Cities participating in the Cities of Service Guiding Opportunities program engage residents and other local stakeholders to create Opportunity Zone investments that benefit local communities. In partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation, the two-year program will support Chief Opportunity Zone Officers in six cities.
Cities of Service provides each city with $25,000 and two years of technical assistance and places two full-time AmeriCorps VISTA members in each city hall to build capacity for resident engagement.
The Federal Government enacted the Opportunity Zone program as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to stimulate economic development and mobility in low-income communities by encouraging investment with tax incentives. The Opportunity Zone program is expected to spur $100 billion in private capital investments, and community engagement is an important part of setting priorities for where and how these new investments are made. Cities of Service AmeriCorps VISTA members, who have a specific focus on increasing the capacity of city hall and fighting poverty, are uniquely qualified to help cities improve outcomes for low-income communities by better engaging their citizens.
With additional resources and capacity from Cities of Service, city leaders can ensure that decision making about Opportunity Zone investments includes community voices and benefits those who need it most.
Guiding Opportunities is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s $5.5 million Opportunity Zone Community Capacity Building Initiative, which will provide the six cities with funding for the Chief Opportunity Zone Officer and technical assistance to help them leverage incentives and structure and support deals.