In the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, a new incentive to invest in low wealth communities, and potentially in CDFIs directly, has been created: the Opportunity Zone program.
OFN President and CEO Lisa Mensah participated in early discussions about the Opportunity Zone program with the Ford Foundation, Economic Innovation Group, and others. Advocates convinced Congress to include it in the tax legislation that is now law. Enterprise Community Partners, LISC and several other OFN members have been leaders in developing resources explaining this new program.
Check out the following resources for more information:
Stay tuned for OFN updates, but in the meantime, there is one action OFN encourages you to take immediately. Governors in every state must decide by mid to late March which communities will be designated as Opportunity Zones. LISC has identified key criteria that is urging governors to use in designating their state's opportunity zones (see page 4 of the LISC fact sheet).LISC's set of recommendations can serve as a template for a communication from your CDFI to your state's governor. OFN encourages you to review the LISC recommendations, adapt it to your state's circumstances and submit it to your state's governor and economic development officials as soon as possible.
If you have questions about the Opportunity Zone program or this action request, please contact me.