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Rockefeller Foundation Pours Millions of Dollars to Keep Opportunity Zones on Track

By Mary Childs • September 6, 2019

“The foundation’s money is geared toward helping cities build out pipelines of potential projects and investments, which will help guide investors looking for somewhere to put their money. That will ostensibly help funnel private capital toward projects that actually benefit existing communities.”

“Billionaire Jim Sorenson started an opportunity zones task force with his Sorenson Impact Center, EIG, and Develop Advisors, the consulting firm of EIG co-founder Steve Glickman, among others.”

 

 
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Main Street Meets Opportunity Zones In Brigham City

By Sorenson Impact Center • August 22, 2019

“For at least the last 30 years, I’ve always been involved in renovating something,” says David. He enjoys the process. “I’ve always been naturally curious. I like fixing things.”

“But the Walkers aren’t sustaining their efforts solely through a love for community and an appreciation for fixing things. The Opportunity Zone tax incentive made it possible for the Walkers to secure the outside investment that their project needed.”

 

 
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Calling All OZ Players: Forbes And Sorenson Impact Launch New List For Top Opportunity Zone Funds And Founders

By Steven Bertoni • July 11, 2019

“We're thrilled to partner with the Sorenson Impact Center to launch our new list: The Forbes OZ 20: Top Opportunity Zone Catalysts. Debuting in February of 2020 the list will highlight the best investors and entrepreneurs who are creating lasting change OZ communities across the U.S.”

 

 
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OZs by the Numbers, from Financial Stability to Life Expectancy

By Kathryn Tokle • July 2, 2019

“We want to make the most of Opportunity Zones. That’s why the Sorenson Impact Center collaborated with Forbes to create The Forbes OZ 20: Top OZ Catalysts. In support of this effort, we analyzed indicators from 7,500 Opportunity Zones, including education, housing costs, and life expectancy. Although our current findings are only preliminary, they’re revealing: when compared to non-designated census tracts within the same state, Opportunity Zones tend to have worse economic, educational and health-related outcomes, despite some variation across states.”

 

 
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Innovating for Upward Mobility

By Sorenson Impact Center • June 13, 2019

“While job growth across the state has increased 17 percent since 2008, employment in Carbon and neighboring Emery County has declined 16 percent. The unemployment rate in the two counties is double that of the entire state.”

The Utah Coal Country Strike Team, a coalition of state and local governments, education and business entities, is also “a multi-pronged proposal includes educational training, building a tourism infrastructure, revitalizing housing stock and leveraging opportunity zones to boost economic development.” The team’s proposal "is now in the running for up to $1 million in funding from Schmidt Futures, which in April 2018 selected the University of Utah as one of four anchor institutions in the Alliance for the American Dream.”

 

 
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Opportunity Zones' Biggest Myths

By Kathryn Tokle • May 29, 2019

Sorenson Impact Center demystifies the top three myths around opportunity zones.

“This era differs greatly from previous decades when many economic redevelopment initiatives were first piloted... social impact measurement and analysis has enjoyed a veritable revolution.”

 

 
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Opportunity Zones: Can Philanthropy Provide Accountability When the Law Does Not?

By Kristen Munnelly and Steve Dubb • May 29, 2019

“Enter philanthropy…to the rescue? This week, the Rockefeller Foundation announced last week that it would be making $5.5 million available to help six US cities shape responsible strategy around opportunity zones.” 

“Additionally, Jim Sorenson, an entrepreneur, investor, and businessman based in Utah, has announced he is seeding a $150 million fund that will measure investment impact in these zones using a framework designed by US Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center at Georgetown University.” 

 

 
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Empowering communities to take ownership of their own Opportunity Zones

By Rachel Reilly • May 23, 2019

“A common thread throughout the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit in Newark this week: Ensuring those living and working in Opportunity Zones are empowered to use the tax incentive to take an ownership stake in their own neighborhoods.”

‘“There are just as many bold innovators in Nashville, the Navajo Tribal Nation and Newark as there are in Silicon Valley,” said Jim Sorenson, who has put $10 million into an Opportunity Fund launched by his private equity firm, Catalyst.”

