2014 CD Perspectives Report

Issue link: http://read.stlouisfed.org/i/332204

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Page 8 of 23

Visit FedCommunities.org enabling multiple sectors to work toward common and defined goals. This broader approach to community revitalization often involves coordination with the public health and transportation sectors. Improving CD programs and identifying new funding streams While many communities have explored innovative approaches to pressing local needs, it is often difficult to get objective information and actionable research on the successes and challenges of these efforts. In 2013, Federal Reserve CD staff organized or co-sponsored numerous meetings and conferences around the country to shed light on what works in communities and to help build the capacity of community development organizations. For example, a key event was the Federal Reserve System Community Development Research Conference, which featured papers on an array of challenges and programs. A number of Reserve Banks also hosted conferences exploring the themes addressed in the book Investing in What Works for America's Communities or promoting a "collective impact" approach to redevelopment. Other events explored the intersection of health and community development under the "Healthy Communities" initiative, including the potential for new funding sources for CD investments (read more on page 11). In addition to these events, most Reserve Banks produced ongoing publications that highlighted model practices and approaches in the field. Fed CD staff are also working with a network of philanthropies to identify common research interests and provide opportunities to share promising findings. And finally, most Reserve Banks continue to conduct periodic surveys to gain perspective on current and emerging issues from their District stakeholders, as well as producing data and interactive maps to help community organizations and policymakers better understand community needs (read more on page 11). Bolstering the capacity of CD organizations Community development financial institutions (CDFIs) have grown in number and sophistication over the past two decades and have become leading financial par tners for banks in deploying capital to lower-income communities. Yet some have highlighted the need for more high-capacity, high-per forming CDFIs that operate at scale. In 2013, Reser ve Banks held dozens of workshops across the country aimed at training CDFIs and bolstering their organizational capacity by connecting them with potential new sources of funding and investment oppor tunities. Other workshops and publications provided insight on creating state or regional networks of CDFIs. Similarly, Reser ve Banks also suppor ted community development corporations and nonprofits by convening meetings with financial institutions, philanthropies, and government agencies to discuss oppor tunities and aligned interests. 9

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