Statewide Partners Launch Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative

A statewide group of partners is pleased to announce the launch of the Minnesota Opportunity Collaborative (MNOppCo), a joint effort to market Minnesota’s opportunity zones to investors and educate stakeholders about the federal incentive. The Collaborative looks to invite all Minnesota stakeholders in opportunity zones to work together to inspire investment in these long-disadvantaged communities and neighborhoods.

MNOppCo’s web home, www.mnoppco.com, serves as a statewide resource for opportunity zone information. It features a directory of opportunity zone projects and sites, builds awareness and outreach through a statewide collaboration, and facilitates events to help train stakeholders, market investment opportunities, and bring projects to reality. After a pilot project sponsored by Duluth LISC received considerable positive feedback and acclaim from across the state, a group of partners recognized the need to bring more groups to the table and take the initiative statewide.

“Opportunity zones have the potential to attract billions of dollars in long-term investment into under-resourced census tracts across the country,” shared Pam Kramer, Executive Director of Duluth LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation). “The Duluth Opportunity Zones Portal project is an example of the management, oversight, and partnerships necessary to ensure projects in opportunity zones fuel local economies and benefit people living and working within those zones. We are delighted that Duluth LISC’s Opportunity Zone Portal project has inspired a statewide mechanism benefitting Minnesota’s 128 opportunity zones. Duluth and Twin Cities LISC look forward to continuing our opportunity zone training, technical assistance, and opportunity zone social impact investment work in partnership with this new statewide Collaborative.”

Projects and sites submitted by partners at no cost via an intake form appear within both the MNOppCo MN Opportunity Zone Directory and in a national directory hosted by The Opportunity Exchange. Projects submitted by June 30 are also entered in the MN Opportunity Zone Challenge hosted by Community Exchange.

MNOppCo has begun holding training events in communities across the state and will continue these efforts in the coming months. In order to develop a community of practice around opportunity zones, MNOppCo will lead regular web conferences to share experiences and resources. MNOppCo invites partners from across the state to engage with the Collaborative to coordinate efforts in their areas and provide input on MNOppCo’s work.

Founding MNOppCo partners include The Northspan Group, Inc.; Community Exchange; Duluth LISC; Twin Cities LISC; the Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED); Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation (DIRRR); and the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. MNOppCo is funded in part by the Opportunity Zone Fund, the Morgan Fund, and the Community Opportunity Fund of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation. MNOppCo thanks its partners for their assistance in these efforts and welcomes support from additional partners.

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MNOppCo is powered by The Northspan Group, Inc., a Duluth-based private non-profit development organization that has provided professional business, community, and organizational development consulting services throughout the Upper Midwest since 1985. For further information on MNOppCo or Northspan, contact President & CEO Elissa Hansen at 218.481.7737 or ehansen@northspan.org.