Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities


Wanted: Suburban Quarterbacks

By Alan Berube and Natalie Holmes This post originally appeared on the Confronting Suburban Poverty in America website. During our travels around the country, we’re often confronted with the question, “Is suburban poverty better or worse than urban poverty?” A good one-word answer is:…

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Pay for Success: Innovating our Way out of Poverty

Despite the many great examples of community transformation highlighted in Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, deep poverty persists—20.4 million American’s live below half the poverty line—in neighborhoods across the United States. In my view, this is partially because…

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Measuring the Impact of Anchor Institutions in Building More Sustainable Communities

By Ted Howard, Executive Director of the Democracy Collaborative. Universities, hospitals and other “anchor institutions” wield considerable economic power in a community. The numbers are widely available, but astonishing nonetheless. Combined, hospitals and universities are responsib…

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Health, Income, Neighborhoods, Cities: They’re All Connected

By Ellen Seidman, Senior Fellow at the Urban Institute and Contributing Editor of Investing In What Works for America’s Communities. Two recent New York Times stories caught my eye because they reinforce important themes about the need for “connections,” as described in What Wor…

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When Work is More Than a Job

By Carla Javits, President of REDF (also known as The Roberts Enterprise Development Fund). REDF  is a San Francisco-based venture philanthropy organization that creates jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work.           REDF believes in the p…

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Is there a common theme that unites the CDC sector?

By Joe Kriesberg,  President and CEO of the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC). You can email Joe at . This post originally appeared on the MACDC blog. What does an organization supporting fisherman have in common with one that’s cle…

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How Health Impact Assessments Can Inform Healthy Developments

By Pilar Lorenzana-Campo, MEP, senior planner and program director for planning and development at ChangeLab Solutions. Pilar develops innovative and practical solutions around access to transit, affordable housing, opportunities for play and recreation, and nutrition. Follow ChangeLa…

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Defying the Odds: Academic Achievement in Newark

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman recently examined a report comparing more than 100 U.S. schools with their international counterparts. On the surface, the results seem disheartening—middle-class American students are lagging behind not only kids with similar backgrounds in ot…

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Sometimes You Just Have to Demand What You Need

Christopher Sikes is the CEO of Common Capital. He has directed the organization to provide economic sustainability for individuals and the community since 1989. How often do we really need something and go without it because we don’t think we can get it? “Why bother?” is a too freque…

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Using Smart Data to Target Community Investing

By Don Hinkle-Brown, CEO of The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a national leader in rebuilding distressed towns and cities through the smart use of capital and information. Follow him on Twitter @Don_HB. In the field of community investing and the larger field of impact investing, combining…

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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.