On May 6, 2020, the Centre for Public Impact—working with advisors at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University in Washington, DC—launched Opportunity to Impact: An Investment Assessment Tool (O2I).
The tool is an attempt to ensure that recovery from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 crisis inclusive. Opportunity to Impact is a rigorous-yet-straightforward guide for evaluating an investment’s potential for positive social, economic, and environmental impact.
While public health is at the forefront of coronavirus concerns, the country’s economic health is also a pressing issue. Although every American is feeling the strain of the coronavirus-catalyzed recession, a segment of residents has been particularly hard hit: those already living in underserved communities.
According to studies, the vast majority of Americans cannot afford an unexpected expense of $1,000 and over 52 million Americans live in economically distressed communities. In the wake of COVID-19, when 30 million Americans have already applied for unemployment insurance, the inequitable toll on under-served communities has been keenly felt.
“The economic toll of COVID-19 is tremendous. As we discuss and plan for recovery, we must work to remedy the conditions that left so many Americans behind. This is an opportunity to build a system that is more equitable and stable, a system that can weather future challenges,” said Dan Vogel, North America Director at CPI.
“However, we cannot support historically underserved communities without intentionality around planning, legitimacy, and action. ‘Opportunity to Impact’ is a rigorous approach to increase the impact potential of projects. With it, we can strive for an inclusive recovery and build an economy that is more equitable than ever before,” he added.
Opportunity to Impact was developed from the combination of rigorous frameworks (Public Impact Fundamentals, Opportunity Zones Impact Reporting Framework) and insights from residents, investors, public officials, and impact measurement experts across the country. Opportunity to Impact users input project data and receive an impact evaluation and list of resources to increase impact.
The tool’s results can be used internally by project sponsors to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a project’s impact approach or be sent externally to foster collaboration with community stakeholders and mission-driven investors.
“Intentional thinking and collaborative behavior is required for inclusive economic growth in any community. A commitment to impact starts with the voice of those who live and work there; that is real community engagement,” explained Jen Collins, Fellow-in-Residence at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation.
“As we focus on an inclusive economic recovery, the O2I tool will provide project sponsors and communities alike with the information required to maximize the positive impact of their investments,” she continued.
In tandem with the tool, the Centre for Public Impact and the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation are launching a series of Impact in Action case studies aimed at highlighting innovative models and lessons for driving positive community impact through investment and development projects across America. The studies feature Kannapolis (North Carolina), Baltimore (Maryland), and Merced (California).
The Centre for Public Impact is a not-for-profit founded by Boston Consulting Group. Believing that governments can and want to do better for people, they work side-by-side with governments—and all those who help them—to reimagine government, and turn ideas into action, to bring about better outcomes for everyone.
Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation is an experiential hub with two key mandates. Through Georgetown University, they operate as an orchestrating broker across sectors to increase the probability of scaled positive impact, ultimately provoking grassroots and institutional leaders to think, behave, and collaborate differently toward a shared vision of prosperity for all.
Photo of the 20-story John F. Hylan Houses in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York City via Wikipedia.