Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities


The Case for Rent as a Credit Builder in Affordable Housing

By Devin Thompson and Renise Walker For low-income families, a strong credit history can be the difference between stabilizing their financial outlook and having to pay $200,000 more over their lifetime for the typical financial services that those in the financial mainstream take for…

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Capital Magnet Fund: A Smart Solution for Affordable Housing

We can say with growing certainty that the economy is in recovery. Unemployment, the stock market, and other economic indicators have reached pre-recession levels. However, millions of low-income American families are still struggling to find stable, affordable housing. According to a…

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The Momentum – And Need for Clarity – in Impact Investing

By William Burckart This piece is based on Mr. Burckart’s three-part blog series in Next Billion. You can read parts one, two, and three here. In many ways, impact investing is on a winning streak. Consider a few recent milestones that illustrate the sector’s growing momentum: In Marc…

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The Promise of Pay For Success in Early Childhood

By Andrew Brodsky Research has shown that effective early childhood programs can have dramatic impacts on the lives of high-needs children. Now, innovative financing mechanisms are harnessing the power of investments in early childhood, providing new funding sources to improve outcome…

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Guiding Principles for Community Investments that Promote Health

By Laudan Aron This post originally appeared on the Urban Institute’s MetroTrends blog Thankfully, the profound connections between healthy human development and the social and economic conditions of our daily lives are starting to gain more widespread recognition and attention. The N…

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Using Pay for Success to Enable Healthy Housing Choices

By Dan Rinzler, Mary Cunningham, and Phil Tegeler This post originally appeared on The Challenge: Concentrated Poverty is Bad for Health Neighborhoods play a central role in brokering Americans’ access to opportunity, and their exposure to environmental risks. It fo…

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A New Approach to Engaging High-Poverty Communities

By Susan Neufeld, Vice President of Resident Programs and Services, BRIDGE Housing and Emily Weinstein, Director of Potrero Community and Housing Development, BRIDGE Housing This post originally appeared on the Partners in Progress Blog. BRIDGE and San Francisco State University’s Hea…

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Moving From Needs to Assets: How Hospitals Can Address the Social Determinants of Health

What happens inside America’s hospitals will not improve the health of our population, at least not by itself. Social and economic factors such as quality education, adequate employment, affordable housing and exposure to crime – just a few examples of social determinants of health – …

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The LIIF Social Impact Calculator: A New Approach to Measuring Impact

By Nancy O. Andrews and Dan Rinzler Today, the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) announces the launch of its Social Impact Calculator, a first-of-its-kind tool that allows us to monetize—or put a dollar amount on—the social impact of our investments in low-income communities. For LIIF…

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Building Health Communities: Interview with Tony Iton (Part 1)

Building Healthy Communities (BHC) is a 10-year, $1 billion program of The California Endowment (TCE) to help 14 low income communities across the state take action to improve health in the places they live. The following interview explores the initiative’s inception, progress, and le…

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About The Project

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a joint project of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Low Income Investment Fund.

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The views expressed in this book and on this website do not necessarily reflect the views of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Federal Reserve System, or the Low Income Investment Fund.

Tell Us What Works

The ideas in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities are just a start. We want to hear about what’s working in your community. Tell us about innovative ideas for addressing poverty and share examples of people and places that inspire you. We want to share these ideas and spark conversation about how to create opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Tell Us What Works

Funding for this project was generously provided to the Low Income Investment Fund by the Citi Foundation.