What is CalOZ?

CalOZ is a nonprofit trade organization dedicated to maximizing the transformative potential of Opportunity Zones (OZs) in California. By uniting and mobilizing voices from across the spectrum of business, government and community leaders, CalOZ seeks to ensure this once-in-a-generation community investment tool reaches its full potential in the Golden State.


What are Opportunity Zones?

Qualified Opportunity Zones (“QOZs”) are a new federal incentive designed to motivate re-investment of private sector capital into long-term equity investments in real estate, infrastructure, operating businesses, and start-ups located in low-income communities around America. It is the largest community investment program in a generation, creating a new industry of domestic emerging market funds from the $6 trillion in available capital gains. California is home to 879 census tracts designated as QOZs, more than 10% of the 8,700 identified nationally. 

Read more about QOZs


The Need

CalOZ was co-founded by Kunal Merchant and Dave Smith, two experienced California leaders with a shared passion for pursuing cross-sector solutions to pressing economic, social, and environmental challenges. CalOZ believes that OZs present a promising new public-private tool to address a range of issues facing our state’s residents, including housing, transit, infrastructure, climate change, economic mobility, health care, and education.

As a new marketplace, OZs are already attracting thousands of participants with varying levels of expertise, sophistication, and credibility. In this fluid and fragmented environment, early movers will have disproportionate influence over whether or not the OZ incentive fulfills its promise. CalOZ seeks to establish and sustain California’s OZ ecosystem on sound footing, by investing in the real work and collaboration needed to build a broad, diverse and impact-driven ecosystem of investors, fund managers, developers, corporations, entrepreneurs, regulators, philanthropists, community leaders, and residents.


"Everyone here in California that wants to stay here, invest here and build their projects here, we want you to stay here. California is open for business."

Fiona Ma, California State Treasurer