Accelerating Community Investment Launches Second Community of Practice
The Lincoln Institute of Land Policy launched the second round of the Accelerating Community Investment initiative’s Community of Practice (ACI CoP) in November, kicking off with a convening in Sante Fe, New Mexico. ACI improves the practice of public finance by creating opportunities for public development, housing, and infrastructure finance agencies to engage in skill building and peer learning with philanthropies, mission-aligned investors, and the broader capital markets, with the goal of increasing investment and its impact on communities across the nation.
Through this initiative, the Lincoln Institute connects participants in local community investment ecosystems to each other and their peers elsewhere—helping to form partnerships that create new, community-led investments in underserved places and people. The ACI CoP, first launched in 2021 with approximately 40 agencies and institutions from 14 states, has expanded to 100 participants now representing 18 states across the country.
“My team’s participation in the Lincoln Institute’s ACI CoP over the past three years has been transformational,” said Laura N. Brunner, president and CEO of the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority. “It is difficult to say whether the education or the relationship building has been more impactful, because both far exceeded our expectations. The technical content contributes to our ability to move from ‘good to great,’ and the friendships and perspectives of fellow members allow us to benchmark ourselves against others and enjoy the comfort of safe spaces to learn.”
ACI seeks to increase the availability of capital in the right places, at the right times, and for the right purposes. The initiative includes field research, a national CoP focused on peer learning and skill development, and technical assistance and support for participants to develop and deploy impactful mission-aligned investment opportunities. These opportunities create a more fertile environment for investment in community and economic development, housing, and more, for the benefit of residents and communities.
“Our work in ACI, focusing on deepening the skills of public finance practitioners and creating connections with values-aligned impact capital holders, is helping to drive new investments that improve the quality of life in underserved communities across the country,” said Robert J. “R.J.” McGrail, senior fellow at the Lincoln Institute and initiative director for ACI. “These public finance leaders not only have the capacity to tap large pools of capital and leverage public funding, but they can also help impact-minded and values-aligned investors channel new capital to communities where it will create deeper impact.”
“Over the last few years in the Accelerating Community Investment initiative, we’ve seen the benefits of bringing together new civic coalitions to tackle local problems,” said George W. McCarthy, president and CEO of the Lincoln Institute. “Whether we’re trying to meet the challenge of supplying adequate affordable shelter to residents, preparing to support a low- or no-carbon fleet, or adapting our cities to endure the climate crisis, we need unprecedented multisectoral cooperation to deploy unprecedented volumes of financial and human resources. When the public, private, and civic sectors bring their respective knowledge, discipline, and creativity together, the results can be magical.”
More information about ACI and a complete list of CoP participants can be found on the Lincoln Institute’s website.
Kristina McGeehan is director of communications at the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.