2nd Quarter MATH Briefing: Opportunity Zones – Realizing the Potential


2nd Quarter MATH Briefing: Opportunity Zones – Realizing the Potential

June 1, 2021 |

Capitol Hill
Washington, DC 20004
United States

The “Opportunity Zones” established by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act last year created a great potential for encouraging investment in low- to moderate- income communities across the United States.  Now that the states have designated their specific zones for investment, the focus turns to maximizing the potential results of this policy: increasing job creation and building wealth in areas that need it most.  This briefing will focus on strategies for action and the role that Congress can play in realizing the potential gains that will come from unlocking the pool of unrealized capital gains, estimated at $6.1 trillion.


 Opportunity Zones: Overview and Recommendations (PDF)



Aron Betru is Managing Director of the Center for Financial Markets at the Milken Institute, where he leads strategic initiatives focused on expanding and leveraging resources to enhance social impact. Prior to joining the Institute, Betru was co-founder and CEO of Financing for Development, where he pioneered ways to leverage guarantee-backed financing of public health commodities, mobilizing millions of dollars in commercial lending for malaria and trade financing for reproductive health. Betru has had international development roles at the United Nations Foundation and Dalberg Global Development Advisors as well as private-sector experience at McKinsey & Co. and Goldman Sachs.

Manny Friedman is CEO and co-CIO of EJF Capital, which he co-founded in 2005 following his retirement from Friedman, Billings, Ramsey Group, Inc. (now known as Arlington Asset Investment Corporation). He is a founder and the former co-chairman and co-CEO of FBR. He has more than 40 years of capital markets and asset management experience. Throughout the 1990s, he was active in building out FBR's alternative asset management platform. He was instrumental in the creation of hedge, private equity and venture capital funds of FBR, and maintains an extensive network of contacts within the CDO, hedge fund and private equity fund communities.

John Lettieri is Co-Founder and President of the Economic Innovation Group where he leads EIG’s policy development, economic research, and legislative affairs efforts. Prior to joining EIG, he served in a variety of roles in both the public and private sectors, including as head of public policy for a leading trade association and aide to former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel.

For questions, please contact Matthew Aleshire, Associate Director, Government Affairs at maleshire@milkeninstitute.org.