SEATTLE, WA – Forbes named Washington state nonprofit, Forterra, one of the top 20 organizations nationwide committed to achieving equitable and sustainable economic growth in key opportunity zones. Forbes’ published the top 20 list on December 12 in partnership with the Sorenson Impact Center. The list recognizes 10 investors and 10 organizations.
Forterra works with hundreds of partners to create community-led development projects. The organization uses an opportunity zone fund called the Strong Communities Fund II. One of Forterra’s Strong Community Funds projects, named Wadajir, will offer 100 high-quality, fair cost housing units and 20,000 square feet of market space for more than 85 small business operators currently being displaced by gentrification. Forterra is striving to build affordably priced housing using cross-laminated timber construction, a sustainable building method that links equitable urban development to rural employment.
“We’ve launched several projects addressing the environment, attainably priced housing, and securing spaces for small businesses. There’s so much more we can do given the opportunity,” said Michelle Connor, President and CEO of Forterra. “Forbes’ endorsement will bolster our supporters’ confidence that the Strong Communities funds are a great way to help people and places reach their fullest potential.”
Forbes received 113 applications for their Top 20 Opportunity Zone Catalysts list, with 62 investors and 51 areas covered.
Jim Sorenson, Founder of the Sorenson Impact Center, said, “The quality and standard of applications was excellent with communities and opportunity zone funds showing a clear commitment to social impact. We are excited to share learnings from the Forbes Opportunity Zone 20 to help other community organizations and opportunity zone funds deliver real and meaningful change in the communities they support.”
What are opportunity zone funds?
The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act identified more than 8,700 opportunity zones, or targeted communities, to drive investments. The incentive offers deferments and savings on capital gains when investors deploy funds in opportunity zone projects. For example, investments in opportunity zones allow teachers to live in the communities they serve, extend grid infrastructure and solar array construction in rural America, and expand economic opportunity.
Dedicated to regional sustainability in all its dimensions — environmental, social, and economic — Forterra secures places across Washington’s full landscape that are keystones of our shared future. Using skills in community-building, negotiation, real estate, land stewardship, and policy development, Forterra has over its nearly 30-year history been part of more than 450 separate land transactions. These have now protected greater than 275,000 acres with a value exceeding $500 million — from remote wildlands to working farms and forests, to city parks, to urban property for cultural and community sites and attainable for-sale housing. Forterra is the 2018 winner of the Olmsted Medal, a national honor of the American Society of Landscape Architects for environmental vision and leadership. www.forterra.org
About the Forbes Opportunity Zone 20
The Forbes Opportunity Zone 20 officially launched in the spring of 2019, with applications closing at the end of August 2019. The purpose of this new list is to showcase how large and small investors, as well as rural and urban communities, are pioneering dynamic, equity-minded approaches to the revitalization of communities. By elevating the best examples of opportunity zone work from around the country we hope to showcase the promise and possibilities of the entire opportunity zone landscape.
For questions related to the Forbes opportunity zone 20 contact:
Max Seawright, Director of Communications, Sorenson Impact Center
firstname.lastname@example.org / +1 617-460-5768