Ensuring Sustainable Positive Impact in Opportunity Zones

Opportunity Zones represent the biggest potential positive impact to under-served communities in decades.


If un-checked, Opportunity Zones could have the biggest potential negative impact on the neighborhoods they intend to help.


Without discrete impact requirements being provided by federal regulators, Cities & Communities will need to define impact requirements for Sponsors and their projects.


To ensure their dollars are being deployed in a socially-conscious way, Investors & Lenders will need to require more transparent, consistent impact management by Developers.


Developers & Sponsors will need a tool to accommodate Community needs as well as Investor & Lender impact measurement requirements.


How Do Cities & Communities, Investors & Lenders, and Developers & Sponsors Work Towards Collective Impact in Opportunity Zones?


The Shift Impact Appraisal

Real estate appraisals have long been a standard, widely-accepted tool to protect investors and lenders when financing real estate projects. Unfortunately, until now, there has been no standardized way to evaluate (and course-correct) the anticipated impact of a project on a given community.

That is where the Shift Impact Appraisal comes in…Built upon a series of criteria based on global standard frameworks such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Impact Investing Network’s (GIIN) IRIS Metrics, and the B Corporation Assessment, the Shift Impact Appraisal evaluates not only the Project, but the Project Sponsor, Community Need, Vendors/Suppliers, and Exit Strategy.

Completed during the project due diligence phase, and updated at project closing and exit, it can help ensure the right policies, controls, and processes are in place to make a positive and lasting impact on the target community, and its residents, while providing multiple opportunities to improve and increase impact throughout the project lifecycle.

Here is an overview of its components:


Project & Community Narrative

Describes the project, its location, sponsor, primary impact themes, community sentiment, and potential negative impacts.


Appraisal Scorecard

scores the Sponsors, the Project, the Community, the Vendors/Suppliers, and the Exit Strategy based on a series of widely-accepted standard criteria, and provides supporting evidence for each score.


Impact Measurement Framework

Outlines the set of metrics that the Project Sponsor plans to measure and track for this project.



Outlines recommendations to improve the current impact score of the opportunity.


Project Comparables

Highlights comparable projects and impacts of those projects.




Why Now Is The Time

Investors will need to shape the market for impact. They will need to invest in better measurement.
— Leading Economic Policy Advisor
Community needs should be built into the business plan. They should inform the use/unit-mix at the onset.
— Impact Fund Manager
The challenge has been to ensure sponsors are accountable. The only ways to do that are through community benefit agreements with clear incentives.
— Seasoned Community Development Funder
Federal OZ regulations will only require simple data collection. Cities and Communities will need to put limitations and controls in place themselves.
— Leading Economic Policy Advisor

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