June 11, 2019
Stockton, CA – Today, Lenny Mendonca, the Governor’s Chief Economic and Business Advisor and Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), toured the City of Stockton to learn more about the work the City has done and to champion its proactive engagement in Opportunity Zones.
“Opportunity Zones provide an excellent opportunity to revitalize low-income areas in California,” said the Governor’s Chief Economic and Business Advisor and Director of GO-Biz Lenny Mendonca. “As we lean into building a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy, we must ensure that it is also an equitable one. Attracting investment in areas that for too long haven’t received their fair share will ensure a California for all.”
“We know that Opportunity Zones are a tool that will require community and capital coming together around shared goals,” said Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs. “In Stockton, we are committed to directing them towards critical investments in clean energy infrastructure, housing, and entrepreneurship. Together, with the Governor’s Office and elected leaders, Stockton wants to help California get Opportunity Zones right.”
During the tour, three of the state’s advocates on Opportunity Zones – CalOZ, Accelerator for America, and the Milken Institute – announced a major new partnership to expand support for local and regional communities preparing for Opportunity Zone investment. As part of the partnership, CalOZ will host a new online California Opportunity Zone Resource Center at www.caloz.org, which will house materials intended to help local government, businesses, and community leaders better understand how the opportunity zone incentive can further their goals for economic and community development.
“The Accelerator is proud to partner with Mayor Tubbs, Lenny Mendonca, and other California partners as part of our national effort – across more than 35 American cities – to make sure Opportunity Zones create true opportunity for underserved communities,” said Rick Jacobs, CEO of Accelerator for America.
“The long-term success of opportunity zones will depend on how well we position local leaders and communities for success. Mayor Tubbs and the City of Stockton are already way ahead of the curve in assembling the vision, partners, and resources needed for a robust opportunity zone strategy,” said Kunal Merchant, President and Co-Founder of CalOZ. “We need to build on Mayor Tubbs' leadership and ensure that other communities across the state are similarly positioned to generate new jobs, housing, infrastructure, and community development through the opportunity zone incentive.”
In addition to the Online Resource Center, CalOZ, the Accelerator, and Milken announced the launch of a series of regional community workshops to help local leaders across the state align around a shared vision, strategic plan, and deal pipeline for opportunity zone investments in their communities. Communities interested in hosting workshops should email CalOz at email@example.com.
California’s Department of Finance has identified 879 census tracts as Qualified Opportunity Zones, representing an estimated 4.2 million Californians, or 10 percent of the state population.
The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) serves as the State of California’s leader for job growth and economic development efforts. GO-Biz offers a range of services to business owners including: attraction, retention and expansion services, site selection, permit streamlining, clearing of regulatory hurdles, small business assistance, international trade development, assistance with state government, and much more. For more information visit, www.business.ca.gov.
CalOZ is a new 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 stakeholders active in opportunity zones, CalOZ seeks to ensure this once-in-a-generation community investment tool reaches its full potential in the Golden State. 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. For more information on CalOZ and to become a member, please visit www.caloz.org.
About Accelerator for America
Accelerator for America launches and replicates local initiatives to improve lives nationwide by creating national change from the bottom up. It works with local governments to attract and leverage private capital for equitable economic development while collaborating to generate local infrastructure initiatives.
About the Milken Institute
The Milken Institute is a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank determined to increase global prosperity by advancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs and improve health. It conducts data-driven research, convenes action-oriented meetings and promotes meaningful policy initiatives. www.milkeninstitute.org.