There is an exciting new development regarding LISC’s involvement in Opportunity Zones – out of Local Initiatives Support Corporation of Indianapolis.
On November 16th, the Opportunity Investment Consortium of Indiana, of which LISC of Indianapolis is a part, officially launched an online portal to aid in matching Opportunity Zone projects in need of funding to potential investors. LISC also secured a $100,000 presenting sponsorship of the Consortium from the Fifth Third Foundation, the funds from which will be used to host the online deal portal while also helping to build out and support education, capacity building, and technical assistance support.
In April, Indiana’s Governor Holcomb nominated 156 Indiana census tracts to become Opportunity Zones. This portal will intentionally champion the transformation of these Opportunity Zone neighborhoods into vibrant places for residents and businesses.
The portal helps to identify a pipeline of projects in which local as well as national investors can invest, and allows investor sponsors to download exclusive information about the projects. This is the first time in Indiana, and one of the first times in the country, such technology has been deployed with regard to opportunity zones. It is also unique that this project is bolstered by a rare collection of public and private entities, committed to working together and joining their collective resources towards the success of the effort.
In order to support the projects that come through the portal, the Consortium convenes an advisory body that, together with backbone agencies, training, and consultancy partners, will collectively provide coordinated assistance to deals as they clear milestones and prepare for Opportunity Zone investment infusions.
LISC kicked off the collaborative effort and will house the online portal. Our CEO, Maurice Jones, is thrilled about the use of this technology in Indy and hopes it serves as a model for other census tracts.
“Opportunity zones could be the biggest incentive we’ve ever had to attract an investor class that heretofore has been underrepresented in this space. In addition to bringing new investors to these particular projects, it allows us a tremendous opportunity to educate them as to the potential of these communities. We want investors to come to these communities and learn about all that is of value there. This portal makes it easy for investors to do that,” says Maurice. “In addition, the portal does a great job of highlighting, in a very transparent way, what is beneficial about these projects on both sides – to the investor and to the community. I hope what Indianapolis has done serves as a model for other sites to follow as we move forward into this work, continue to educate each other about these communities, and strive to keep our focus on the fact that opportunity zones are designed as a twofold opportunity – both for investors and for the benefit of the community.”