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TRACK: Place-Based Economic Development

Advancing more sustainable and inclusive economic development is complex work that demands solutions beyond the traditional silos of the public, private and nonprofit sectors. Thus, cross-sector collaboration and fourth sector solutions are essential. This track will focus on how economic development efforts can be enhanced by harnessing for-benefit enterprises and impact investment. There are numerous “place-based initiatives” (PBIs) around the world focused on meeting local or regional objectives. These PBIs come in many forms, pursue a variety of objectives, leverage local strengths and opportunities, and have different degrees of structure and sophistication. This track will address challenges faced by two different types of PBIs:


  • PBIs—including a number of U.S. government established initiatives—that are focused on addressing a variety of different issues in their regions (e.g. veterans’ affairs, clean energy, manufacturing, etc.). These initiatives often lack knowledge of how for-benefit enterprise and impact investment can be leveraged as tools for achieving their objectives.



Place-Based Economic Development


Matthew Bogoshian, Senior Policy Counsel, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Heather Grady, Vice President, Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors


Heerad Sabeti, Convening Trustee, Fourth Sector Networks


David B. Smith, Managing Director, Presidio Institute


David Styers, Manager of Program & Business Development, Presidio Institute

  • PBIs that are established explicitly to advance fourth sector economic development in their region. Individuals with the complex skills and capacities required to lead such efforts are in short supply. Leaders require a deep understanding of the fourth sector, economic development expertise, and the skills to organize and sustain cross-sector collaboration.


In addition to strengthening and expanding the capacities of existing PBIs, there is a need to scale the number of PBIs, of both types, that are engaged in deploying fourth sector economic development strategies.



This track will address the following questions:

  • What capacities and skills are required to lead PBIs focused on fourth sector economic development? How can these be cultivated in communities?


  • How can PBIs that are focused on a variety of different issues leverage the fourth sector and impact investment to better achieve their objectives? What new leadership skills and knowledge are required? How can the use of these strategies be scaled?


  • How can PBIs finance and sustain backbone organizations that support the cross-sector collaboration required to meet their objectives?


  • What can PBIs do to encourage deal flow to effectively attract impact investment into projects that advance their desired outcomes?

Track participants will be a carefully balanced set of stakeholders required to adequately address the problems and opportunities identified. They will include PBI leaders, economic developers, city leaders, state leaders, workforce practitioners, universities and community colleges, foundations, entrepreneurs, business and industry, finance/investment, urban planners, and other disciplines. They fall into four general categories:



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