Increasing Economic Opportunity In Distressed Urban Communities With EB-5
Impact investing holds significant promise for directing more resources to America’s distressed urban core. The EB-5 program could be an effective investment tool to achieve this goal but it is underutilized. The EB-5 program was created by the U.S. government in 1990 to improve economic conditions, especially in high poverty and high unemployment urban and rural areas, by attracting foreign capital to support investments that create local jobs. Interest in EB-5 as a new investment tool was relatively limited until the recent recession and subsequent contraction of more traditional sources of capital. Today, there are approximately 440 EB-5 regional centers operating across the U.S. and last year the government received over 6,300 applications to the EB-5 program.1 A recent report by Brookings (Singer and Galdes, 2014) estimates that since 1990 the EB-5 program has captured approximately $5 billion in direct investments and created over 85,000 full-time jobs.
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