Obama Administration Names Final Round of Promise Zone Communities
The Obama Administration today named the final nine Promise Zones across the country – high poverty areas in select urban, rural and tribal communities. Through the Promise Zone Initiative, the Federal government will work strategically with local leaders to boost economic activity and job growth, improve educational opportunities, reduce crime and leverage private investment to improve the quality of life in these vulnerable areas.
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Nashville, Tennessee
- Evansville, Indiana
- South Los Angeles, California
- San Diego, California
- Southwest Florida Regional Planning Commission
- Spokane Tribe of Indians, Washington
- Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians, Rolette County, North Dakota
- Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Julián Castro traveled to Atlanta to make the announcement while U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the new Promise Zone in Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico on Friday. In addition, a host of other senior Administration officials made individual announcements in the other Promise Zones.
Racial and ethnic minorities made up 21 percent of rural residents in 2014. Hispanics (who may be of any race) and Asians are the fastest growing minority groups in the United States as a whole and in rural areas. Over 2010-14, the rural Hispanic population increased 9.2 percent, and their share of the total rural population rose from 7.5 to 8.2 percent. Asians and Pacific Islanders represent a small share of the rural population—about 1 percent—but their population grew by 18 percent between 2010 and 2014, while rural Native American and Black populations grew at more modest rates. This is in contrast to the rural non-Hispanic White population, which declined by 1.7 percent between 2010 and 2014. Overall rural population loss (which was -0.2 percent for the period) would have been much higher if not for the growth in the rural racial and ethnic minority groups. Rural minorities tend to be younger on average and have larger families than non-Hispanic Whites, and this, along with net migration, is reflected in the varying growth rates.
Public officials in Minnesota and across the nation are scrambling to head off a proposal they say would deliver a devastating blow to their ability to fund infrastructure and economic development projects.
No child in this country should grow up in poverty. And as a new analysis by USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) makes clear, to end that injustice we must do more to tackle growing income inequality. The study found that rising income inequality explains an overwhelming 93 percent of the increase in rural child poverty between 2003 and 2014. As the report notes, income inequality was considerably higher in 2014 than in 2003 in both urban and rural areas. Over the past seven years, USDA and the Obama Administration’s work to bring economic opportunity to rural America has produced concrete results: rural areas are seeing income growth; two-thirds of rural communities have demonstrated job growth; and for the first time in years, rural areas are gaining population rather than losing residents. But this new research on the pervasive effects of income inequality underscores that broader Administration priorities, like raising the minimum wage, must be part of any comprehensive approach to rural poverty.
With the warmer weather, the Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food (KYF2) Initiative also brings warm greetings and many exciting announcements. At USDA, we just wrapped up KYF2/Organics Month, during which we launched a number of new local and regional food system activities and also enhanced our existing resources. The Department kicked off the month by publishing the latest installment of our Results project, summarizing the major achievements we’ve made on local and regional food systems since the founding of KYF2 in 2009. And we launched a brand new version of our website.
USDA has joined forces with Wholesome Wave, a national non-profit working to increase affordable access to local produce, to offer free online interactive training to help funders of all stripes better understand what these food businesses have to offer the bottom line. We’ve already begun training USDA staff at all levels, and now we’re making the free online training available to the public so funders and investors everywhere can learn more, on their own time and pace, about this emerging business sector. The online training entitled, What’s the Big Deal? Assessing and Financing Regional Food Enterprises, helps funders and investors better understand and assess regional food businesses by providing an introduction to the food sector and regional food enterprises, a framework for conducting due diligence and a case study exercise to practice assessment. The training also introduces “capital stacking,” by which multiple funders, from private philanthropy, mission-oriented lenders, traditional lenders and public or government programs, use different models and levels of risk-tolerance to meet the capital needs of regional food businesses need.
The Urban Land Institute provides a series of case studies that illustrate how communities have used P3s and other financing mechanisms to improve the appearance and functionality of their infrastructure.
The CDFA Revolving Loan Fund Resource Center contains lists of federal, state and local RLF programs, as well as detailed information on how to capitalize and operate new RLF programs.
Today's market conditions call for a savvier real estate approach, and it is no longer a secret that a solid incentives package can mean the difference between propelling a deal forward and maintaining the status quo.
The data from 2015 National Food Hub Survey is first ongoing national data set of its caliber on food hub operations. This report details findings on topics such as the financial state of food hubs, the numbers and types of farmers and ranchers that they work with, and the types of customers they serve. The findings of this, the second national food hub survey, together with the 2013 National Food Hub survey, are the beginning of a longitudinal data set that tracks what food hubs look like and what impacts they are having across the United States. Overall, the 2015 National Food Hub Survey indicates that the food hub model can be financially successful across a variety of legal structures and geographic or customer markets. As consumer interest in local and regional food grows, the market for food hub services also grows.
