Appalachia is Opportunity Zone Leader

Three Appalachian-based community organizations were recently recognized as among the nation’s top ten 20 Opportunity Zone Catalysts as per Forbes Magazine. These  included a partnership between the Opportunity Zone Development Company and the Erie Downtown Development Corporation which has announced two Opportunity Zone Funds poised to invest up to $60 million in Erie, Pennsylvania; Opportunity Alabama which is developing programs to educate communities on policy and social impacts of projects across Alabama’s 158 Opportunity Zones; and Opportunity Appalachia, a newly formed consortium of community development partners with plans to invest in Opportunity Zones in Appalachia’s rural coal impacted communities. With help through ARC’s POWER Initiative, Appalachian Community Capital, the lead organization of Opportunity Appalachia, officially launched the Opportunity Appalachia program to provide technical assistance to communities in Ohio, Virginia and West Virginia to develop community strategies and structure investable transactions targeting Opportunity Fund (QOF) Investors. This program could potentially create an estimated 700 jobs in a variety of industries. More information about the program and pre-registration for upcoming seminars can be found on the Appalachian Community Capital website.

The Opportunity Zone Initiative, approved by Congress and led by the President and his administration, offers tax incentives designed to promote additional private investment in America’s cities and towns. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed census tract where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. As of July, 2018, 737 census tracts have been designated as Qualified Opportunity Zones across Appalachia. These eligible tracts are home to over 2.8 million Appalachian residents.

As per the recently released Request for Proposals (RFP), applications for POWER 2020 will receive special consideration in the review process if they propose to leverage their POWER award in qualified Opportunity Zones.