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Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones
Opportunity Zones were established in 2017 to encourage investment in low- to moderate-income communities


Opportunity Zones were established by Congress in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to encourage long-term investments in low-income urban and rural communities nationwide. The Opportunity Zones provision was based on the bipartisan Investing in Opportunity Act, which was championed by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Representatives Pat Tiberi (R-OH) and Ron Kind (D-WI), who led a regionally and politically diverse coalition of nearly 100 congressional cosponsors.


52.3 million Americans live in economically distressed communities


Over two-thirds of job growth comes from small businesses, for whom the most important variable for success is access to capital


Between 2000 and 2016, three-quarters of net job growth occurred in a narrow selection of metro areas, resulting in inequalities across the country

What Is an Opportunity Zone?

Opportunity Zones are low-income census tracts nominated by governors and certified by the U.S. Department of the Treasury into which investors can now put capital to work financing new projects and enterprises in exchange for certain federal capital gains tax advantages. The country now has over 8,700 Opportunity Zones in every state and territory.

What Are Qualified Opportunity Funds?

Qualified Opportunity Funds are private sector investment vehicles that invest at least 90 percent of their capital in qualifying assets in Opportunity Zones.

Focus on Localizing

  • Identify and address local implementation barriers, including those created by regulation or tax policy

  • Facilitate investment through Qualified Opportunity Funds that support local infrastructure and public works projects

  • Help build public sector capacity to accelerate Opportunity Zone implementation

Focus on Collaborating

  • Promote regional and multisector collaboration to mitigate gentrification and displacement risks

  • Facilitate investment through Qualified Opportunity Funds that leverage existing economic development programs

  • Partner with local institutions to efficiently execute high-potential investments

Helping to Shape the Rules of the Road

We develop specific case studies and vignettes to help policy makers, investors, and community leaders to accelerate the Opportunity Zone initiative and maximize social impact.

Learn More
From Recovery to Resilience: How Opportunity Zones Can Help Accelerate Post-COVID Economic Resurgence
Read the Report
Access to Capital: A Challenge for Small and Minority Businesses

Listen as Aron Betru, managing director of the Center for Financial Markets, discusses the challenges small and minority business owners face gaining access to capital for their businesses on the National Urban League's podcast, For the Movement.

Listen to the Podcast
How 11 Million Minority-Owned Firms Can Close the Wealth Gap and Drive the U.S. Economy

The US Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency, in collaboration with the Milken Institute, convened prominent scholars, economists and business leaders to combine research efforts in support of the growth and expansion of minority business enterprises.

Read the news release