Impact Management | June 13, 2019

Investors to Treasury: Collect our Opportunity Zone data

Dennis Price
ImpactAlpha Editor

Dennis Price

ImpactAlpha, June 13 – U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is said to believe that impact metrics will “kill” Opportunity Zones. Nearly 70 organizations and Opportunity Zone investors including Arctaris Impact Fund, Blueprint Local, Calvert Impact Capital, KPMG, LISC and the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance disagree.

In an open letter, the investors call on the Treasury Department to adopt a reporting framework for investments in designated Opportunity Zones. “Measuring the full impact of this policy requires the adoption of a thoughtful data collection framework,” said John Lettieri of Economic Innovation Group, which led the effort.

  • Shooting in the dark. Previous place-based programs, including Enterprise Zones and Renewal Communities, suffered from inadequate data making it hard to assess their effectiveness. “This is why timely and thoughtful measurement and transparency are key to evaluating the impact of the Opportunity Zones incentive,” the investors write.
  • Basic data. The group is calling on Treasury to adopt a reporting framework proposed last month in bipartisan bills and to collect and make public the data, including the number of funds and their size, along with impact metrics like job creation, poverty reduction and new business starts. It would also require data on the amount, location and destination of investments into businesses, property or other assets.