 

 
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Rockefeller Foundation Aims to Make Trump Tax Perk Work for Poor

By Noah Buhayar • May 21, 2019

“Rockefeller’s grants are part of a broader effort by philanthropies, public officials and others to make sure the tax break has positive outcomes. The Kresge Foundation pledged $22 million this year to support fund managers who agree to report on their investments in opportunity zones. Jim Sorenson, a prominent impact investor, said this week he’s seeding a $150 million fund that will use a framework designed by U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center at Georgetown University to measure the good it does in distressed areas.”


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Sorenson Seeds $150 Million Fund to Invest in Overlooked America

By Noah Buhayar • May 20, 2019

“Real estate moguls, banks and money managers are rushing to capitalize on a new U.S. tax break rewarding investments in poor communities. Now, one of the biggest names in impact investing is aiming to prove the perks are about more than profits.

Jim Sorenson, a prominent Utah entrepreneur, investor and businessman, plans to announce Monday that Catalyst, a private equity firm he helped found, is raising $150 million to invest in opportunity zones. The group’s first fund, which Sorenson is seeding with $10 million, will focus on developing real estate with an eye toward delivering both market-rate returns and measurable social good.”


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New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka Join the Lineup For Forbes' Inaugural Opportunity Zones Summit

By Forbes Corporate Communications • April 24, 2019

“The 2019 Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit will bring together 250 top leaders… to support the development of best practices, and shape the national Opportunity Zones agenda to fuel transformative impact in America's left-behind communities.” 

“Forbes has formed an influential Board of Advisors to elevate the agenda and has confirmed a world-class slate of speakers including Sean Parker, John Lettieri, Rise of the Rest’s J.D. Vance, hall-of-famer David Robinson, impact investors Jim Sorenson, Ray Chambers, Cheryl Dorsey and many more.”


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Opportunity Zone Rules Just Got Clearer, Giving Investors a Green Light

By Mary Childs • April 19, 2019

Jim Sorenson, president of the Sorenson Impact Foundation, is optimistic that the program will work as planned. Sorenson, who has started an Opportunity Zone task force, told Barron’s he sees the new regulations launching ‘the most positive and transformative period for communities across America since the New Deal.’”


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Why Billionaires, All-Star Athletes and Wall Street Leaders Are Joining the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit

By Steven Bertoni • April 15, 2019

Forbes is launching the new Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit in Newark, New Jersey on May 21 with the theme, Investing for Impact. The investment summit of the year will feature “…top leaders driving the Opportunity Zone ecosystem and forging a new era of responsible capitalism… including Facebook’s first president and Napster founder Sean Parker, AOL founder Steve Case, impact investor Jim Sorenson and creative politicians like Senator Cory Booker, Senator Tim Scott and Stockton, California’s dynamic, young mayor Michael Tubbs.”


 
 
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Wall Street, Seeking Big Tax Breaks, Sets Sights on Distressed Main Streets

By Matthew Goldstein and Jim Tankersley • Feb. 20, 2019

“I believe it really can be a great model to demonstrate the holistic, community-informed investments that can transform these distressed communities, while earning returns,” said Jim Sorenson, an entrepreneur based in Utah. Mr. Sorenson, who hosts an annual gathering of impact investors in Salt Lake City, devoted much of this year’s meeting, in February, to discussing the potential benefits of the zones. He joined several groups in announcing an effort to create a “guiding set of principles” for making such investments.

 

 
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Pushing for community engagement and impact reporting in Opportunity Zone investing

By David Bank • Feb. 6, 2019

The framework was launched at Sorenson Impact Center’s Winter Innovation Summit now underway in Salt Lake City. The Center’s new “Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge” will use the framework to highlight cities and states, as well as fund managers and investors, that are using the tax-advantaged investments to drive social and environmental impact.

“There are skeptics that feel this is a tax break for the rich, that it’s real estate developers just coming in to do investments that are subsidized by the tax break,” Jim Sorenson told ImpactAlpha. “We really want to counter that.”