Encourage community investment where it’s needed.
Opportunity Zones (OZs) are potentially powerful ways to increase investment in communities that have been left out of economic growth. Created by federal legislation in 2017, OZs allow investors to reduce their tax burden by putting capital gains into projects in designated low-income areas. Within these OZs, philanthropy has a role to play in connecting community leaders, private investors and the public sector, and helping ensure investments serve the community’s goals.
Opportunity Zones in the Northwest
The Northwest has more than 350 Opportunity Zones, where philanthropy can bring together potential investors and connect them to community-defined priorities.
How Philanthropy Can Play a Role
Here are three steps foundations can take to support increased community investment:
- Learn about OZs in your community. Use this Economic Innovation Group OZ Map or Enterprise Community Partners Opportunity Zone Explorer Eligibility Tool to see which census tracts are designated OZs in your community.
- Get to know the investment landscapes in these areas. Find out what types of investment are most needed in communities, what types of capital are available and who is deploying that capital. For starters, check out the Directory of Economic Development Agencies and Opportunity Finance Network’s CDFI Locator.
- Consider how you can best support local investment. Based on community priorities and the investment gaps and opportunities within OZs, explore the role your foundation can play to support increased investment. Visit Mission Investors Exchange’s Tools and Resources for more.
What We’re Doing
Thanks to a lead investment by JPMorgan Chase, Philanthropy Northwest is bringing together a collaborative of Native communities, federal and state government, and philanthropy and business leaders in Washington to deepen our collective knowledge about OZs and foster partnerships. In support of the Washington State Department of Commerce’s OZ strategy, we are facilitating a series of learning community convenings that are designed and led by a tribal advisory committee of the 14 OZ eligible tribes in Washington.
Our goal is to build upon ongoing tribal efforts to develop market-worthy projects that are community-led, culturally appropriate and investment-ready. Overall, our aim is to increase the flow of capital toward communities that have been historically marginalized. The involved parties include:
TRIBAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE
- How Foundations Can Help Opportunity Zone Communities Succeed - A Stanford Social Innovation Review article outlines four strategies for channeling investment into regions that have been marginalized.
- Tips for Foundations Interested in OZs - Mission Investors Exchange shares 11 tips for foundations to get involved with opportunity zones; and provides a list of additional resources and related articles.
- Why Opportunity Zones Are Important for Indian Country - An Urban Institute article talks about working with tribes to support local economic growth within OZs.