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    What is ImPower?

    It is a collaboration of like-minded partners that want to change how economic development is done in the United States. The goal is to support more inclusive wealth creation for all and to solve for social, economic, and environmental challenges by attracting and blending diverse resources and investment capital to grow community-driven solutions. The ImPower Initiative is working to connect government, impact investors, and communities to strengthen and build place-based impact investing ecosystems. It is part of a broader effort to create a bold and comprehensive national impact investing ecosystem that creates wealth and improves social, economic, and environmental outcomes for the benefit of all people.

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    Why ImPower?

    Because no one else is doing this. And it can be done. Bringing together thought partners, aligned in the purpose of bringing more impact investing deals to the market and more resources and capacity to communities across the country.

    We want to influence the national economic development system – to support more inclusive wealth creation for all and to solve for social and environmental challenges by leveraging government and a multitude of other resources that can support community-based impact investing.

    We want to influence the national economic development sectors to consider new approaches to value creation that are focused on impact investing deal flow – social and environmental. To build inclusive wealth creation systems so that whether you are working in a community that is black, brown, or white; low-income or wealthy; when there is a good project to resolve a social or environmental challenge, the necessary government and private dollars flow to it readily.

    We want to create and support the development of dynamic but lasting infrastructure—impact investing ecosystems—within communities to efficiently connect resources with community-driven opportunities and projects. This impact investing ecosystem infrastructure will support a community’s capacity to identify and support a steady flow of project investment “deals” across issue areas and asset classes. These ecosystems will leverage diverse government (federal, state, and local) and philanthropic supported technical assistance resources that equip communities to braid and blend diverse funding sources to get projects done that catalyze wealth creation. The need for more complex, blended financing solutions for addressing community-driven projects and opportunities is growing. Local impact investing ecosystems can make it easier for communities to address these needs in a systemic, ongoing way that is not piecemeal.

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    How big is the opportunity?

    More than $700 billion in federal grants flows to communities each year. Even harnessing a small portion of this flow to support communities in designing and building their own impact investing ecosystems could leverage substantial investment from other sources—philanthropic and private sector impact investors—to support a bigger pipeline of “deals.” We need to empower more communities to take advantage of government and private funding that is available and create spaces for innovative solutions to pressing community needs.

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    Is ImPower proving that impact investing ecosystems work?

    No, we already know they work. We want to bring more resources—from government, philanthropy, impact investors, and the private sector—to the table and to braid and blend them in creative ways to support community-designed impact investing ecosystems. We want to bring federal, state and local government resources, philanthropic and private resources to the table for community designed ecosystems

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    How are we strengthening, building, and scaling impact investing ecosystems?

    We are focusing on two concurrent work streams:

    1. Supporting ecosystem development and deal flow. We are exploring with the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s (EDA), Economic Development Integration (EDI) program community-driven planning process – REDS – as a mechanism to support communities to plan, develop, and implement community-defined impact investing ecosystems capable of supporting a sustained flow of impact investing deals. Through this process, ImPower is working with career leaders from EPA, US HUD, US DOE, US DOC and other partners to leverage broader federal government resources to support deal development capacity in communities. ImPower and partners are also helping communities to braid and blend diverse government, philanthropic, and private sector resources in innovative ways to support community-driven projects across issue areas and asset classes.
    2. Using REDS to support community innovation within deal development. We are leveraging EDA’s REDS as a mechanism to support community planning to develop innovative grant proposals for large community grants under federal agency grant programs, such as those managed by FEMA, EPA and HUD.
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    Why work with the federal government?

    As an almost 20 year veteran of federal service, ImPower’s founder Kristin knows that working with this level of government can be slow and cumbersome. BUT federal resources can provide a powerful means to achieve real scale and system change. And there are many federal programs that are aligned in purpose with community-driven initiatives. ImPower and its partners are helping to navigate this vast array of government programs and resources to connect them with community-driven impact investing ecosystems.