Essays on People, Place & Purpose

Investing in What Works for America's Communities

Ideas That Work

It’s Harder to Get Affordable Housing Than to Get Into Harvard

A recent Planet Money story demonstrates just how hard it is to get affordable housing if you’re poor—it’s even harder than getting into the nation’s most elite universities. The story profiles Shanay, a mother with a six-year-old daughter in Connecticut, who after a long period witho…

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In South Dallas, Local Leaders are Driving Big Changes

Dallas is known for big business, big houses, big hair and a big can-do spirit. Perhaps lesser known is its big, rapidly growing poverty rate – the third highest among the nation’s largest cities. At a time when national leaders seem polarized and paralyzed, local leaders are taking a…

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How Can We Give Children the Best Chance to Succeed?

Segregation and place-based inequality hurt our children’s future health and prosperity. A steady stream of studies continues to show that where a child grows up is one of the strongest predictors of her health and economic success (e.g., “Growing Up in a Bad Neighborhood Does More Ha…

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Huffington Post Op-Ed on the Community Reinvestment Act

A recent op-ed by Mark Pinsky, President and CEO of Opportunity Finance Network, examines the Community Reinvestment Act’s (CRA) declining influence. Enacted by Congress in 1977, the CRA encouraged banks to reinvest in the communities they serve and was intended to address years…

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Community Organizations are Key to Moving Individuals and Neighborhoods out of Poverty

Eighteen months ago, Change Capital Fund (CCF) initiated a four-year, $5 million investment in five New York City nonprofits and community-based organizations that it believes are best able to reach local residents who are disconnected from the city’s affluence and opportunity and can…

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A Chance to Succeed: Housing Mobility Programs Help Families Move to Healthy Communities

Baltimore spent much of 2015 transfixed by the case of Freddie Gray’s death. This incident spotlighted the city’s questionable police practices and the woeful state of the Sandtown-Winchester neighborhood where Gray lived, an area plagued by decades of poverty and violence, where half…

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What Works News Round-Up – February 3, 2016

In the News Here is some of the latest poverty and community development news from this past week. Citylab (2/2/16) Are Poor Neighborhoods Worse for Boys Than Girls? How adults in the U.S. fare economically depends, to a large extent, on the quality of the neighborhoods they grew up i…

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Introducing The Social Impact Calculator 2.0

Last year, the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF) launched the Social Impact Calculator, a free and open source tool to assess the social impact of community investments. Since then, we have received numerous questions about the tool, and have also learned about other efforts to measur…

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Transit’s Role in Building Equitable Communities

Transit is about more than getting people from point A to point B – it’s a way to connect people to jobs, education, health care, critical services and more. Transit agencies, planners, and community developers increasingly recognize that boosting access to transit is a powerful tool …

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What Does it Take to Create a Financially Healthy America?

Three years ago, we released Investing in What Works for America’s Communities, which included a resounding call for integrated efforts to address poverty in America’s communities. Recognizing that we are strongest when we work together, the book was a call for leaders from the public…

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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.