What Works in Community Investing: A Community Development Summit

Location: Harvard Graduate School of Design | 48 Quincy Street, Cambridge, MA Piper Auditorium

Watch this event on YouTube: 
Part 1 or Part 2.

Convened by the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies, Federal Reserve Bank of San FranciscoThe Low Income Investment Fund, and Citi Foundation 

Co-sponsored by Boston LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation), CHAPA(Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association) and MACDC (Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations).

Also co-sponsored by the following student groups: the Harvard Graduate School of Design Real Estate Development Club and the Urban Planning Organizaion (HUPO), the Harvard Kennedy School Social & Urban Policy Professional Interest Council (SUPPIC) and the Real Estate PIC, the Harvard Business School Real Estate Club, and the Harvard Law School Child & Youth Advocates Group

One in six Americans now lives in poverty — the highest level in half a century. Poverty has spread beyond cities to suburbs and communities and is being transferred from one generation to the next. At the same time, we know more about what it takes to build vibrant communities and to help people lead healthy, productive lives. We also know that expanding access to affordable housing, good schools, transportation, jobs, and even supermarkets and parks, can mean better health and life outcomes for people and revitalize whole communities.

Investing in What Works for America’s Communities is a new book that calls on leaders from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build on what we know is working to move the needle on poverty. The book’s impressive list of authors represents a broad range of sectors including federal agencies, philanthropy, housing academia, health, and the private sector. Our half-day summit will look at the innovative ideas that can bring new opportunities to America’s struggling communities, and will call on leaders, from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to recognize that they can work smarter and achieve more by working together. 



1:00 pm - WELCOME 
Eric S. Belsky, Managing Director, Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies

1:15 pm -KEYNOTE  
Lizabeth Cohen, Dean, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Harvard University (Read Dean Cohen's remarks.)

2:00 pm - PANEL 1: WHAT WORKS 

The opening remarks and Dean Cohen’s presentation will set the stage for a discussion about both setting and accomplishing meaningful goals for the communities in which we work and the people who live in them and how to recognize when you’re going in the right direction and when you’re veering off course.  This panel will showcase examples of what is working and how these models are helping to lead a revolution in community development. It will provide on-the-ground perspectives from the Boston area and across the country.  The programs featured reflect the themes of the importance of early childhood development, combining people and place, integration across traditional “program areas,” collaboration across bureaucratic silos, connection of neighborhood to region, and entrepreneurship. This panel will provide the audience with solid illustrations of what makes these models successful and the challenges and opportunities to replicating and scaling these approaches.


Prabal Chakrabarti, VP Community Development, Regional and Community Outreach, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston (moderator)
Tom Bledsoe, President and CEO, Housing Partnership Network
Elyse Cherry, President and CEO, Boston Community Capital
Shirley Franklin, Chairman and CEO, Purpose Built Communities; President, Clarke-Franklin and Associates, Inc.;  Former Mayor of Atlanta
Chrystal Kornegay, President and CEO, Urban Edge
Jack Shonkoff, Director, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard UniversitY

3:30 pm - BREAK


This panel will focus on the capital and policy changes needed to support and expand successful models of community development.  Earlier in the day, keynote speaker Dean LIzabeth Cohen will have connected the history of community development, especially in New England, to present day needs, and the “What Works” panel will have described programs and strategies that are working.  The “Scaling What Works” panelists will build on these presentations to discuss ways the public sector, financial institutions and philanthropy can invest in and grow strategies that work. Panelists will discuss the opportunities and challenges of creating capital and policy solutions that can advance integrated, holistic community development programs to create more healthy, prosperous people and places. Among the topics this panel will address are the following:  

  • Why the problems that low-income communities face can’t be solved by one sector 
  • Why it is in the interest of the private sector to invest in community development and how it can work with the public sector to invest in ideas that work
  • How the urgency and size of the problem require a new thinking in the way capital is deployed and philanthropic support is delivered 
  • How can players “in the game now” persuade others to come to the table and see the value in investing in these kinds of programs and scaling up promising models


Nancy Andrews, President & CEO, Low Income Investment Fund (moderator)
Stephen Fitzgerald, Philanthropy Director, Global Corporate Responsibility, Bank of America
Pam Flaherty, President and CEO, Citi Foundation
Aaron Gornstein, Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development, Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development
Paul Grogan, President and CEO, Boston Foundation
Ben Hecht, President and CEO, Living Cities

5:15 pm - WRAP-UP
Nancy Andrews, President & CEO, Low Income Investment Fund
David Erickson, Director, Center for Community Development Initiatives, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco       

5:30 pm -  ADJOURN