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Five cities join Rockefeller Foundation-backed Opportunity Zone ‘academy’

ImpactAlpha, Sept. 17 – Rockefeller Foundation wants to ensure Opportunity Zone investments in real estate and operating businesses deliver more than just tax-advantaged returns to investors.

Its new National Opportunity Zones Academy, created with a $400,000 grant to Smart Growth America and its LOCUS program, will support community leaders in Chicago, Miami, Seattle, Pittsburgh and Norfolk to build networks of peers and attract responsible investment for projects that also generate economic stability and mobility for local residents.

An Atlanta “anti-displacement” fund, for example, offsets income tax increases for working class homeowners,

“While we have great hope and faith” in the potential of Opportunity Zones, Rockfeller’s Otis Rolley told ImpactAlpha. “We have focused our attention of community capacity building to really make sure that these deals bring the necessary positive benefits to communities.”

Last week, Rockefeller Foundation awarded $3.7 million in grants to Washington DC, Oakland, Dallas and St. Louis to drive responsible private investment in Opportunity Zones, including funding for a Chief Opportunity Zone Officer. In May, the foundation made similar $920,000 grants to Newark and Atlanta.

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