Congressmen Kind and Tiberi, for their work on this important effort.

Debbie Cox Bultan

Executive Director of NewDEAL

Advancing entrepreneurship and ensuring greater access to capital is essential to addressing the concentrated poverty and economic distress in rural, suburban and urban communities across Ohio. This legislation represents an innovative approach to addressing economic challenges prevalent in our communities and, if enacted, will create a critical new pathway for investors to direct resources toward economic revitalization. We commend Congressman Tiberi and his co-sponsors for their bipartisan leadership through the Investing in Opportunity Act.

Falon Donohue

Executive Director of VentureOhio

In recent years, entrepreneurial ecosystems have been taking root in every corner of the country, spurring job creation, economic growth, and cultural revitalization. However, one of the biggest challenges faced by startups in these emerging communities is securing the capital needed to grow and thrive. The Investing in Opportunity Act would help to facilitate capital formation by unleashing trillions in inactive capital for reinvestment in early stage companies in the communities that truly need it — enabling aspiring entrepreneurs across the country and giving every town in America the opportunity to build its own startup ecosystem.

Evan Engstrom

Executive Director of Engine Advocacy

Small and micro businesses are often the chief drivers of economic activity in low-income communities, and in today’s economy, too many of these innovators lack access to the credit and resources they need to start job-creating businesses. That’s why we are proud to support the Investing in Opportunity Act. This bipartisan bill will allow investors and entrepreneurs to build the businesses of the future in the areas that need them most.

Connie Evans

President and CEO of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity

As the disparities in economic opportunity rise, we need to catalyze growth in communities across the United States. It’s been my experience, in the private and public sectors, that leveraging private investments is essential to building dynamic local economies. The Investing in Opportunity Act will connect much needed capital with a diverse range of entrepreneurs, fostering the business climate necessary to create vibrant and growing communities.

John Fernandez

U.S. Chief Innovation Officer for Dentons and former head of the U.S. Economic Development Administration

The Columbus Partnership applauds Congressman Tiberi and his co-sponsors for their leadership through the Investing in Opportunity Act. This legislation provides an innovative new model for ensuring greater access to capital and higher levels of job-creating investment in underserved communities. We support the direct impact this bill will have throughout the communities in Ohio that are under economic distress, and hope the effort sparks greater national attention to this urgent issue.

Alex Fischer

President and CEO of Columbus Partnership

Nationally, the needs of communities of concentrated poverty are similar, but the investments needed to meet those needs vary from city to city, and neighborhood to neighborhood. From our experience working in 16 neighborhoods from coast to coast and relationships in more than 30 others, we know first-hand that incentives from the federal government can only help if they address the gap in resources to meet the needs of a community. For example, some communities have the necessary public and even philanthropic funding for an early childhood education center, but lack the funding necessary for subsidized affordable housing in a mixed-income development. Others have financing through tax credits and other sources to build affordable housing, but lack the kind of funding or incentives to attract a grocery store that stocks fresh, healthy food. Providing financial incentives with the necessary flexibility to apply them according to a community-specific plan could provide the catalytic boost needed in many communities to attract private resources and begin to break the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

Shirley Franklin

Executive Board Chair of Purpose Built Communities and former Mayor of Atlanta

If we are going to be successful in building an economy that supports all Americans, we need to ensure that federal policy helps encourage a massive infusion of private capital into distressed communities. That’s why we are pleased to see continued leadership on this issue from Reps. Ron Kind and Pat Tiberi along with Senators Cory Booker and Tim Scott. Following extensive and impressive work from the Economic Innovation Group on understanding distressed communities, their legislation — the Investing in Opportunity Act of 2017 — is an important contribution to this debate. It is critical to get more capital into the areas of the country that need it most, and this bipartisan effort is another impressive step forward.

Gabe Horwitz

Vice President for the Economic Program at Third Way

For 150 years, The Salvation Army has helped ordinary people work to strengthen their communities in extraordinary ways. Today, the challenges facing our country require even greater cooperation to bridge America’s growing divide. The bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act is a unique policy solution that will channel private investment to do public good. It is a testament to the principles of servant leaders working to give the dignity of economic opportunity to those who need it most.

