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On Monday, Fortune 500 company Erie Insurance, the city’s largest employer, announced its new $50 million Opportunity Fund. The first investment will support the creation of a food hall for nine local vendors; one of the 14 projects and businesses that Erie’s Flagship Opportunity Zone Co. announced last month. The food hall will anchor a broader $30 million transformation of the city’s North Park Row into a culinary arts district, which project sponsors Erie Downtown Development Corporation anticipate will create approximately 240 jobs. 
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Known as the national "do-tank," Accelerator for America will lead interactive discussions on investment ready projects and conduct workshops on investment tools and incentives to make sound investments in Erie. The CEO and Founder of Accelerator for America is already here in town, getting a look at Erie for the first time.
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Accelerator is putting boots on the ground all over America -- Literally. Read our August newsletter here!
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Many Americans see the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act as a windfall for the wealthy. But a piece of legislation within it, the Investing in Opportunity Act, has the potential to be a game changer for distressed communities in all 50 states... [N]onprofit leaders are stepping up to balance investors' interests with positive community involvement....The MasterCard Center for Inclusive Growth launched a million-dollar partnership with Accelerator for America to arm city leaders with data to attract investments.
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An entire constellation of organizations and resources have crystallized around realizing Opportunity Zones’ potential. Emphasizing the need for policymakers to provide stakeholders with the tools and resources to attract investors and advocate for community interests, the Impact Investing Alliance collaborated with the Beeck Center at Georgetown University to create the Opportunity Zones Reporting Framework, which is designed to help Opportunity Funds measure the impact of their investments. Other resources include Accelerator for America’s Investment Prospectus Guide, Smart Growth America’s Equitable Investment Atlas, the Urban Institute’s tract-level data and state by state analysis, and the Opportunity Exchange’s marketplace of proposed community investment projects.
Anu Varadharajan & Michelle Thompson
Our Opportunity Zone toolkit and work encourages a diverse array of stakeholders to develop a cities' investment prospectus. This podcast from Opportunity Database and Michelle Thompson of the Mastercard Center For Inclusive Growth discusses academia's role and notes our work to convene government, investors, non-profits and others across America to lift local communities.
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Accelerator for America is 20 months old. We are now engaged all across America. Check out our July newsletter.
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Opportunity Alabama’s efforts have served to turn Alabama into an epicenter for OZ-driven investment, underscored by the presence of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti at the announcement of the American Life Building project, as well as a national summit on OZ impact tracking that was held in Birmingham this past week.
Source: Economic Innovation Group (2018 Distressed Community Index)
Thanks to the work of the Economic Innovation Group, Accelerator for America, and the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, there are more ways for participants to share best practices, but philanthropic support of capacity-building organizations will be critical to the program’s long-term success.
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Katz has been intimately involved with the nonprofit Accelerator for America, the brainchild of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, which brings Silicon Valley-like support in the form of networks, mentorship, and capital to civic entrepreneurs on the front lines of building ladders to the middle class. Their slogan reads: “With Washington broken, local innovators are taking action.”