Community Development Innovation Review

The Community Development Innovation Review focuses on bridging the gap between theory and practice, from as many viewpoints as possible. The goal of this journal is to promote cross-sector dialogue around a range of emerging issues and related investments that advance economic resilience and mobility for low- and moderate-income communities.


Show this section

Posted August 19, 2021

This issue of the Community Development Innovation Review examines the promise and pitfalls of financial technology, or fintech, for fostering racial equity and greater financial inclusion. Edited in partnership with the SF Fed’s Fintech team and Aspen Institute’s Financial Security Program, this issue brings together a broad set of voices from people working in various roles—including in technology, community development, economic inclusion, regulation, and investment—to contextualize gaps in the financial system and consider ways to address them.


Hide this section

Posted November 13, 2019

This issue of the Community Development Innovation Review explores the power of arts and culture to transform the practice of community development. Published in partnership with ArtPlace America and PolicyLink, this issue takes a deep dive into the lessons learned from the Community Development Investments program and offers reflections from industry leaders on the implications for the broader community development field.  The diverse range of authors includes artists, community developers, bankers, and researchers, and their collective voices frame a rich conversation on how openness to the creative process can help community development organizations better achieve their mission of expanding opportunity for low-income communities.

Posted October 17, 2019

This issue of the Community Development Innovation Review offers strategies that address climate change risk in low- and moderate-income (LMI) communities. As these communities begin to grapple with a changing environment, strategic investments can increase resiliency and support adaptation while simultaneously advancing community development priorities. The articles in this issue of the Review consider these investment opportunities from a diverse set of community, financial, economic, and academic perspectives.


Hide this section

Posted October 4, 2018

This issue of the Community Development Innovation Review is dedicated to the topic of mental health and community development. It advances the healthy communities conversation by explicitly recognizing the relationship between mental health and physical health as well as the role social factors play in both aspects of overall wellbeing. As the World Health Organization (WHO) says, “There is no health without mental health.” As the articles in this issue of the Review reveal, there are profound connections between poverty, place, and poor mental health. Issues like financial insecurity, housing instability, community violence, and limited economic prospects are risk factors for poor mental health—they are also the very same issues that community development seeks to address. In addition, the articles explore emerging themes in the field and their connection to mental health, such as the prevalence of trauma, community resilience in the face of climate change, and the power of arts and culture to engage and activate a community.


Hide this section

Posted September 12, 2017

This issue of the Community Development Investment Review celebrates the five year anniversary of the book Investing in What Works for America’s Communities and builds on its themes by exploring innovations and lessons learned from cross-sector practice across a range of issues. The first section begins with reflections from some of the original authors and early adopters of What Works. It then examines two place-based, multi-site initiatives designed to strengthen collaborative leadership and effect systems change, and also highlights innovative approaches from across the country. The second section presents case study profiles of “community quarterbacks” from the Partners in Progress (PIP) initiative, a joint effort between the Citi Foundation and LIIF to provide flexible support and technical assistance to 14 community-based organizations. The case study profiles provide concrete examples of how community quarterbacks are working to marshal resources, build trust with residents, and break down silos, offering hard-won lessons learned for others in the field.


Hide this section

Posted August 24, 2016

This volume is about a type of American neighborhood that has been largely absent in the long-standing discussion about America’s neighborhoods—those neighborhoods in America’s cities and suburbs that are not in deep distress, but are not thriving either. The authors hope to reinvigorate a discussion about improving middle neighborhoods in America’s cities and suburbs as a complement to the discussion underway nationally and in many local settings about improving distressed neighborhoods or coping with gentrification.


Hide this section

Posted December 31, 2014

Artists and cultural institutions have an important role to play in neighborhood social and economic vitality. As community developers consider how best to reimagine space they can and should look to the arts to help create place. This work, otherwise known as “creative placemaking,” is beginning to take shape across the country. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco is pleased to dedicate Volume 10, Issue 2 of the Community Development Investment Review to this emerging work.

Posted March 24, 2014

This issue of the Community Development Investment Review highlights a number of deliberate, innovative interdisciplinary efforts that seek to concurrently and holistically address community development and environmental issues. Many of them focus on cities and their surroundings. They are diverse in the combination of issues they touch and address including air quality, climate change, water access on the environmental side, and education, health, and affordable housing on the community development side, and they are diverse in their range of approaches and partnerships.


