Course description

This course provides an understanding of financing mechanisms, tools, policies, and programs available to community and economic development professionals. The course focuses on access and availability of capital, both public and private, for businesses and real estate development projects that have an impact particularly on low opportunity communities. The course covers how capital markets operate and are structured; challenges for community economic development professionals to access those markets, business, and real estate financing fundamentals; public development finance tools including Opportunity Zone Funds, New Market Tax Credits and Community Development Financial Institutions; and capital access strategies such as Community Reinvestment Act research and advocacy. The course also addresses sustainable development and the role of development finance and impact investing. We explore the relationship between local community economic development, environmental sustainability, cultural vitality, and trends in the regional and national economies. Specifically, we focus on how to make community and economic investments that yield development outcomes that contribute to economic, environmental, and cultural vitality. This approach extends a triple bottom line approach that seeks to benefit profits, people, and the planet.


  • Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
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