Conference provided opportunities for communities to learn more about Opportunity Zones

Thank you to everyone who made the Washington State Opportunity Zone Conference a huge success! Over 250 people attended the event, which was held in Seattle on Nov. 15 and hosted by Washington State Department of Commerce, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the National Development Council (NDC).

Special thanks to Lt. Gov. Cyrus Habib, who kicked off the event and to Emcees Craig Nulte, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and Chris Green, Assistant Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce. We are also so appreciative of our speakers and our mentors, who met with 70 local government and tribal leaders and businesses in short one-on-one sessions to discuss potential Opportunity Zone projects.

We look forward to continuing to work with our local communities, tribes and businesses, but in the meantime, here are links to some of the presentations:

  • Opportunity Zones: The Latest. Beth Mullen, CPA, Affordable Housing Industry Leader, CohnReznick
    • Established in the 2017 federal tax law, Opportunity Zones were designed to steer investment into lower-income communities. Get the latest information on how this incentive will work – including qualified Opportunity Zone investments, businesses and Opportunity Funds. Hear more about what to expect from Congress, the U.S. Treasury and the IRS.

Moderator: Sarah Lee, Project Director, WA State Dept. of Commerce

Panelists: Julie Knott, Executive Director, Clallam County EDC; Ernie Rasmussen, Senior Planner, Economic Development, Colville Confederated Tribes; Tony To, Executive Director, HomeSight; Elly Walkowiak, Assistant Direc­tor, Economic and Community Development, City of Tacoma

This tax incentive has few guardrails to prevent gentrification, and no requirements to include local communities in project planning. However, some Opportunity Zones are identifying and developing projects for community good. Get details on real deals identified by community leaders in urban, rural and tribal areas.

Moderator: Melanie Audette, Sr. Vice President, Mission Investors Exchange

Panelists: Sayer Jones, Director Mission Related Investing, Meyer Memorial Trust; Mauri Ingram, Whatcom Community Foundation; Tim Crosby, Principal, The Thread Fund

How can Opportunity Zones communities – rural, urban and Tribal — leverage mission-driven investors, including private, community and family foundations and social impact investors to build capacity or “stack” the funding necessary to bring projects from vision to reality?

Upcoming Webinar:

NDC will be hosting its next Washington D.C. Update webinar on Opportunity Zones. on Friday, Dec. 7 from 3-4:40 p.m. EST. This is a free event. Space is limited.

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