Philadelphia, September 22 — Reinvestment Fund has been awarded the prestigious 2020 Knowledge Challenge grant by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. The award is one of 13 announced last week and will support work in partnership with the Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) of Saint Paul, Minnesota and researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.
“We are grateful to the Kauffman Foundation for this award and are honored to be in the company of our fellow awardees who represent some of the best entrepreneurship researchers in the nation,” said Don Hinkle-Brown, President and CEO of Reinvestment Fund. “Together with our partners NDC and the University of Pennsylvania, we look forward to better understanding the connections between thriving local entrepreneurship and social well-being.”
“The grants under this Knowledge Challenge are focused on inclusion and the importance of answering questions about the relationship between entrepreneurship, economic opportunity and mobility,” said Samee Desai, director of Knowledge Creation and Research at the Kauffman Foundation. “We’re excited to learn from the research collaborations that that can shed light on this nexus, as well as to a more inclusive research pipeline that will continue to push us forward. As we all struggle with the very serious effects of COVID-19, we need research that informs our way forward, not to go back to how things were, but to achieve a more resilient and inclusive economic system that serves all of us in the future.”
NDC and Reinvestment Fund will study the impact that small, diverse businesses, started principally by local immigrant and minority entrepreneurs, have on community social wellbeing. The foundation of this research project will come from Reinvestment Fund’s Market Value Analysis (MVA) and data on business starts / job creation from NDC’s Build from Within Alliance (BfW Alliance) members.
The MVA combines spatial and statistical analyses to describe local real estate market conditions. Beyond, Reinvestment Fund will collaborate with Professor Mark Stern of the University of Pennsylvania to create indices of social wellbeing for each community. These will help understand the many and different ways – beyond the purely economic – that BfW Alliance entrepreneurs add social value to the communities within which they work.
“When we started NDC 27 years ago, we believed that a strong network of locally owned businesses contributes to economic vitality of the neighborhood and has lasting generational impact on the social wellbeing of the community and those who live there,” said MIhailo Temali, Founder and CEO of NDC. “Informally, we have seen this play out in the Twin Cities and across the BfW Alliance communities as the entrepreneurs in the program and the businesses they create have ripple effects across their neighborhoods well beyond the economic contributions. Through our partnership with the Reinvestment Fund and the support of the Kauffman Knowledge Challenge, we will have a chance to formally identify the lasting community impact of vibrant, locally owned businesses on community.”
The findings from this project will inform and shape work on the ground by 10+ BfW Alliance community-based organizations that support hundreds of entrepreneurs across 37 neighborhoods in cities that include Anchorage, AK; Wilmington, DE; Detroit, MI; Fayetteville, AR; Houston, TX; Miami, FL; Minneapolis, St. Paul, Brooklyn Park and St. Cloud, MN; Philadelphia, PA; and Syracuse, NY. Proposed measures of wellbeing include housing opportunity, racial and economic diversity, community connection, and access to healthcare–to name a few. Essentially, the partnership will explore the association between the housing market, economic vitality and entrepreneurship, and the relationships those have–separately and combined–to wellbeing.
The Knowledge Challenge is a biannual program that invites proposals for research activities aimed at improving our basic understanding of entrepreneurs and the levers, tools, and methods that can advance entrepreneurship in the United States. The Knowledge Challenge is open to proposers conducting research in universities and academic institutions, laboratories, companies, nonprofit organizations, and as individuals. The goal of the Knowledge Challenge is to produce tangible insights for entrepreneurs, entrepreneurship program and policy design, ecosystem leaders, and researchers.
About Reinvestment Fund
Reinvestment Fund is a mission-driven financial institution committed to making communities work for all people. We are dedicated to ensuring that people in all communities have the opportunities they strive for: affordable places to live, access to nutritious food, schools where their children can succeed, and strong, local businesses that support quality jobs. Using analytical and financial tools, we strengthen neighborhoods, scale social enterprises, and create resilient communities, where everyone can thrive and prosper. Learn more at reinvestment.com
About Neighborhood Development Center and Build from Within Alliance
Neighborhood Development Center (NDC) is a non-profit, community development financial institution that provides integrated business services so that entrepreneurs can start and grow businesses that enrich their economic and social fabric. Build from Within Alliance (BfW Alliance) is a multi-city collaboration adopting, adapting and growing the NDC approach to place-based, entrepreneurship in marginalized neighborhoods across the country.