Getting Into the Zone

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The Bay Area Council is getting in the zone, the Opportunity Zone, that is. The 2017 federal tax reform created Opportunity Zones, which provide tax benefits for certain investments in economically underserved areas. The Council believes Opportunity Zones can serve an important purpose in attracting investment for new housing and other job-creating activities around the region. On March 21, the Council and member company KPMG partnered to co-host the Bay Area Opportunity Zone Forum, which convened experts from across the country, as well as thought leaders from our region, to discuss how we can best harness this tool to spark new investment in the Bay Area megaregion.

State Treasurer Fiona Ma kicked off the event, which featured a remarkable program and group of participants for an in-depth discussion with local officials from Oakland, San Jose and Stockton, among other cities and community leaders. Confluence Philanthropy CEO Dana Lanza provided context around the philanthropic aspects of OZ investing while KPMG Principle Orla O’Connor shared insights from KPMG’s impressive work in the space. Greg Nelson of the Parker Foundation moderated a discussion with Fran Seegul of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, Nickolas Silbergeld of Calvert Impact Capital and Frank Altman of the Community Reinvestment Investment Fund USA. Jennifer Collins of the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation of Georgetown University presented the Opportunity Zone Reporting Framework. David Bank of Impact Alpha led a discussion alongside a number of the world’s leading consultancies related to impact management (Tideline, Third Sector, SVT Group). In the brief span of time, we covered a lot of ground from the policy inception and political context, to early examples and insights from our nation’s leading philanthropy initiatives, cities, and states, and also insights as for what’s ahead.

The Bay Area Council is actively considering re-opening our family of funds and leveraging this Opportunity Zone incentive with local partners to steer capital and ensure local community priorities are supported by this new incentive. To learn more, please contact Council Community Development Consultant Stephen Malta.

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