Commissioner David Jeffrey

National Commander of The Salvation Army USA

At SOCAP, we are dedicated to encouraging​ ​investment in social good​ ​particularly where there are ​​​​gaps in the philanthropic and public sectors. The Investing in Opportunity Act is an innovative​ ​proposal​ that will connect private investment to​ ​those communities​ ​that have been left behind.​​ ​We​ hope Congress​ ​will​ act quickly to pass this bill,​ so investors​ ​and entrepreneurs can​ ​use​ ​it to ​generate new economic activity in the ​places that need it most.

Kevin Jones

Co-Founder and Convener of SOCAP

Our country is in urgent need of innovative economic development strategies to bring hope to communities that have been left behind. The bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act would be a powerful catalyst for new businesses, development, and jobs in rural and urban communities throughout the country. LISC is proud to support this important legislation and we urge Congress to come together to pass it into law.

Maurice Jones

President and CEO of LISC

The American people are more eager than ever for common-sense solutions to address growing disparities in economic opportunity. Millions of Americans remain trapped in communities where there is little hope for a better life — little hope for achieving the American Dream. This won’t change without new investment and thriving enterprise. The Investing in Opportunity Act is exactly the kind of policy needed to connect underserved communities with the capital they need in order to grow. I commend the sponsors of this legislation for their work to bring hope to Americans who feel left behind.

Jimmy Kemp

President of The Jack Kemp Foundation

As a native of the Midwest, I know what it means when people say that America’s economy is becoming increasing divided by geography. And as an investor, I believe in the power of capital to allow entrepreneurs in every corner of America to turn their ideas into reality. The Investing in Opportunity Act will incentivize significant new and long-term investments in those ideas while fostering critical businesses and job growth in the communities that need it most.

Rebecca Lynn

Co-Founder and General Partner at Canvas Venture Fund

The populist revolt we witnessed in 2016 was fueled in part by chronic underinvestment in rural and small town America. The Investing in Opportunity Act will end this pattern of neglect by steering capital to the areas that need it the most. PPI commends the sponsors of the Investing in Opportunity Act for their bipartisan leadership to expand economic opportunity to these communities.

Will Marshall

President and Founder of Progressive Policy Institute

Growing the economy of the 21st Century requires Democrats to work with Republicans and the public sector to work with the private sector to create an environment that will attract and nurture businesses. The Investing in Opportunity Act is a federal policy that, if enacted, holds the potential to unlock trillions of dollars of private capital for communities in every state. It is an example of how innovative federal policymaking can empower local leaders to address their communities’ unique economic development challenges.

Ben McAdams

Mayor, Salt Lake County

Today more than ever, your zip code often defines your ability to succeed. In rural communities across the country, there is an opportunity gap that continues to widen, and the Investing in Opportunity Act would help address some of the fundamental issues they are confronting. Innovation can be found in every rural community, and helping those entrepreneurs gain access to capital will be a huge step in driving opportunity to some of the most distressed rural regions of the country.

Nathan Ohle

Executive Director of the Rural Community Assistance Partnership

Both innovation and cooperation are needed to tackle 21st​ ​century economic challenges. The Investing in Opportunity Act is a strong example of bipartisan collaboration to empower a new generation of entrepreneurs across the United States. We applaud Sens. Booker and Scott, and Reps. Kind and Tiberi, for breaking through the gridlock to find this common ground solution.

Steven Olikara

Cofounder and President of Millennial Action Project

It has never been more clear that America’s challenges require the collaboration of Democrats and Republicans and the public and private sectors alike. I commend the bipartisan coalition behind the Investing in Opportunity Act for their work to bridge the growing economic divide in our country. This bill is a public policy innovation that will put billions of dollars in new capital to work revitalizing underserved communities the best way we know how — by ensuring they have access to the resources to create the next generation of American enterprise.

Sean Parker

President of the Parker Foundation and Chairman of the Economic Innovation Group

For decades, many in our country have been seeing their access to job and business opportunities continue to diminish, falling further behind year after year. Some of the issues are structural and require a rethinking of how we, as a country, make it possible for our fellow citizens to thrive in the face of rapid technological disruption and a changing business and industry landscape.

