Money is a tool. Without it, communities can’t build wealth. Full stop.
When real estate developers come into communities, they know they need community partners to help generate local support. But community partners are seldom equity partners with real skin in the game. Without significant capital, they don’t have an equal voice at the table.
Many government agencies and philanthropic institutions (and not enough financial institutions) see this challenge and have tried to solve for it by funding capacity-building programs and by making direct investments in neighborhood projects. But the frustrating truth is that even these actions tend to be focused on safe bets and social service projects – and while the investments result in some great developments, they aren’t generating local wealth.
How do we change that? How do we see Chicago’s South and West sides not as “risky” places for investment and development, but as places ripe with real opportunity? How do we design our investments in such a way that communities have more control over their own destinies and more ability to build wealth? Join Ja’Net Defell, a long-time community real estate developer and Executive Director of Community Desk Chicago, for some “real talk” about what can make a difference.
The Executives’ Club of Chicago Executive Viewpoints Series is an exclusive opportunity for members to speak candidly with other Chicago business leaders in an intimate and interactive format. We encourage members to come ready to interact with other members of the Exec Club and engage with the speaker in Q&A following the discussion.