Reimagining Community Investing for the 21st Century

Start Date: September 2019

Portfolio: Fair Finance

Stage: Incubation

Summary + Problem Statement

Many of our current federal and local policies for driving private capital into underserved communities are obsolete and do not meet the needs of a nation that has radically changed demographically and culturally over the past several decades. We are focused on a future for community and sustainable investing that draws from the lessons of the past, but which results in systems change driven by policies that do not simply tinker around the edges.

We are focused on a future for community and sustainable investing that is rooted in the lessons of the past, but which results in systems change driven by policies that do not simply tinker around the edges. The Beeck Center is soliciting, examining and designing policy solutions on a federal and local level to deliver positive social outcomes in communities that have been historically overlooked and underestimated by traditional investors. Potential policy recommendations include the creation and capitalization of a new form of tax-exempt community institutions, deconstruction of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the consolidation of programs focused on community development under a new agency. The initial stages of this work are being generously supported by Incite whose mission is to build movements by transforming big ideas into big deals.

Project Elements

Solution/Idea

We believe that our work can influence change through informed policy-making that takes into account historical contexts as well as collaboration of key stakeholders including community members. We therefore aim to engage legislative players in dialogue and action to incorporate key community stakeholders and research tools in the community investment field. As part of this educational development, we hope to build out three policy briefs that address critical and pressing areas in community investing that can be used as tools within the field at-large. 

  • Policy brief #1 – New Corporate Forms for Social Ventures
  • Policy brief #2 – Investing in Digital Infrastructure in Rural Areas 
  • Policy brief #3 – Postal Banking System

Our work will include a series of phases to ensure both quality and positive impact. The proofing stage will incorporate salon gatherings with community members and practitioners, three policy briefs, and a design lab to explore and test out theories. Another critical phase will include network-building by creating and maintaining an educational working group on RCI21 and informing our currently established Opportunity Zone working group. Our team additionally hopes to raise awareness through event and media amplification of our content. Lastly, we envision our work being included in policy-making platforms amongst legislators and to be adopted by stakeholders and organizations within and outside the field.

Implications

Now more than ever, we need informed policy-makers who are able to utilize comprehensive research in the legislative process. Reliable research can bolster a more comprehensive and inclusive approach that sparks vital conversation amongst all stakeholders. The policy briefs will be published public resources that can be accessed via digital platforms for use. Their digital format will allow interactive information dissemination and usage for anyone seeking to inform themselves on community investing.

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People on this project

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Lisa Hall

Fellow, Fair Finance
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