The Potential of Place-based Philanthropy in Legacy Cities

Tuesday, February 28, 2017 - 9:30am
Urban Studies Office: Room 130 McNeil Building
Presenter: Mary Rocco, Post-Doctoral Researcher in Penn's Department of City Planning, and graduate of Urban Studies Graduate Certificate Program

Breakfast included.

Discussant: Ira Goldstein, President of Policy Solutions at Reinvestment Fund

Abstract:  In US Legacy Cities, philanthropic foundations commit millions of dollars to neighborhood revitalization. As the remaining vestiges of wealth captured from the days of industrial might, local foundations in these places contribute to the urban institutional ecosystem. They incubate organizations, increasethe capacity of local leaders, and collaborate with financial institutions to leverage capital for projects. As strong partnerswith non-profit organizations and local government, their presence challenges the traditional concept of the urban growth coalition in the places where they take on leadership roles. This article examines grantmaking for urban revitalization in 50 Legacy Cities.

Findings reveal that from 2003-2012, foundations, allocated $6.3 billion to urban revitalization, 125% of total CDBG funding in this period. While unevenly spread across Legacy Cities, the potential exists for place-based philanthropy to serve as a vehicles of just, equitable development to improve the lives of neighborhood residents in these places.