The Center for Community Investment (CCI) announced today the launch of Connect Capital.
Connect Capital is an initiative that assists communities to attract and deploy capital at scale to improve residents’ health and increase their access to opportunity. With a focus on equity, Connect Capital concentrates not only on individual projects but also on laying the necessary groundwork to achieve results at scale. Connect Capital helps participating teams to establish shared priorities across stakeholders, create pipelines of investable projects, and strengthen the policies and practices required to achieve the desired results.
“Connect Capital is a way to make capital flow to places where it doesn’t go on its own, to address the shortage of affordable housing, reduce health disparities, or minimize the impact of flooding on vulnerable places,” explains Robin Hacke, Executive Director of CCI.
Six teams have been competitively selected to participate in Connect Capital. Teams consist of local leaders across a range of sectors and disciplines, including sewer districts, community clinics, foundations, local government and neighborhood associations, who together tackle problems that are considered by residents to be critical to the well-being of the community. The teams are based in Central Appalachia; Coachella Valley, California; Miami, Florida; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; Richmond, Virginia; and Seattle, Washington.
With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), Connect Capital provides each team with a suite of supports including customized coaching, facilitated peer learning, and a two-year, $200,000 grant from RWJF to fund a local staff position dedicated to advancing the team’s work.
“Public officials, community developers, and many others have been working in low-income communities for years, but they haven’t always worked together,” said Amy Gillman, RWJF Senior Program Officer. “Connect Capital aims to align their work and help communities thrive by intentionally building powerful and effective investment systems.”
The six Connect Capital teams are:
Central Appalachia (multi-state): In response to the region’s long history of inequitable economic practices and resource extraction, the Connect Capital team is working to diversify local economies and create good jobs by identifying opportunities and attracting new investment from mission-driven investors.
Coachella Valley, California: The Connect Capital team is leading an ambitious effort to develop and preserve affordable and mixed-income housing in a region where nearly 55 percent of residents spend more than 30 percent of their annual income on housing, including many immigrants employed in the area’s agricultural and service industries.
Miami, Florida: In the face of skyrocketing housing costs, the Connect Capital team is working to develop and preserve housing that is affordable and located in areas of opportunity that are convenient to transit and meets the City’s resiliency goals.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin: The Connect Capital team is developing a strategy to systematically leverage investments in flood management to benefit disinvested neighborhoods, including the establishment of new green spaces, bike and pedestrian pathways, and revitalization of commercial corridors.
Richmond, Virginia: To help reduce the health and economic disparities that plague Richmond’s low-income residents, the Connect Capital team is accelerating the development of housing designed to be affordable to residents at all income levels and to increase access to opportunity.
Seattle, Washington: As rising sea levels and increased rainfall reshape Seattle’s geography, the Connect Capital team is leveraging investments from a range of stakeholders to prevent and lessen the impact of climate change on neighbors and workers at risk of displacement and create community health and equity based solutions that can be applied in other areas facing similar challenges.