The Opportunity Zone program that was created as part of the 2017 federal tax reform unlocks up to $6.1 trillion of unrealized capital gains for investment in marginalized communities by providing substantial tax benefits to investors. As early funds get ready for deployment in 2019, many questions remain around how to ensure that funds truly benefit communities in need. Promise exists for low-income housing, sustainable food and agriculture infrastructure, revitalization of rural and urban communities, and more. However, there is also real concern about the possibilities of benefits flowing to outside investors rather than community members, gentrification, and exacerbated inequity.
Join this webinar on December 11 for ahigh-level overview of what Opportunity Zones are, how they are structured, and how impact driven groups are looking to engage with and invest in Opportunity Zones. We’ll explore some of the ways in which Opportunity Zones relate to social and racial justice, food and agriculture systems, infrastructure, and alternative investment structures. We’ll also highlight opportunities for grantmakers and impact investors to take action in support of the communities they care about.
Registration for this webinar is limited to funders only.
Funders are considered those organizations using grantmaking or investments as a core strategy to fulfill their mission and who make grants or invest more than $50,000 annually.
About the Speakers
March Gallagher, Esq., president and chief executive officer, Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley
March Gallagher joined the Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley in September 2015 as president and CEO. She is responsible for the overall leadership of the Foundations including donor services, grant-making, and care and custody of the Foundations’ $70+ million in assets. A resident of Rosendale in Ulster County, March is an attorney with degrees from Boston University, Bard College, Rockefeller College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She comes to the Community Foundations having served most recently as Chief Strategy Officer at Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, focusing on regional quality of life issues such as infrastructure and healthcare. March is a current board member with the Hudson Valley Agribusiness Development Corporation, the Dutchess County Economic Development Advisory Council and the Hudson Valley Sudbury School. She has a personal passion as a shareholder activist, and enjoys gardening, cooking and connecting people.
(MODERATOR) Kevin (Kirby) Irby, director, Threadspan
Kevin (Kirby) Irby is a Texas native currently living in Rhinebeck, New York. Kirby is director at Threadspan, a multi-stakeholder collaborative seeking to contribute to the emergence of a regenerative Hudson Valley. Before Threadspan, he worked as an investment associate at Armonia LLC, a private equity firm focused on regenerative agriculture, and at C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., the largest wholesale grocery supply company in the U.S. He is also an active conservation biologist and previously worked with The Nature Conservancy on Martha’s Vineyard. Before his environmental career, Kirby worked in contemporary art and translation in France, and as a photographer in Spain. Kirby received his B.A. in biology and environmental studies with a minor in French from Middlebury College in Vermont, with additional coursework at Sciences Po Bordeaux, after attending The United World College of the Atlantic in St. Donat’s, Wales. He enjoys trail running, hiking, reading, analogue photography, spending time in his art studio, and irony.
Amy Laughlin,vice president of structured products and capital markets, Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF)
Ms. Laughlin manages the implementation of LIIF’s national New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) program and provides leadership in closing all transactions. She has closed more than $100 million of LIIF’s NMTC allocation and provides technical oversight for its over $300 million NMTC portfolio. Ms. Laughlin previously served as Senior Loan Officer for LIIF, managing all aspects of its charter school originations and NMTC transactions for the Western Region. Prior to joining LIIF, Ms. Laughlin was a Senior Underwriter for Capital Impact Partners, conducting credit analysis of charter schools and community health centers across the country. Ms. Laughlin received a B.A. from Duke University and an M.B.A. from the Yale School of Management.
Heather Dawn Thompson, practice group attorney, Greenberg Traurig LLP and lead manager of Tribal Opportunity Zones Venture Group, Native American Capital
Heather Dawn Thompson, who early on recognized the need for a special focus on Indian Country within the new Opportunity Zones investment program, will serve as the lead manager of this new Native American Capital initiative. Ms. Thompson is a nationally recognized Native American lawyer, leader, and Indian Country economic development expert, and is an enrolled member of the Cheyenne River Sioux Nation. She is with the Indian Law Practice of Greenberg & Traurig, and a principal with Native American Capital: Tribal Opportunity Zones Venture Group and with 7 Generations: Native Indoor Farms. Ms. Thompson focuses her practice on American Indian law, and tribal economic development including e-commerce, indoor and outdoor sustainable agriculture, international trade, energy, and finance. She has a concentration in local tribal community economic development and tribal nation building, and works with corporations and investors doing business in Indian Country, individual tribes, tribal and Indian-owned businesses, and intertribal associations. She holds a BA from Carnegie Mellon University, an M.P.A. from the University of Florida, and a JD from the Harvard Law School, cum laude.