National Faith Based Empowerment Coalition

As faith leaders and community stewards, I believe we have both an obligation and historic opportunity to ensure the true purpose of the opportunity zone program is realized and become a win-win-win for both the investors, the taxpayers and, most importantly, the residents of the targeted communities. That conviction is why we formed the National Faith-Based Empowerment Coalition and implore you to join and support our efforts. Rev. Zagery Oliver

Nothing for Us Without Us

Who We Are And What We Are Doing

Ensuring Opportunity Zone Projects Have The Positive Impact As Intended

The National Faith-based Coalition (NFBEC) is a multi-faceted nonprofit positioning itself to track, highlight and ensure the integration of Social Impact in every Opportunity Zone (OZ) project. The OZ Program is a positive development with the potential to create a source of equity funding for investments in low-income communities that will have lasting community and economic impact. However, left unchecked, these same market forces will most likely drive investments to lower risk/high return projects that have less positive community impact.

Specifically, without proactive efforts to link investments to high impact deals, the concern is that OZ Program will be used to:

  • Fund investments that do not directly benefit local areas
  • Fund investments that have a surplus of funding and engagement
  • Fund investments that do not create local area jobs
  • Fund investments that are not aligned with existing local community development plans
  • Disadvantage local community development organizations and small businesses that cannot access QOZ funds

State of Our Union:

The NFBEC has positioned itself to take on the role of understanding what it will take according to our portion of responsibility to ensure that what God has potentially seen within the intent of the legislation can bring a positive outcome banking on the fact it will be a condition to bring about a unique paradigm shift from the old to something new, this will also become a bridge for positive and amicable change in America.

The positive outcome would reflect the true founding creed of America; that all people should have an opportunity to receive Education, guidance and equal equity in the pursuit of capitalistic gains. This intrinsic value proposition is that the purpose of the creed has always positioned itself as a platform for America to be a central prototype influencing all nations in the global community to follow the same trend.

As we look at the state of the African American and all under-represented constituents and stressed communities throughout America; we know that our creator equally loves them and will indubitably provide arduous climates to manifest beautiful rewards. In unparalleled judgement, our wise leadership knows that out of those environments can also spring wonderful spiritually centered initiatives that can play a vital role in the Kingdom building process, but they have not had that “Opportunity” to blossom because they have been stifled by extenuating social circumstances.

Our Efforts:

The NFBEC plans to roll out a list of initiatives and collaborative efforts to ensure there is a Social Impact (SI) factor in the 8500+ Opportunity Zones located around the nation and held territories. By integrating an SI tracker for each fund, project and developer to include in their reporting, it ensures no community is left behind in the win-win-win factors of opportunity zone. This effort is being executed by facilitating a petition for all faith-based leaders across the nation to have the ability to sign and showcase their attention to inclusion for their respective congregations. Additionally, we are sending the signed petition with an accompanying letter to Congress urging them to enact an official Social Impact Tracker as a component of all Opportunity Zone reporting.

In addition to the aforementioned effort, the NFBEC will be unveiling a series of workshops and Town Hall gatherings that bring local area and Nationwide leaders alike that understand how to codify the information aligned with Opportunity Zone into simple terms for their respective audiences. Through this engagement, the NFBEC will also be collecting a database of shovel-ready projects that are looking for developers and investors and vice-versa. The additional efforts established by the NFBEC include:

  • Represent the NFBEC and Social Impact inclusion at nationwide NIIA events
  • Host local OZ Expos to increase community stakeholder awareness and engagement
    • Developers
    • Investors
    • Landowners/Community Stakeholders
  • Forge strategic partnerships with private investors and developers committed to impact investing (local government entities and non-profits)
  • Create a nationwide webinar series that can be white-labeled to educate about Opportunity Zone and the integral information to any city
  • Create a nationwide monthly newsletter about Opportunity Zone and the orgs featuring Social Impact Integrations
  • Partner with local faith institutions and other community stakeholders to identify and create a shortlist of marketable high impact projects
  • Work with local leaders to identify and leverage other federal and state resources to lower the risk profile and jumpstart their priority economic development projects
  • Invite local elected officials to partner with and support faith-based community development efforts
  • Provide job and entrepreneurship training and technical and financial assistance to local residents to ensure human capital development thru Collaborative workshops
  • Work with Treasury and Congress to establish a framework that provides guardrails that ensure OZ projects have positive community impact and job creation without quashing investor appetite
  • A bridge creating businesses (Jobenomics)/ job/ careers and entrepreneurship
    Showing how to create a win-win-win partnership relationship

The NFBEC can create its own social impact projects/ Character Education/Family Values to create, Entrepreneurship/ business/ skills training for helping to contribute sustainable Communities internally as these communities are externally developing via the roles of the Developers and Investors. All of these efforts and more will continue to crystallize and it will take a very select think tank team and advisors that we have already begun to build who maintain the synergy and deep commitment and that also believe that God is the lifeline behind this legislation. History has already recorded, as we all know why America is what it is today, and it is because God was behind the creation of its founding legislation.

Next Steps:

As such, the NIIA and NFBEC have a shared commitment to seeing the promise and intent of the OZ program realized and it being a win-win-win for both the investors and the residents of the targeted communities. We also have a shared belief that the faith community, if organized and adequately supported, is well-positioned to serve as a primary vehicle to facilitate the measurable and sustainable development needed to truly transform these communities. As such, we are partnering on a comprehensive effort that includes:

  • Launching a $100 Million Faith-Based Coalition Development Fund
  • Advocating the Social Impact (SI) integration to Congress and the intersectionality with faith-based institutions participating in projects
  • Advocating our national database of faith-based leaders who support social impact as the driver behind all Opportunity Zone project(s)

We invite you to support our efforts through a number of steps that include:

  • Sign our petition to Congress requesting a Social Impact tracker and assessment to be added to current Opportunity Zone mandates
  • Advocate our nationwide efforts to respective faith-based leadership and contact information
  • Donate to our 501c3 (pending) to promote training, education, advocacy and cultural equity in ongoing opportunity zone project(s)
  • Attend one of our workshop or town hall forums on opportunity zone
  • Apply to join our coalition as an advocate, subject-matter-expert or additional open team member positions

*Or complete all of the above!

We look forward to your support and future relationship building with our National Faith-Based Empowerment Coalition (NFBEC).

Respectfully,

Reverend Zagery Oliver
Executive President
National Faith-Based Empowerment Coalition