Opportunity Zones, created as part of the federal Tax Reform Act of 2017, are a new nationwide tool intended to motivate more capital to be invested in under-served communities across the nation. Opportunity Zones are defined at the census tract level, and are designated by each State’s Governor. Qualified Opportunity Funds (QOF) provide the mechanism for investment in Opportunity Zones, and any QOF must invest at least 90% of its assets in property or businesses in Opportunity Zones. Investors benefit both from the returns on their investments in QOF and also by being able to shelter capital gains from taxes, by investing them in a QOF.
Regulation and policy surrounding Opportunity Zones is very much still in development, at both the federal and state levels, and at the same time interest is rising within the region – from fund managers (private, nonprofit, and public sector), from projects with investment potential, and from potential investors, both individual and institutional.
In response, Valley Vision has convened a regional Opportunity Zones working group to serve as a focal point for interested parties, to share up-to-date information about Opportunity Zone developments, and to enhance the likelihood of securing investment from Opportunity Zone Funds to support suitable regional projects.
Those participating in the working group include: regional nonprofits, community foundations, CDFIs, local jurisdictions, investors, and more.
California Asian Chamber, California Capital, City of Roseville, City of Sacramento, El Dorado Community Foundation, Greater Sacramento, GRID Alternatives, Local Government Commission, Northern California Community Loan Fund, Office of Congressman Ami Bera, Office of Congresswoman Doris Matsui, Opening Doors, SACOG, Sacramento Housing & Redevelopment Agency, Sacramento Metro Chamber, Sacramento Regional Community Foundation, Sierra Health Foundation, Syphax Strategic Solutions, Valley Vision, Wells Fargo, Yolo Community Foundation
If your organization would like to participate, please contact Valley Vision’s Meg Arnold at email@example.com.
Opportunity Zone Resources
A large and growing set of tools, resources, and information about Opportunity Zones already exists. Below are some prominent ones; the lists below are partial and incomplete and we’ll be adding to them regularly.
Federal and State Government Resources:
The CDFI Fund within the federal Department of the Treasury has an Opportunity Zone Resources page, which includes a national map and a link to IRS guidance.
The State of California’s Opportunity Zone portal is supported by the state’s interagency working group, and features information organized for investors, for communities, and for partners, as well as an Opportunity Zone Toolkit that includes some anti-displacement resources.
The State’s Department of Finance managed the process of designating California’s Opportunity Zone. This page summarizes that process, and provides links to different types of Opportunity Zone maps in the state.
Private / Non-Profit Resources:
Economic Innovation Group first conceived of Opportunity Zones in 2015, and its site includes good background as well as information about EIG’s current Opportunity Zone work.
Enterprise Community Partners is active on policy matters, and is also planning to create Opportunity Zone Funds at various scales.
Novogradac & Company LLP’s Opportunity Zones Resource Center provides information and analysis from the firm’s team as well as third-party sources, links directly to IRS information, and also hosts a regularly-updated list of known Opportunity Zone funds.
ImpactAlpha’s blogs on Opportunity Zones, with topics such as What applications from 141 fund managers show about emerging opportunity zones activities, and Six ways to attract capital and shape the future of opportunity zone investing.
New Markets Support Company’s (NMSC) Opportunity Zone site provides an overview, tools (including mapping), and policy recommendations.
The LOCUS National Opportunity Zone Ranking Report, ranks each of the designated Opportunity
Zones based on its Smart Growth Potential as well as its Social Equity and Vulnerability Index score.
Policy Comments / Recommendations (provided to the IRS and Department of Treasury and listed by date submitted):
- Novogradac, March 9
- Enterprise Community Partners, March 15
- EIG, June 18.
- US Impact Investing Alliance, September 6
- US Conference of Mayors, August 23
The LOCUS Opportunity Zone Navigator, by Smart Growth America, is an interactive mapping tool that allows users to search designated census tracts for transit, environmental, economic, housing, and affordability information.