From Recovery to Resilience: How Opportunity Zones Can Help Accelerate Post-COVID Economic Resurgence

The COVID-19 pandemic presents an unprecedented challenge to all economies. However, pandemics hit underserved and vulnerable populations the hardest, and now the crisis will exacerbate their need for capital. Opportunity Zones—which provide incentives to invest capital gains in distressed communities throughout the United States—are arguably the most significant federal incentive for community development created in the last 50 years, if executed as intended. In a post-COVID world, it will be imperative to invest in our underserved communities’ capacity to serve themselves. Opportunity Zones are one tool to drive this effort.
 
To translate this imperative into effective action, the Milken Institute has developed this playbook to serve as a state and local official training guide for interested communities. It contains 20 ‘plays’ that can be deployed by community leaders to encourage private sector and philanthropic investment in their hometowns.
 
A post-COVID world will require communities to be creative in how they finance development projects and establish resilient local economies. We hope this guide helps to accelerate the recovery of American communities, especially those disproportionately affected by the public health crisis.
 

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Updated/Published September 10, 2020