The foundation of CCI’s work is the capital absorption framework, which describes three core functions that we think must be performed for a community to unlock the investments it needs to thrive.
Formulating shared priorities is a critical step in galvanizing and focusing the energy required to make community investments happen at scale and with impact. Making thoughtful choices about shared priorities is the cornerstone of an effort to unlock community investments.
Thinking about investment opportunities in terms of a pipeline of projects moves a community more efficiently, quickly, and successfully toward the achievement of its shared priorities. Analyzing a community’s pipeline helps to diagnose what is happening in the system and consider avenues to resolve issues.
The enabling environment includes everything in a community’s ecosystem—actors, policies, resource flows, relationships, skills, behaviors, etc.—that accelerates or impedes deals. To effectively advance shared priorities and pipelines, the environment should be shaped to ensure that it fosters, rather than inhibits, the realization of a community’s vision.
In 2012, we released the first version of Community Investment: Focusing on the System, which made the case for having a shared understanding of community goals, a set of deals and projects that will help achieve those goals, and the policies, practices, and relationships that can make those deals and projects happen.
Over the past seven years, we’ve learned more about what it takes to build and improve those functions in a place. We’ve tested the framework in workshops across the country, and applied it with teams in Detroit, Los Angeles, the Bay Area, and Denver, as well as a dozen communities participating in our Connect Capital and Accelerating Investments for Healthy Communities initiatives.
We’re now pleased to release three new briefs that dive more deeply into the each of the core functions, examining what they look like, why they matter, how to work on them, and what hurdles might get in the way. Each piece includes a story about how a team has worked on the function in their own community.
- Defining Shared Priorities
- Identifying, Analyzing, and Executing a Pipeline
- Strengthening the Enabling Environment
We hope these briefs provide inspiration and a helpful starting point for capital absorption work in your community. If you have questions, or have tried applying the framework, we’d love to hear your stories at @c4cinvest or firstname.lastname@example.org!