Accelerating Community Investment (ACI) improves the practice of public finance by creating opportunities for public development, housing, and infrastructure finance agencies to engage with philanthropies, mission-aligned investors, and the broader capital markets. These partnerships help create new, community-led investments in underserved places and people.

People on a tour of public space with colorful wall painting in background

ACI seeks to increase the availability of capital in the right places, at the right times, and for the right purposes. The initiative comprises field research, a national community of practice, 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. ACI also works with public finance agencies, community capital conduits, and impact-aligned investors to further develop the community investment ecosystem. 

About ACI 

Through research and a community of practice, ACI explores the intersection of public finance, capital providers, impact investors, and community—deepening the ability, will, and capability of those actors to influence the deep multi-level systems change needed to achieve greater opportunity for people in place by: 

  • Deepening connections of impact investors to public economic development, housing finance, and/or community development finance 
  • Increasing the efficacy and impact of impact investing portfolios across asset holder types 
  • Building alignment and heightening positive impact of capital on people in place across the national community investment ecosystem 

To learn more, watch a panel discussion on the origins and goals of ACI featuring Lincoln Institute CEO and President George W. “Mac” McCarthy, Lincoln Institute Senior Fellow and ACI director Robert J. “R.J.” McGrail, and former FB Heron Foundation President Dana Bezerra. 


National Community of Practice

We connect participants in local community investment ecosystems to each other and to their peers elsewhere through a community of practice that includes more than 40 agencies and institutions from 14 states. The group meets both virtually and in person to build partnerships, identify new investment opportunities, and share experiences and advice.

Training, Coaching, and Technical Assistance

Deepening skill and practice across the field, ACI has provided significant virtual and in-person coaching, education, and learning beyond the community of practice, that exposing participants to new knowledge and tools needed to increase their effectiveness and impact.

Local Investor Challenges

ACI hosts Local Investor Challenges to spotlight community investment opportunities and enable participants to develop and share new, community-driven opportunities to impact investors and catalytic capital holders. Four initial sessions—held in Atlanta, Georgia, Cincinnati, Ohio; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Austin, Texas—have allowed participants to pitch investment-ready projects to local investors and receive direct feedback from potential investors.

Community of Practice 

At the heart of this is a national community of practice of community and institutional leaders, who will build partnerships, receive training and technical assistance, and identify new investment opportunities. Current participants are listed below.

Additional Resources

Resource Guide: American Rescue Plan Act Economic Development Administration Programs, Robert J. “R.J.” McGrail 

Federal COVID Relief Funding and Finance Guide, Robert J. “R.J.” McGrail & DRA and Associates (David Paul Rosen, Nora Lake Brown) 

Webinar: Federal COVID Relief Funding and Financing Tools for a More Equitable Recovery 


If you are interested in learning more about ACI, contact the ACI initiative team.