Also by Reinvestment Fund

Market Value Analysis, Practitioners, and Private Investors: A Story from St. Louis

In 2013 and 2014, HUD worked with the City of St. Louis to reform its Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program. Part of that work involved the Reinvestment Fund creating a Market Value Analysis (MVA) for the City. The MVA has gone on to be used in public sector programs (e.g. guiding CDBG housing production requests for proposals and planning for public transit), but the development of a formally recognized MVA also furthered conversations among community development practitioners and private investors about the implications of the MVA for different reinvestment strategies in different market conditions.

As the MVA was being completed in early 2014, the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis (CBN)and the Metropolitan St. Louis Community Reinvestment Act Association (MSLCRA) created a joint task force to address the need for a regional community economic development investment system. This system would aggregate and deploy significant philanthropic and loan dollars.

Market Value Analysis Summary Results, 2013

The St. Louis region, like many others, has seen dramatic cuts in federal funding programs like CDBG and HOME. Adjusting for inflation the inner four counties of the region have seen roughly a 50% cut in those two programs over the past decade. In addition, St. Louis traditionally has not had strong philanthropic support for neighborhood revitalization. The need to develop a local pool of resources was increasingly important as was our region’s ability to use resources strategically and efficiently.

As the MVA was being completed in early 2014, the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis (CBN)and the Metropolitan St. Louis Community Reinvestment Act Association (MSLCRA)created a joint task force to address the need for a regional community economic development investment system. This system would aggregate and deploy significant philanthropic and loan dollars. The St. Louis region, like many others, has seen dramatic cuts in federal funding programs like CDBG and HOME. Adjusting for inflation the inner four counties of the region have seen roughly a 50% cut in those two programs over the past decade. In addition, St. Louis traditionally has not had strong philanthropic support for neighborhood revitalization. The need to develop a local pool of resources was increasingly important as was our region’s ability to use resources strategically and efficiently.

The task force, which grew to include philanthropic and CDFI representatives, explored best practices in regional community economic development systems throughout 2014. This exploration included trips to Cincinnati to see how their Place Matters initiative operated and to Baltimore to see how their Healthy Neighborhoods initiative utilized the MVA in their revitalization investment system.

After a year of discussion in St. Louis and learning from other cities, the task force included in their recommendations for a local community development investment system that public policy, community investment, and community development initiatives should be guided by a commitment to two broad strategies: 1) a comprehensive community development approach tailored to more distressed communities; and 2) targeted community improvement grants and activity, neighborhood marketing, and special loan products to middle neighborhoods. For both strategies, the neighborhood typology created by the MVA was useful in demonstrating the characteristics of each type of neighborhood market conditions.

Once agreement was reached on a number of recommendations for a regional investment system, the task turned to building an operating infrastructure and preparing practitioners to deliver on the task force’s goals. CBN and Rise Community Development, a local intermediary, partnered on a series of trainings for community development corporations about strategies for middle market and underdeveloped market neighborhoods. Experts on middle market neighborhood initiatives, David Boehlke and Sally Scott, spoke along with local experts. Tools for the community development process like LISC’s comprehensive planning toolkit were shared along with St. Louis’ MVA.

The work to fundraise and build a regional community economic development investment system is still underway in St. Louis by the St. Louis Community Foundation, who is housing this regional investment initiative, CBN and MSLCRA. The system, called Invest STL, is aiming to align philanthropic, loan dollars, and technical assistance in support of sustained initiatives and high-impact projects by community development organizations and the neighborhoods they serve.



InvestSTL, Investment Logic Mode

By being sensitive to market conditions, we hope to maximize grant and loan dollars by leveraging the ability to lend more in middle market neighborhoods and build the capacity of organizations to apply interventions appropriate to their neighborhood settings. As the community development field gets more sophisticated in its interventions it is important that we embed that knowledge not only in public policy but also in philanthropy, lending, and community practice.

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