Rockefeller Launches Opportunity Zone Capacity-Building Initiative

Rockefeller Launches Opportunity Zone Capacity-Building Initiative

The Rockefeller Foundation has announced the launch of a $5.5 million initiative designed to help U.S. cities attract responsible capital into low-wealth communities across the United States.

Through the initiative, six cities will receive funding from the foundation to embed an official in city government or an economic development agency whose job is to track capital investments coming into the city as a result of the Opportunity Zone incentive created in the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The funding also will pay for two community engagement specialists in each city who support and facilitate community involvement in the proposed projects and businesses, as well as two years of support from a national Opportunity Zone technical assistance team that will seek out and leverage local, state, and federal incentives that can help structure and support deals.

Newark, New Jersey, has been selected as the first of the six cities and will receive $950,000 in funding from the foundation and Prudential Financial, working through the Newark Alliance.

"Opportunity Zones have the potential to unlock billions of dollars in innovative job creation and community infrastructure private investment in cities, lifting up Americans who most need this support and preventing their displacement by irresponsible development," said Rockefeller Foundation president Rajiv Shah. "Philanthropy has an important role to play in ensuring Opportunity Zones improve the lives of the residents in distressed communities. Starting with Newark, the Rockefeller Foundation will help empower communities to attract and implement investments that will provide real economic mobility to the greatest numbers of disadvantaged people."

(Photo credit: Rockefeller Foundation)