This monograph represents the culmination of a year long inquiry into the state of place-based initiatives. It draws upon the contributions of a cross-section of the foremost thought leaders in this field, many of whom have spent their entire careers working on major philanthropic initiatives or government efforts aimed at addressing geographically-concentrated poverty. In participating in this inquiry, they freely shared lifetimes of experience and insight with great generosity, candor, and intellect.
This inquiry has been a partnership between The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy and the Sol Price Center for Social Innovation at the University of Southern California Sol Price School of Public Policy. Place-based initiatives are an area of interest to both. The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy is focused on philanthropic strategies for public problem solving, and the Price Center is concerned with the development of ideas and practices to enhance the quality of life in low-income communities. Indeed, these two foci are at the heart of Sol Price’s philanthropic efforts in his hometown of San Diego – the revitalization of its City Heights neighborhood. As a result of this interplay of interests, the two Centers are well-positioned to undertake this inquiry. We can take on sustained inquiries – this one has unfolded over the course of a year – instead of having one-off conversations. We knew that this is what would be required for so complex and layered a subject. Our approach has enabled us to engage the leading thinkers and doers in the field from across the country to more deeply examine the current state of place-based strategies and the key challenges in advancing this work.