It seems the road to OZ may not be paved with good intentions.
For two years, investors and neighborhood leaders in cities around the country have responded to economic Opportunity Zones (OZs) with hope and hesitation.
The Accelerator for America organization is less than two years old, but it's already counting a recently announced project in Oklahoma City as one of its victories.
A new alliance of city officials from across the country hailed Oklahoma City as a model for community development and promotion of inner-city projects using opportunity zone incentives.
Above the fold in Sunday’s New York Times was a blistering piece on Opportunity Zones: “How a Trump Tax Break to Help Poor Communities Became a Windfall for the Rich.” The article is grounded in evidence and a depressing account of parasitic capitalism that generates wealth for just a few people. The brutal truth is that extracting value from poor communities has been a windfall for the rich for a long time. Since 1947, wealthy Americans (families at the 95th percentile) have generally experienced rising incomes, while poor families (those in the 20th percentile) have seen their incomes stagnate. Today, inequality in the U.S. is at a hundred-year high.
Accelerator for America today announced the following new members of its Advisory Council: Mayor Quentin Hart, Waterloo, IA; Mayor David Holt, Oklahoma City, OK; Mayor Andy Schor, Lansing, MI; Councilmember (at-large) Amanda Edwards, Houston, TX; Larry Jacob, VP of Public Affairs, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation; Shamina Singh, President and Founder, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth
On Monday, Fortune 500 company Erie Insurance, the city’s largest employer, announced its new $50 million Opportunity Fund. The first investment will support the creation of a food hall for nine local vendors; one of the 14 projects and businesses that Erie’s Flagship Opportunity Zone Co. announced last month. The food hall will anchor a broader $30 million transformation of the city’s North Park Row into a culinary arts district, which project sponsors Erie Downtown Development Corporation anticipate will create approximately 240 jobs.
Known as the national "do-tank," Accelerator for America will lead interactive discussions on investment ready projects and conduct workshops on investment tools and incentives to make sound investments in Erie. The CEO and Founder of Accelerator for America is already here in town, getting a look at Erie for the first time.
Accelerator is putting boots on the ground all over America -- Literally. Read our August newsletter here!