State & Local Investments

Austin’s Recycling Economic Development Program

Launched in 2014, Austin’s Recycling Economic Development Program aims to attract, retain, and grow zero-waste Austin businesses and entrepreneurs in order to create local jobs and foster a resilient zero-waste ecosystem.  The program includes one-on-one business assistance as well as free marketing on its site to companies involved in recycling, repair, and/or reuse.  To provide affordable space to such enterprises, the city is also redeveloping 100 acres adjacent to a closed landfill site into an eco-industrial park called the Austin [re]Manufacturing Hub.

Austin’s Department of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development

Austin's Department of Neighborhood Housing and Community Development provides housing, community development, and small business development services to City residents to increase opportunities for self-sufficiency.  Its HousingSmarts initiative provides free homebuyer education and foreclosure prevention counseling.  Program graduates are eligible for up to $40,000 in down payment and closing cost assistance, as well as the department’s Match Savings Account Program, where the city provides a $4 match for every $1 saved for the purpose of higher education, purchasing a home, or small business development/expansion.

Newark Housing Authority

Founded in 1938, the Newark Housing Authority (NHA) is charged with providing low-income city residents with decent, safe, and affordable housing.  NHA is the largest public housing authority in New Jersey (and the eleventh largest in the country), with approximately 10,000 housing units and $338 million worth of construction in the pipeline, including new mixed-income housing, renovated public housing, retail development, a vocational training center, a recreation center, and new green space.  To encourage local participation in higher education, the Authority launched Newark College Promise in 2014, a program which provides annual, renewable scholarships to Newark high school seniors living in public housing who have been accepted into a public New Jersey four-year college/university or Essex County College.

Model Neighborhood Initiative

Spearheaded by Mayor Ras Baraka, Newark’s Model Neighborhood Initiative aims to pull together the human and financial resources of government agencies, nonprofits, residents, and other area stakeholders to transform Newark neighborhoods into model communities of prosperity.  Launched in 2014, the program initially targets the Clinton Hill and Lower West Ward neighborhoods.  Anticipated projects will include neighborhood beautification and greening efforts, new home construction and ownership programs for local professionals and artist, small business enhancements along key corridors, small business incubation, and the formation of neighborhood block associations.  The initial phase of the effort will also include a $55 million City investment to repair or construct up to 150 homes in the West Ward and 50 in the South Ward.

Great Streets

Great Streets is the District’s multi-agency commercial revitalization initiative focused on creating thriving, inviting neighborhood centers.  To do so, the initiative awards grants of up to $85,000 to small business owners to improve their place of business. Read more about Great Streets...

New Communities Initiative

Catalyzed in 2005, New Communities Initiative is a District government program designed to revitalize severely distressed subsidized housing and redevelop communities with concentrated poverty, high crime, and economic segregation. Read more about New Communities Initiative...

The City Fund

With a $15 million allocation from the District’s FY 2014 budget, The City Fund was established to award grants to District nonprofits working to support Mayor Vincent Gray’s One City Action Plan goals of growing and diversifying the District’s economy, educating and preparing its workforce for the new economy, and improving the quality of life for all DC residents.  Administered by the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region, the grantmaking program awarded $6 million to more than 80 organizations as of early 2015. Read more about The City Fund...

SustainIndy Community Grant Program

Created by the Indianapolis Office of Sustainability in partnership with the McKinney Family Foundation, the SustainIndy Community Grant Program awards grants of up to $10,000 to support local initiatives that further economic development, ensure environmental integrity, and promote social and cultural vibrancy.  The program specifically targets the grassroots level—i.e., people and groups focused on sustainability, but lacking the tools they need to get started or the capacity to pursue state or federal funding.  To date, the program has held two grant rounds, funding a total of seven projects, including a community nature playspace, community garden, and an employment training program for women ex-offenders.

The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI)

Launched in 2011 in partnership with Hope Credit Union in response to the lack of fresh, healthy foods in many New Orleans neighborhoods, The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI) is a $14 million citywide program to encourage supermarket and grocery store development in low-income, underserved communities.  By providing low-cost financing for capital, real estate and related expenses, FFRI aims to enable operators to open, renovate, or expand retail outlets that sell fresh fruits and vegetables. Read more about The Fresh Food Retailer Initiative (FFRI)...

Co-op Development Fund

To support the expansion of worker cooperatives throughout the City, the New York City Council created a $1.2 million fund, representing the largest investment a U.S. Read more about Co-op Development Fund...

Cultural Funding Program

Established in 1985 to infuse Oakland’s neighborhoods with arts and cultural activities that increase exposure to, understanding of, and respect for diverse cultural heritages; promote activities that engage the community; and support the arts in schools and among youth, Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program helps fund Oakland-based art and cultural activities.  In FY2013-14, the program made 70 grants totaling nearly $1 million. Read more about Cultural Funding Program...

Hamilton County Development Company

Hamilton County Development Company (HCDC) is a nonprofit that supports business growth and job creation in Greater Cincinnati through business incubation, business lending, and economic development programs. Since its inception in 1983, it has approved business loans of over $1 billion, creating over 10,000 new jobs. In 2013 alone, its business incubator housed 47 companies, employing 201 individuals, and graduated seven start-up companies. Moreover, its economic development programs invested $97.7 million in area companies, creating or retaining 1,435 jobs. Read more about Hamilton County Development Company...

The Latest Trends in Sustainable Communities

Gar Alperovitz and Michael Shuman

Democracy Collaborative co-founder Gar Alperovitz joined BALLE co-founder Michael Shuman in a conversation on how to build sustainable communities through inclusive local economic development.

Treading Water in the Deep End

Brooks, Jennifer, Wiedrich, Kasey, Sims, Lebaron Jr. and Medina, Jennifer

The Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) employs its annual Assets and Opportunity Scorecard to assess states’ commitment to reducing financial insecurity. This year’s scorecard measures the pervasiveness and effectiveness of polices that help people learn financial skills, build human capital, increase earnings, create affordable financial products, generate wealth, and protect consumers. CFED ranks states’ outcomes in five issue areas—Financial Assets & Income, Businesses & Jobs, Housing & Homeownership, Health Care, and Education.

Oberlin College Adopts Impact Investing Platform

Likely largest higher education commitment to social investing in nation to date
A few weeks ago, Oberlin College, with an endowment of nearly $700 million, adopted what is likely the largest impact-investing platform to date by a college or university in the United States. Although Oberlin is just one institution, the decision provides a hopeful sign of an accelerating institutional shift toward greater socially responsible investment practices. A tremendous opportunity exists. Higher education as a sector controls more than $400 billion in endowment assets.