Hide this section

Posted December 31, 2013

In this issue of the Community Development Investment Review, we have brought together a series of articles that highlights some of the stabilization strategies emerging from the efforts of committed nonprofits across the country. The articles in the first section of this issue reflect the lessons learned from the Housing Partnership Network’s 2011-2013 Innovations in Neighborhood Stabilization and Foreclosure Prevention Initiative, funded by the Citi Foundation. The goal of the Innovations Initiative was not only to support emerging strategies for neighborhood stabilization, but also to share experiences across nonprofits and create a body of knowledge of successful strategies for the community development field. In the second section of this issue, we bring you a series of essays written by influential nonprofit and public sector leaders that enriches the conversation about neighborhood stabilization, providing new and provocative perspectives on this work.

Posted April 18, 2013

This issue of the Community Development Investment Review focused on Pay for Success financing, attempts to do two things. The first is to serve as a comprehensive resource for the most current thinking on the origins, models, and potential implications of Pay for Success. The second is to encourage readers to weigh its exciting potential against its possible pitfalls. Pay for Success is a tantalizing idea but it raises important questions. Are we privatizing important government services that should remain under public control? How can we accurately measure and enforce “success”? Can we guard against fraud? Can we effectively balance our often-conflicting goals of equity, efficiency, and efficacy? Understanding and answering these, and other, questions is a crucial first step before widespread adoption of Pay for Success tools.


Hide this section

Posted December 1, 2011

This issue of the Review includes the proceedings of the “Advancing Social Impact Investments through Measurement” conference held at the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on March 21, 2011. The conference was an attempt to bring both the community development finance and the impact investing communities together to share recent developments in innovation in social metrics and to think more deeply about how the government could play a role in promoting more and better measurement of social and environmental outcomes. In addition to the proceedings, this issue includes a series of thoughtful essays written by conference attendees in response to what they heard at the convening.

Posted March 1, 2011

Low-income people in the U.S. and abroad face similar challenges: access to credit, housing, jobs, and critical services including health and education. And yet today, those who work on international economic development and community development hardly know each other. This issue of the Review is dedicated to a simple idea: innovative ideas to solve poverty should not stop at the national border. There are too many good ideas abroad that can help inform our practices domestically, and good ideas here that can be relevant to other countries.


Hide this section

Posted December 1, 2010

In the community development finance and impact investing worlds, there is both universal agreement for the need for better social outcome measurements and no consensus on how to do it. This issue of the Review is an attempt to gather in one place what we know, what we think the state of the art is, and how we might contribute to an ongoing process to establish a tool—or many tools—that help us measure the social benefit of impact and community investing.


Hide this section

Posted December 1, 2009

In this issue of the Review, we explore the intersection of community development and health. Specifically, authors offer varying perspectives on how to “bend the health cost curve” using innovative community development strategies and how to positively affect social determinants of health to generate better health outcomes for low-income people.

Posted August 1, 2009

In this issue of the Review, we explore how both business enterprises and investment decisions can be infused with community goals—providing for those who are less capable of providing for themselves, promoting better health and stronger community fabric, and respecting the environment.

Posted April 2, 2009

The collapse of the housing market has devastated neighborhoods and balance sheets alike. Millions of homeowners have defaulted on their mortgages and holders of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) have suffered massive write-downs. Banks and servicers have been increasingly called upon to renegotiate payment terms and reduce mortgage principle to slow the tide of foreclosures and stabilize the housing market. Despite such attempts to “work out” troubled mortgages, however, the foreclosure rate continues to rise at a steady pace.

Posted February 1, 2009

The Community Reinvestment Act (CRA), enacted in 1977, has fostered access to financial services for low- and moderate-income communities across the country. Together with other antidiscrimination, consumer protection, and disclosure laws, the CRA remains today a key element of the regulatory framework, encouraging the provision of mortgage, small business, and other credit, investments, and financial services in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.


Hide this section

Posted December 13, 2007

This issue of the Community Development Investment Review explores how better data and technology can direct more capital to low-income areas. Better data on community development investments can turn uncertainty into quantifiable risk. In other words, better data transforms community development investments from being considered exotic, one-offs, public relations or philanthropy deals into regular assets with known risk parameters.


Hide this section

Posted November 17, 2006

The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System held a special, invitation-only conference in Washington, DC on September 6 and 7, 2006, on the secondary market for community development loans.


Hide this section

Posted December 1, 2005

This issue will focus on the New Markets Tax Credit program, which was enacted in 2000 to increase the flow of capital to communities that had been left out of the tremendous economic growth of the nation’s longest economic expansion.