Forbes—in partnership with the Sorenson Impact Center—is launching a new Forbes list to honor leaders sparking the equitable revitalization of distressed communities identified as Opportunity Zones:






The purpose of The Catalyst List is to showcase how investors, large and small, and rural and urban communities, alike, are pioneering dynamic approaches to equitably revitalize distressed communities.

Our hope is that The Catalyst list elevates the best examples of community-focused OZ work from around the country and provides positive models for others to emulate.

“It’s a chance for us to invest in some of the areas that really need investment. They need the money. They need the infusion of capital. And they need the collaboration with the community. I think that Opportunity Zones are a wonderful vehicle to do that.”

David Robinson

NBA Hall of Famer


“To fulfill the voids that exist and have existed for decades, that’s not going to happen sitting around and asking the government to do it. We have to become the change that we hope to see. There is a dire need for economic development in these areas of society that people like me come from.”

Clifford “T.I.” Harris

Rapper, Actor, Entrepreneur


“It’s uniting a group of stakeholders across industries, across the country, across economies, to get back involved in their communities at a very local level.”

Shamina Singh

President of Center for Inclusive Growth and VP of Sustainability at Mastercard


“There’s so much excitement about Opportunity Zones. Investors, public stakeholders, private stakeholders, philanthropists are all now focused on these communities.

We think it’s a real opportunity to channel more capital into the space.”

Margaret Anadu

Managing Director Goldman Sachs


“If this is a platform for us to be more engaged with each other, to learn indigenous knowledge, to empower local community members, then Opportunity Zones will be worth it.”

Eric Garcetti

Mayor of LA & Chair of Accelerator for America


“In this case, the result is to make sure that families that live in these communities that should benefit from the investment that comes via the opportunity zone tax credit, are actually lifted up and actually have the chance to live and remain and thrive in their community.”

Rajiv Shah

President of the Rockefeller Foundation



+ Who is eligible to apply?

Opportunity funds (large and small) and community organizations (rural and urban) are invited to submit applications.

+ When is the application period?

May 31 through August 31

+ How will fund applicants be evaluated?

Opportunity Funds will be evaluated on the quality of community engagement, equity, transparency, and measurement, and reporting that they incorporate into their investment practices based on The Opportunity Zones Reporting Framework developed by the US Impact Investing Alliance (USIIA) and the Beeck Center at Georgetown.

+ How will community applicants be evaluated?

Communities will be evaluated on the quality of citizen engagement, economic development strategy, and investor outreach displayed in their OZ efforts.

+ How many finalists will there be?

Twenty finalists will be featured in the inaugural “The Forbes OZ 20: Top Opportunity Zone Catalysts” list:

  • 10 communities (rural and urban)
  • 10 funds (large and small)

+ Is there a prize?

  • All applicants will receive a complimentary—and completely confidential—OZ Impact Score, helping them to gauge their performance against their peers.
  • In addition to being featured on The Catalysts list, the 20 finalists will receive a confidential OZ Impact Report measuring their community impact in detail.
  • The four grand prize winners will be announced at Sorenson Impact Center’s Winter Innovation Summit in February 2020.
  • Each grand prize winner will be showcased with a Forbes’ film and article.



  • May 31

    Applications open

    Throw your hat in the ring—or someone else’s.

  • August 31

    Applications Close

    All applicants receive a confidential OZ Impact Score.

  • December 2

    Announcement of 20 finalists

    All 20 finalists will be featured on The Catalysts list as well as receive confidential OZ Impact Reports.

  • February 5

    Announcement of 4 Grand Prize Winners

    The Grand Prize Winners will be celebrated at the 2020 Winter Innovation Summit hosted by the Sorenson Impact Center.





By partnering with the Sorenson Impact Center on The Catalysts, we’re recognizing and rewarding the promising first-movers poised to mobilize significant investment towards distressed communities across the country. As a leading voice in entrepreneurship, investing, and responsible capitalism, Forbes’ aims to bring the clarity, community, and strategy needed to solve the pressing financial challenges in these areas and harness the incredible potential these Opportunity Zones have to offer.


“By launching The Catalysts, we hope to spur the types of community-centered, community-led investments needed to transform neighborhoods, that have historically been left behind or neglected, into thriving, economically-viable localities. I firmly believe the Opportunity Zones Incentive holds more transformative potential than any social policy we’ve seen in modern times, perhaps even more so than The New Deal.”

Jim Sorenson

Impact Investing Pioneer

“From tech billionaires, to NBA hall of famers, to mayors, governors, senators, to music stars, the fact that everyone has a stake in this policy is really powerful”.

Steve Bertoni

Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit Founder