Opportunity Zones promise to drive billions—even trillions—of dollars in long-term investment into low-income urban and rural census tracts across the country. The goal of this new incentive, part of the 2017 Tax Reform and Jobs Act, is to achieve a double bottom line: fueling inclusive local economies in communities that benefit the people who live and work there, and providing a solid return to investors.
But to make that happen, community stakeholders, state and local government leaders, investors and developers must work together to engage responsibly with this powerful but untested tool, and to help create the kinds of communities that benefit residents and the U.S. economy as a whole. For community stakeholders, that engagement demands careful, collaborative and inclusive planning, establishing incentives and guardrails for investment, collecting metrics on community impact, and reporting on outcomes in a transparent and accessible manner.
This playbook, targeted to community partners, is the first in a LISC series that aims to lay out possible trajectories and best practices for the range of Opportunity Zone (OZ) actors.
We are grateful for the support of the Council of Development Finance Agencies (CDFA), who lent their insight and experience to assembling the playbook.
And we are indebted to the Ford Foundation for their support of this work.