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  • April 01, 2019

Local “place-based opportunity ecosystems” – comprising mutually reinforcing public and nonprofit organizations working across systems – hold enormous promise in advancing social and economic mobility in particular cities.

We define “Opportunity Ecosystems” a systems-work within communities that are strategic, action-oriented, dynamic and enduring environment formed by people and partners, aligned by a shared purpose and set of values that supports the advancement and acceleration of social and economic mobility for children, youth and families. We seek to promote collaborations across sectors and integrating service delivery, community engagement and economic development at local levels.

Kresge and the American Public Human Service Association have developed an “ecosystem readiness tool” that measures six readiness factors (such as governance structure, leadership, and strategic financing) against the Human Service Value Curve (HSVC) to determine the ecosystem strength and sophistication. Utilizing the tool, ecosystems are measured at one of three levels:

Building sites: Developing the readiness and infrastructure necessary for a thriving opportunity ecosystem. These places will likely be operating primarily in the regulative business model as defined by the HSVC. They may have elements of the collaborative, but rarely elements of integrative and generative.

Advancing sites: Fundamental infrastructure, leadership and readiness elements needed to be well poised to readily operationalize an ecosystem model that could be sector leading. These sites in general are likely operating between collaborative and integrative business models with some elements of generative.

Accelerating sites: Represent the pace-setting examples of opportunity ecosystem activity. These are the bright spots with the capability to continue to set the edge. These sites in general are likely operating between integrative and generative business models.

We invest at all levels with the intention of ecosystems advancing over time and providing lessons to other development ecosystems.

Focus Area

Building Place-Based Opportunity Ecosystems

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