Blueprint Local

Overview

  In late 2017, the Federal Government passed and signed into law, the Investing in Opportunities Act (IIOA), more commonly referred to as Opportunity Zones. This was designed to incentivize private capital to invest in deeply distressed census tracts across the country. Around that time, a group of us, including Ross Baird, the founder of Village Capital, began to discuss this new potential and ways to deploy it in communities that seeks to build wealth, without being extractive. We saw a small window in time to build a strategy that could help set a narrative for the country.   Blueprint Texas, the initial Opportunity Fund from Blueprint Local was announced in January 2019 and was joined initially (and now many others as well) by the Admiral Capital Group, founded by NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson. Blueprint Texas will concentrate its investments across Texas in areas that help foster economic growth, are inclusive and seek to address specific regional and community challenges. Ultimately, Blueprint Local has become a platform for community change in places like Austin, TX, Baltimore, MD, and others. 

Why Blueprint Local?

At Access Ventures, we have been pioneering “one-pocket investing” in communities since the early days of our organization. In early 2018, we saw an opportunity to take these best practices and we enlisted Ross Baird as a Venture Partner to begin testing the water on interest, direction and potential partnerships. The very “street corner” thesis originated with our work in Shelby Park – Louisville. 

 

How We Helped

In the past, early movers have mattered. We’ve seen some disappointment in past federal programs such as New Market Tax Credits – well-intentioned and in some cases used appropriately, but at the end of the day, a bill that was meant to invest in operating companies that would lead to jobs and wealth creation, devolved into another real estate investment opportunity for investors not from those communities.

In order to do something different, in the summer of 2018, we announced our plan to explore the development of such a strategy and teamed up with Ross Baird, as a Venture Partner at Access Ventures, to build on work that we have done in communities such as Louisville, Tulsa, and Columbus, as well as explore new opportunities in many more. We’ve piloted direct investments in local businesses, placed strategic capital in anchor community real estate, and backed national growing companies that we think have the potential to strengthen communities across America.

We are proud to have financed it’s genesis from thesis to what are now multiple community-based Opportunity Zone funds and to now be a GP alongside other great partners in this effort.


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