The latest Angel Resource Institute (ARI) survey of returns for nearly 250 angel investments reveals the number of projects failing to breakeven during their liquidity events is up sharply since before the Great Recession – nearly 35 percent more are losing money for their angels than ARI found in a 2007 survey. In 2007, 52 percent of liquidity events failed to reach 1x, while that figure has grown to 70 percent in 2016. Add to that, angel investors are holding companies in their portfolios 12 months longer on average, 4.5 years in 2016, than they did in the first study. A third strike for the faint of heart might be the internal rate of return dropping five points, down from 27 percent in 2007 to 22 percent in 2016. Do these trends provide insight on how best to advise crowd funding participants? Read more...
Todd Connor, CEO of Bunker Labs, begins his pitch in front of a Startup Week event in Columbus, Ohio with a compelling statistic. In the six years following WWII, 50 percent of returning veterans started their own businesses. Today, only 6 percent of post-9/11 vets do the same, despite surveys showing four times that number would like to do so. What has changed to lead to such a contrast and entrepreneurship gap? Read more...
Americans are consuming less caloric sweeteners, with children leading the way
A recent linking of ERS’s loss-adjusted food availability data with intake surveys from 1994-2008 reveals that American children are doing a better job of cutting down on sugary beverages and other sweetened foods than adults are. In 1994-98, children ages 2 to 19 consumed 94.0 pounds per person per year of caloric sweeteners compared with 81.4 pounds consumed by adults. Over the next decade, per-capita consumption of caloric sweeteners by children fell to 77.4 pounds per year, while adults’ consumption rose before returning to 1994-98 levels. Caloric sweeteners include cane and beet sugar, high fructose corn sweeteners, glucose, dextrose, honey, and edible syrups—common ingredients in sweetened beverages, baked goods, spaghetti sauces, ketchups, and a host of other processed foods. Over 1994-2008, consumption of sweeteners declined across all income and race/ethnicity groups, with Hispanics and other races/ethnicities consuming less caloric sweeteners than non-Hispanic Whites and non-Hispanic Blacks. The data for this chart and similar information on 62 other food commodities can be found in the ERS report, U.S. Food Commodity Consumption Broken Down by Demographics, 1994-2008, March 2016.
Federal agencies have released a second call for bold proposals to improve education, employment, and other key outcomes for disconnected youth. Over five million 14-to-24-year-olds in the U.S. are out of school and not working. In many cases, they face the additional challenges including being low-income, homeless, in foster care, or involved in the justice system. In response, seven federal agencies are jointly inviting state, local, and tribal communities to apply to become a Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) to test innovative, outcome-focused strategies to achieving better outcomes for these youth, as well as youth at risk of becoming disconnected from critical social institutions and supports.
The Senate passed a wide-ranging bill to modernize energy policy, the culmination of nearly a year and a half of bipartisan work by top energy senators.
IIPC highlights specific actions the federal government can take to coordinate and direct diverse actors with flexible, mission-interested capital. The ultimate policy objective is to catalyze investment in energy innovation and deployment
While foundations traditionally have kept the management of their endowment funds separate from their grantmaking activities, some are aligning more of their investments with their missions, the Financial Times reports.Seeing their endowments as a tool that can help them pursue their philanthropic goals, some foundations have opted to eschew investments that might be regarded as unethical or counter-productive, including investments in arms manufacturers, tobacco companies, and/or fossil fuel companies. For example, more than a hundred and twenty-five foundations have signed on to the Divest-Invest Philanthropy campaign, which calls on foundations to divest their portfolios of investments in the two hundred largest fossil fuel companies and invest at least 5 percent of their assets in renewable energy, energy efficiency, and clean technology within a five-year period....
Billion-dollar philanthropic investments in key areas could improve social mobility and revive "the American dream" for low-income families, a report from the Bridgespan Group argues.
The report, "Billion Dollar Bets" to Create Economic Opportunity for Every American (33 pages, PDF), identified four areas in which investments of $1 billion could dramatically improve the lifetime earnings of low-income Americans — building skills and assets, addressing cultural and structural inhibitors, transforming communities, and building the infrastructure to implement and scale interventions that work. The researchers evaluated proven interventions and promising innovations in the four areas, which they then narrowed to six "big bets" — improving early childhood development, establishing clear and viable pathways to careers, reducing rates of conviction and incarceration, reducing unintended pregnancies, reducing the effects of concentrated poverty on those living in distressed neighborhoods, and improving the performance of public systems that oversee social services....
HUD Launches Improved On-Line Tool to Facilitate Consultation with Indian Tribes About HUD-Assisted Development
HUD’s Office of Environment and Energy, in collaboration with the Office of Native American Programs, and with extensive technical support from the Office of Policy Development and Research, has completed a new update of the Tribal Directory Assessment Tool (TDAT 2.1), a database of tribal contact information and geographic areas of interest. All federally recognized Indian tribes were contacted to update information on tribal leaders and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and the names of counties where they have a current or ancestral interest. Sixteen percent of the tribes identified additional counties of interest over the 2011 edition of TDAT. The new TDAT 2.1 is publicly available on HUD's website.
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