Establish a board to work with the Department of City Planning to spend money from the new City Trust Fund proposed to receive funds from the Equitable Development Performance Point and potentially other sources.
- If a City Trust Fund is created to receive money from the Equitable Development Performance Point, it is important to carefully consider to how the funds are spent.
- Recent experiences with community benefits agreements in Pittsburgh and other US cities show that there is the potential for reinvestment of funds to generate disagreement, distrust, and conflict if not appropriately managed.
- The fund and therefore the board must have a core set of principles that guide decision making about where investments are directed.
- One clear imperative from the planning process was the need to retain and grow the share of the neighborhood’s BIPOC residents who have been displaced more than another other group in Oakland for decades. Each year, funds should be targeted to anti-displacement efforts that work to address the needs of these groups to reverse this trend. Example projects that could meet this goal and receive funding include youth training initiatives for black youths, programs that help black homeowners maintain and make improvements to their homes, homeowner and rental assistance for Oakland employees of color to find homes in Oakland, and supportive services like childcare.
- DCP would be responsible for establishing this committee. The selection process should follow objective goals and criteria in a transparent and non-political process. The bullets below provide guidance for DCP to utilize in establishing and maintaining this board.
- Oakland-based non-profits are likely to be key members of the board. This could include OPDC, OBID, and InnovatePGH / Pittsburgh Innovation District.
- The board should include a sufficient number of Oakland residents and small business owners that their views and needs can be adequately represented and have an impact on decision-making. These individuals could be identified through an open and competitive application process that allows for new people to come forth and be part of decision making in Oakland consistent with goals and policies in the Oakland Plan.
- Consider having workforce development and career services professionals on the board so they can advise the rest of the board on some of the complexities associated with creating and administering the programs that are likely to be reviewed. The planning process had involvement from Partners4Work, the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, Vibrant Pittsburgh, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority, who could be asked to serve on the committee to provide support.
- Membership and selection of members should also include consideration of representing diverse perspectives and lived experiences. A multi-cultural board would be best suited to consider the various challenges and opportunities Oakland faces as it makes decisions about how to allocate funds.
- Students should be represented on the board. Most likely ex officio representatives from student governments would be the best way to represent these views, ensure integration with university activities, and overcome continuity issues due to graduations.
- Members should have discrete terms and be re-established on a regular basis such as every two years.
- Members should remove themselves from voting on proposals that are made by their organizations or where they may otherwise have a financial conflict of interest.
- If a City of Pittsburgh Trust Fund is utilized, a process would need to be established by which the decision or advisement of the board leads to funding awards of funds. Board meetings and recommendations must be conducted in a transparent fashion to avoid sewing distrust.
- Give careful consideration to the role of the institutions on the board. Their involvement could result in creative leveraging of City Trust Fund dollars with institutional and foundation investments, and help to ensure alignment between funding of programs and limitations at major employers such as agreements with unions and other hiring mandates. Alternatively, there i is also the concern that
- Consider the role that City Council plays in the process to sign over the funds to recipients. Again, the experience of the Shade Tree Commission and its provision of Shade Tree Trust Fund dollars would be a relevant consideration.
- Steering Committee members noted a few useful references for the creation of this board, including: East Liberty Transit Reinvestment District Management Associations, Housing Opportunity Fund Board, and Hill District’s Community Collaboration and Implementation Plan Executive Committee.
When to start: 0-2 years
Estimated costs: $ (out of $$$$)
Project lead(s): DCP
Project partner(s): Oakland organizations, Partners4Work, Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation, Vibrant Pittsburgh, URA
Potential funding source(s): Community Reinvestment Fund