 

Yet, some of the challenges have their foundation at the community level, reflecting a basic misalignment between our public policy and the needs of underserved communities. More often than not, the financial resources are not available in the forms or amounts required to drive great outcomes. Solutions that leverage public policy with private capital and market principles can connect the essential capital to the sponsors of holistic community-based solutions that address education, housing, transportation, entrepreneurship and jobs.

 

From our extensive experience, we know that the public-private partnerships that can be facilitated by the Investing in Opportunity Act will provide a cost-effective, bi-partisan, legislative solution to restore opportunity to the many of the neighborhoods of greatest need, and create healthy and sustainable communities that serve the needs of persons of all incomes. Further, it will provide essential capital to support existing and new businesses that provide employment of community residents.

Egbert L. J. Perry

Chairman and CEO of The Integral Group LLC and Chairman of Fannie Mae

America’s economic recovery has not benefitted all of our communities equally, and we need policymakers to enact solutions that boost opportunity in distressed areas. New development can quickly bolster a neighborhood and inspire additional projects that can raise an entire community. A bipartisan group of Congressmen in the House and the Senate have crafted a commendable solution that can catalyze economic growth in the areas that need it most with the Investing in Opportunity Act.

Lyneir Richardson

Executive Director of The Center for Urban Entrepreneurship and Economic Development (CUEED) at Rutgers University

Tackling inequality requires smart policies that reward innovation and new ideas, and the Investing in Opportunity Act is a model for how private investors can do great social good through rewarding investments that will help start businesses, create jobs, and benefit the places that need it most. When our communities are creating opportunity for people to live better, America does better. I applaud the bipartisan coalition behind this bill for their leadership on the pressing challenges facing our country.

Joe Sanberg

Co-Founder of Aspiration.com and Chair of CalEITC4Me

Good ideas exist everywhere in America, and the Investing in Opportunity Act creates new opportunities for ideas to be transformed into enterprises in more places. When visionaries move into a distressed area and succeed, others often follow. This bill will encourage the long-term investments needed for entrepreneurs to build businesses and increase opportunity in the areas of the country that need it most.

Dana Settle

Founding Partner of Greycroft

Cooperation between public and private sectors is increasingly important to achieve social change at scale. That’s why I’m excited about the innovative new policy of the Investing in Opportunity Act. By creating a new channel for investors to do good by doing well, it represents an exciting opportunity for capital to flow into underserved communities at the scale necessary to drive meaningful economic outcomes.

Sonal Shah

Executive Director & Professor of Practice at The Beeck Center for Social Impact and Innovation at Georgetown University

It has never been more urgent to ensure that our entire country is connected to the growth and opportunity that is a hallmark of the American economy. There has never been a shortage of ways for investors to use their capital for social good, but now we have a way to channel our investments for public good. The Investing in Opportunity Act will create a new pathway for investors to devote their private capital to causes that benefit all of us: creating jobs, supporting entrepreneurship, and revitalizing our communities.

Jim Sorenson

Founder of the Sorenson Impact Center

Mayors throughout the country are facing daunting economic challenges thanks to rising inequality, declining entrepreneurship, and a lack of access to capital. I see all of these challenges first-hand, but I also see the tremendous opportunity for revitalization if we could find better ways to connect communities with the capital they need in order to thrive. That is why I’m proud to support the bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act, which would drive new private investment to entrepreneurs and enterprises in underserved communities throughout the country. This is the kind of creative approach to expanding economic opportunity that can truly change lives.

Michael Tubbs

Mayor of Stockton, CA

I have spent most of my life in the San Antonio area and am passionate about building a more inclusive and entrepreneurial ecosystem in parts of the city that haven’t historically had much hope. I believe America’s investors should be far more engaged in supporting those who pursue entrepreneurship and innovation in struggling areas of the country. That’s why the Investing in Opportunity Act is so important. It would encourage investors of all types to join together in helping underserved communities realize their full potential.

Graham Weston

Former Chairman and Co-Founder of Rackspace and Co-Founder of Geekdom and the 80/20 Foundation

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