Two Years.

Today marks exactly two years since Accelerator for America first gathered around the idea that, despite the dysfunction in Washington, D.C., local leadership can and should create national change from the ground up.
The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 contained a bipartisan amendment with a new economic development incentive to spur private investment in 8,762 low-income census tracts designated by states as Opportunity Zones. We analyze the top five percent of job-dense zones. These zones are important because they act as employment centers, giving them some degree of market traction. Yet, ninety-seven percent of these zones are in federally designated Low Income Communities, meaning at least 20% of their residents are living in poverty.
The Governance Project (TGP), Accelerator for America and Drexel University’s Nowak Metro Finance Lab announce today, the release of “Opportunity Zones and Urban Revitalization: a place-based approach to the emerging market.” The first-of-its-kind analysis reveals new insights and tools to best foster inclusive local development in communities across the country.
On Wednesday, the city of Dayton and Accelerator for America hosted “Gem City Rising: Economic Resiliency and Renewal in Dayton.” The event, at the downtown Dayton Metro Library, featured multiple speakers, panels and presentations about economic conditions, opportunities and financial tools in Dayton and was attended by more than 100 people, including developers, community leaders and entrepreneurs.
Gem City
“We get to see Dayton for what Dayton is. We get to see Dayton for what Dayton’s going to be, and we get, in success, both to help attract local investors to think better about what you have here, which is pretty amazing,” said Rick Jacobs, CEO of Accelerator for America.
National, regional, local real estate investors, developers, economic development professionals and policymakers were all present at the Downtown Dayton Metro Library, for "Gem City Rising".
To showcase recent improvements to the city, Dayton held Gem City Rising in Downtown. Dayton welcomed national, regional, and local real estate investors and developers to showcase their recent and future developments to illustrate the city’s momentum.
In December 2017, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a program known as opportunity zones. The purpose is to provide tax incentives, as well as temporary tax deferral on capital gains, when investors reinvest gains in opportunity zone funds. In return, the money is used for investment in qualifying census tract communities, also known as opportunity zones.
The Investing in Opportunity Act, consisting of a handful of pages slipped inside the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, incentivizes private investment in Opportunity Zones—qualified areas in some of the nation’s poorest communities—by offsetting capital gains. But the act galloped into law before guardrails were in place to ensure it works as intended.
On a visit to West Chicago earlier this year, the two of us had a chance to tour the Illinois Medical District and surrounding neighborhoods and participate in a discussion about Opportunity Zones organized by Accelerator for America and Anna Valencia, Chicago’s dynamic city clerk.