Weekly Reader February 7, 2020
By: Hannah Rabalais, Program Officer
1. Opportunity Zones: How Will We Know if Communities Reap the Benefits?
By: Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, Emily Ryder Perlmeter
"Much has happened since the Dallas Fed released its first article on Opportunity Zones (OZs), a tax-incentive tool built into the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 to spur investment in low-income communities. In the past 15 months, the IRS has released three rounds of guidance (Figure 1), while the Treasury Department and other federal entities have solicited requests for comment on how best to implement OZs.
While we know a lot more than we did, some aspects of OZs remain unclear. High on the list of ongoing concerns are questions about reporting requirements. Community organizations, researchers and investors are all asking: Will Opportunity Zone investments be tracked? Will information about OZ projects, whether real estate or business focused, be shared with the public? Ten years from now, will we have the metrics available to understand the outcomes of OZ investments in our communities? "
Read the full article here: https://www.dallasfed.org/cd/communities/2020/2001oz.aspx
2. Partners talk unrestricted funding for Foundation’s second year
By: Dropbox Team
"The Foundation’s core philosophy of effective partnership is rooted in both long-term unrestricted funding and skills-based volunteering. Partners have been able to harness the skills of Dropbox employees around the world, through events like Hack Week, to build and strengthen their organization’s infrastructure, processes, and technologies. The unrestricted model also places complete trust in the partners by giving them the freedom to allocate funds to any part of their organization, from operational expenses to specific projects, based on their judgement. Through talking with our partners, we’ve learned about their perspective on the value of unrestricted funding, the challenges with securing it, and ways to further the message about its importance.
In general, receiving grants depends on many factors: if the nonprofit’s work aligns with a donor’s focus areas, if there is a new or existing relationship with the donor, or if the timing aligns with the donor’s grant-making cycle, etc. So while securing a grant is already hard enough, getting access to unrestricted funding is even harder. Restricted funding means the money is allocated for a specific program or purpose, but unrestricted funding offers a nonprofit the flexibility of how and when to use the funds. According to Kathleen Kelly Janus, author of Social Startup Success: How the Best Nonprofits Launch, Scale Up, and Make a Difference, only 20% of nonprofit funding in the US is unrestricted. "
3. An Overlooked Contributor to the Affordable Housing Crisis: Parking Requirements
By: D Magazine, Katy Slade
"Housing affordability has entered the vernacular of public and private sector Dallasites over the past few years. Creative solutions that are underway run the gamut from subsidies to incentives to get more units at a better price point built and occupied. But, one quick solution to create more housing affordability in Dallas should be pursued with urgency: reforming parking requirements.
The current Dallas City Code requires too many parking spaces.
Many have decried the abundance of surface parking lots, parking garages interfering with the flow of walkable neighborhoods, and the incentives to drive caused by free parking. Less discussed are the costs associated with meeting parking requirements."
4. Recognizing Human Trafficking Awareness Month
By: American Airlines
"Robbie Hamilton has lived through some dark days. As a victim of human trafficking, she was once homeless, addicted and stuck in a life she did not imagine for herself. Years later, Robbie was arrested. It was the beginning of the end of her life in the shadows.
Every year on the anniversary of her arrest, Robbie delivers cookies to the police station as a gesture of thanks to the officers who she says saved her life. This year, on Jan. 11, she received a full pardon from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott. And now, Robbie works with New Friends New Life, counseling and mentoring women and girls who have been impacted by human trafficking just as she was.
More than 100 American Airlines team members listened to Robbie’s story during a human trafficking awareness event at the airline’s Robert L. Crandall Campus earlier this month. The session was organized in cooperation with New Friends New Life, a nonprofit organization based in Dallas that works to restore and empower formerly trafficked and sexually exploited women, teen girls and children. The event served to kick off American’s new partnership with New Friends New Life."
Read the full article here: http://news.aa.com/american-stories/american-stories-details/2020/Recognizing-Human-Trafficking-Awareness-Month-COMM-VOL/default.aspx?fbclid=IwAR1BU5le5x8ixeB2DhUPQPt1R4K5JyZqeam0nD5TLnHsJuw48ebZDqGdu94