The Urban Institute developed the Capital for Communities Scorecard for project sponsors, investors, policymakers, community organizations, and other stakeholders interested in assessing the social impact of a local development project. The tool can serve several purposes:
- Project sponsors can use the tool to solicit input from residents and community-based organizations and make improvements that respond to community needs.
- Mission-driven investors can request completed responses from project sponsors to evaluate the potential social impact of their investments.
- Local policymakers and public officials can request completed responses from project sponsors to direct public financing and incentives to projects that are likely to advance community priorities and deliver positive social impact (see box 1).
District of Columbia Qualified Opportunity Fund Guidance
The District of Columbia Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development uses the Opportunity Zone Community Impact Assessment Tool as one way to assess eligible investments for District-level Opportunity Zone benefits. Eligible investments must score a minimum of 75, and if the investor is awarded, the survey results are shared on the office’s website.a
a “District of Columbia Qualified Opportunity Fund Guidance.” District of Columbia’s Deputy Mayor’s Office of Planning and Economic Development. Accessed May 11, 2022, https://ozmarketplace.dc.gov/pages/district-qualified-opportunity-fund-dc-qof.
Because many of the questions in the tool ask for details on the project that often are not publicly available, community residents and community-based organizations are unlikely to be able to complete the tool on their own. However, community residents and community-based organizations can still use the tool in several ways:
- They can work with the project sponsor to complete the tool collaboratively, using it to workshop the project and identify improvements.
- They can request completed scorecards as a condition of providing community support for a project or use the tool to negotiate a community benefits agreement with the project sponsor.
- They can call on local officials and potential project investors to require project sponsors to complete the tool and to share responses before making decisions about funding or other incentives.
Keep in mind that the score awarded by the tool is not the final word on whether a project is good, and it is not the last step in developing a project that maximizes community benefit. It could be a starting point for more formalized agreements, like community benefits agreements, or could be the basis for a public conversation about a specific investment. The tool can be used to identify potential issues in a project, highlight avenues for increased benefits, or mitigate harms before a project is final. Using the tool’s new versioning feature, project sponsors may wish to complete the tool at various phases of project design and development to demonstrate that they are responsive to community feedback.