Press Release: First Cohort of Fuse Corps Executive Fellows Focused on Opportunity Zones Begin Year-Long Fellowships

Press Release: 7, October 2019

October 7, 2019 — Accelerator for America helped launch the first cohort of FUSE Corps Executive Fellows focused on Opportunity Zones – Gil Keinan, San Bernardino, CA; Stacy Cumberbatch, Riverside, CA; Clair Whitmer, Fresno; and Angeline Johnson, Wichita, KS – who begin their year-long fellowships this month.

The Accelerator has partnered with FUSE to work with the fellows with the goal of helping to attract inclusive investment in the communities in which they are placed. FUSE Corps works with local governments from across the country to co-create year-long fellowship projects based on those communities’ highest priority challenges. On September 27, 2019, Accelerator for America hosted its first ever FUSE Corps training session with this first cohort of fellows at the Economic Innovation Group’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

“We were blown away by the fellows’ energy and strategic minds, and we’re excited to see how they use the tools we shared during this training session to spur economic development and create community wealth,” said Aaron Thomas, Accelerator for America’s Director of Economic Development. Thomas, along with Charlotte White, Program Manager of Economic Development, and the Accelerator’s partner, Bruce Katz, led the training session to educate the fellows on how to use opportunity zones as tools to create community wealth.

"The goal is to make sure Opportunity Zones actually create opportunity for local residents and not just outside investors," said Accelerator CEO and Co-Founder, Rick Jacobs. "These fellows will add expertise and capacity to help local governments steer Opportunity Zone investments to where they have the greatest local benefit. Capital, in terms of dollars, is only part of the equation. We are realizing that local government needs human capital in the form of experts to ensure that investments in underserved communities deliver quality outcomes."

“Having placed executive fellows across the country for the past eight years, we’ve seen the tremendous value of leveraging outside perspectives to create transformational impact in communities. Bringing together public, private, and social sector leaders enables the most meaningful and sustainable solutions to emerge,” said FUSE Corps CEO, James Weinberg.

The City of San Bernardino, where fellow Gil Keinan is placed, previously worked with the Accelerator to create its Investment Prospectus, a tool used to attract investment to underserved communities designated as opportunity zones. Accelerator for America’s Economic Development team will continue to work with and monitor the progress of each fellow over the year-long fellowships.

About Accelerator for America

Founded in 2017 by Rick Jacobs with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Accelerator for America launches and replicates local initiatives to improve people’s lives in communities across the country. The Accelerator developed its Opportunity Zone Investment Prospectus tool to empower local communities to steer private capital toward investments that deliver a return for investors as well as for local residents.

The Accelerator is also working with local governments across the country to generate local infrastructure revenues as an alternative to relying on the unmet federal infrastructure promise. An example is Los Angeles County’s Measure M, which was approved in November 2016 and has generated $120 billion and 465,000 career jobs.

Visit Accelerator for America’s website, here.