Introduction

Why would community developers build housing in communities cut off from good schools, jobs, transportation, parks, and the resources that people need to thrive and succeed? If we are trying to build safe, healthy and prosperous neighborhoods simply building affordable housing is not the answer. To be resilient and sustainable, housing must be more than affordable. It must connect people to opportunities that enable them to participate, prosper, and achieve their full potential through a commitment to transform those communities into places that offer residents prospects for upward mobility.

Resilient and Sustainable Neighborhoods

Community-led policies in housing, health, education, and economic development are required to create strong, resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and prosperous communities. This shift in focus from building affordable housing to building equitable and sustainable communities of opportunity with affordable housing as the centerpiece is the goal. Through community-led development, impact investment, new collaborations, and important policy changes are advancing affordable housing and economic development as a platform for connecting residents to opportunity. 

The Power of Community-Led Development

Community-led economic development has the ability to create resilient and sustainable inner‐city communities that include strengthening and in some cases creating local economies at the neighborhood level. This will require the stabilization and regeneration of neighborhood business districts that will contribute to resident wealth‐building through inclusive investing by fostering local retail entrepreneurship as one part of a multi‐front strategy for creating a neighborhood‐based economy. This will be done in collaboration with our community partners that will provide technical assistance and impact investments.   

Real Estate Development and Entrepreneurship

Using a combination of commercial and residential real estate development with a focus on entrepreneurship to increase the support and capacity needed to maximize the potential for effective revitalization, transformation, and long-term success of neighborhood commercial corridors (NCCs). A multi‐front approach is required to achieve the expected outcomes. We understand and acknowledge that all issues may not be immediately solvable ‐‐ if ever, but working toward better neighborhood living and working conditions MATTERS and improvements can be made. 

Building and Strengthening Commercial Corridors 

Neighborhood Commercial Corridors (NCCs) are focused on satisfying the day‐to‐day convenience shopping needs of a neighborhood and typically contain several small stores and an anchor grocery or variety store with an increasing number of national chains and franchises along a major two-way transportation artery. Micro‐enterprises generally 5 or fewer employees and less than $50,000 in capital financing needs are normally family-owned and managed, sole‐proprietors: retail, food, craft, consulting, and service-oriented enterprises these are the enterprises that will transform inner-city communities.

Crowdfunding Creates a Paradigm Shift in Capital Formation

Crowdfunding in its many forms will be the catalyst for significant changes in both community organizing and economic development. I remember my days as a community organizer when the only funds that we could look forward to were from the government or philanthropy, so there were no community-led economic development projects. We would organize and then agonize over when and if some entity was going to fund our project. Today, through crowdfunding we are able to organize and raise capital for our projects. We will be able to demonstrate that as  a community organization, we have the ability to gain community traction, validate the project and run our capital side-by-side with the funding organization.  

The Power of Crowdfunding   

Crowdfunding has completely transformed the community organizing space by providing a capital raising component through inclusive investing that empowers the community to lead economic development projects as a led investor. Crowdfunding coupled with place-based impact investing from philanthropy and government transforms the relationship from asking for funds to investing in projects by running community capital parallel to philanthropy and government.

Key Takeaways

As more communities embrace crowdfunding and its ability to empower both individuals and communities through inclusive investing and wealth building it will become a growth industry. If you want to learn more about crowdfunding and grab a FREE copy of the eBook “The Crowdfunding Essentials please visit ProjectCrowd.co!