The Sorenson Impact Center Launches the Opportunity Zones Task Force and Upcoming Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge

Task force, consisting of U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, and others, welcomes input to guide development of transformative Opportunity Zone initiatives


Newswise — Feb. 6, 2019 (SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH)​ — The Sorenson Impact Center, along with its founding partners, the Economic Innovation Group, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE), Beeck Center, and Develop Advisors, today launched The Opportunity Zones Task Force, and forthcoming Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge.

Announced at the opening of the Sorenson Impact Center’s 5t​ h​ annual Winter Innovation Summit, the Opportunity Zones Task Force encourages social impact leaders – community activists, local and national government officials, investors, businesses, NGOs, think tanks, and foundations – to help create a unified vision of best practices and actively support Opportunity Zone efforts to ensure that the people who live and work in Opportunity Zone communities are the true beneficiaries of Opportunity Zone investments.

"In order for opportunity zones to equitably revitalize distressed communities, it is critical to highlight the players championing the intent of the legislation: social and economic impact,” said Jim Sorenson, Impact Investing Pioneer and President of the Sorenson Impact Foundation. “The Sorenson Impact Center and our founding partners are very excited to launch this important work.”

T​he Opportunity Zones legislation is a new community investment tool established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. Opportunity Zones have the ​potential to mobilize an estimated $6.1 trillion in private capital investment towards distressed communities across the

country. If even a fraction of this could be turned into investment capital for Opportunity Zones, the Opportunity Act would become among the largest community development initiatives in history.

The aim of the Task Force and Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge is to spark a social impact movement that will highlight and catalyze community involvement and ignite much-needed cross-sector collaborations that place sustainable growth of distressed communities at the heart of all Opportunity Funds – making them a powerful force for good and driver of economic advancement across the country.

The Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge will implement the common set of guiding principles being announced today by the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center, along with a measurement framework, to provide Opportunity Funds with the tools to thoughtfully deploy capital into the areas that need it most. This national-scale challenge will seek a diverse set of project and applicant types to emphasize the many creative ways that positive community impact can be achieved.

“Early movers and leaders can define the future of the Opportunity Zones market. By honoring these leaders, we hope to send a signal to the market about the importance of a commitment to transparency and a dedication to revitalizing distressed communities,” said Fran Seegull, Executive Director of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance.

The Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge is in the early stages of development, as it the entire field of Opportunity Zones, but more information about the challenge and guidelines for applicants will be revealed in the months ahead as regulatory requirements and social impact measurement parameters are clarified. More information can be found at ​ozcatalyst.org

About the Sorenson Impact Center

The ​Sorenson Impact Center​, housed at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business, is a think-and-do tank that marshals capital for social good, empowers data-driven programs, breaks down silos across sectors, and equips the next generation of leaders with social purpose. To learn more, visit ​www.sorensonimpact.com

About the Economic Innovation Group (EIG)

The Economic Innovation Group (EIG) is an ideas laboratory and advocacy organization whose mission is to advance solutions that empower entrepreneurs and investors to forge a more dynamic American economy. Headquartered in Washington, D.C. and led by an experienced, bipartisan team, EIG convenes leading experts from the public and private sectors, develops original policy research, and works to advance creative legislative proposals that will bring new jobs, investment, and economic growth to communities across the nation. For more information, visit ​eig.org​.

About the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance

The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance is a field building organization committed to raising awareness of impact investing in the United States, fostering deployment of impact capital and working with stakeholders to help build the impact investing ecosystem.

About the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC)

With residents and partners, LISC forges resilient and inclusive communities of opportunities across America-great places to live, work, visit, do business and raise families. Since 1979 LISC has invested $18.6 billion to build or rehab 376,000 affordable homes and apartments and develop 63 million square feet of retail, community, educational and recreational space.

About the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE)

Founded in 2001, BALLE is a nonprofit organization committed to building local economies that work for all, focused on activating local economy ecosystems by connecting leaders, spreading solutions, and shifting capital. BALLE believes local, independently-owned businesses are the key to solving our communities’ toughest challenges and creating healthy, equitable local economies. Learn more at​ ​http://www.bealocalist.org​. Also find BALLE on​ ​Twitter​ and Facebook​.

About the Beeck Center

The Beeck Center at Georgetown engages global leaders to drive social change at scale. Through our research, workshops, classes, and convenings, we provide innovative tools that leverage the power of capital, data, technology and policy to improve lives. We invite a diverse community of thinkers to join us in looking beyond the obvious, to ask the unasked questions and find adaptable solutions in today’s changing world.

About Develop Advisors

Develop Advisors is a new advisory firm that will help investors, developers,
and struggling communities work together to bring fresh capital into “Opportunity Zones” the largest community investment program in a generation, created through the 2017 tax reform law. Develop can be found online at ​www.developadvisors.com​.

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