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Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities

When & Where

Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities
June 23–25, 2021
Virtual conference


Please direct any questions about the Policy Summit to Treye Johnson.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

9:00–9:10 am Welcome and Opening Remarks

9:10–10:10 am Opening Keynote Presentation
Economic Resilience: What It Is, What It Is Not, and Why We Must Prioritize It Immediately

As we move through a pandemic that has wrought havoc on our communities, we find there are many facets to rebuilding: reinvigorating local and regional economies, strengthening neighborhoods by adding quality and affordable housing, supporting small businesses, and providing career pathways for our current and future workforce. This session defines economic resilience, highlights its importance in post-COVID-19 times, and provides ways communities can work toward achieving this goal.

10:10–10:20 am Virtual Networking Break

10:20–11:30 am Plenary 1
Common Ground in Urban and Rural America: What Has Undermined—and What Can Build—Economic Resilience

Economic resilience is needed, in both urban and rural communities, now more than ever. In this session, speakers share stories and insights about the geographic and racial exclusion that has undermined the economic health of these two populations essential to the success of our nation. The discussion will also identify strategies and interventions both populations can use to build economic resilience.

11:30–11:45 am Virtual Networking Break

11:45 am–12:45 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions A

A1Affordable Home Buyers Need Mortgages, Too

Our national affordable-housing conversation too often ignores the fact that even in communities where quality homes sell for $65,000, eligible homebuyers are unable to obtain small-dollar mortgage loans to purchase them. Because loans of less than $100,000 have the same administrative cost as bigger loans but are less profitable and harder to sell on the secondary market, lenders have little incentive to provide them. This session explores the innovative and promising mortgage lending programs helping to connect eligible buyers and smaller loans, increase wealth for low- and moderate-income buyers, and stabilize disinvested communities.

A2Innovation + Collaboration = Change: How Nonprofit Leaders of Color Move Equity and Resilience Forward

Nonprofit leaders of color are merging funding, policies, and programs to address deep and systemic inequities that continue to prevent prosperity for communities of color. Join this session to hear how national and local nonprofit and philanthropic leaders are adopting new approaches and initiating collaborations within the community development sector to advance change and move equity and resilience forward.

A3Learn from Home, Work from Home: How Technology Can Increase Opportunities in Underserved Communities

From distance working to virtual classrooms, the pandemic has forced a change in the role technology plays in our daily lives and created significant challenges for those without access to broadband or computers. Work from anywhere is the new norm for a significant segment of the population. This session will explore how shifting concepts of remote work and improved access to digital skills training can equitably improve opportunities for everyone, including those in underserved communities.

12:45–1:15 pm Virtual Open Networking

Thursday, June 24, 2021

8:30–9:00 am Virtual “Breakfast” Networking

9:00–10:15 am Plenary 2
Tell Your Story: Finding Economic Resilience in the Voices of Our Communities


This session explores the power of storytelling and its ability to elevate historically excluded community voices. The most effective storytellers can wield their power—sharing the experiences of those in lower-income communities and communities of color—to change commonly held ideas that frame the broader narrative of who is deserving of wealth, education, and healthy communities. This dynamic session features storytellers from communities across the nation using PechaKucha, a fast-paced, highly visual format that shows 20 slides for 20 seconds each. While they will all employ the same presentation format, each speaker will draw back the curtain on their own storytelling process, from ideation to execution, and hopefully inspire attendees to find and use their voices.

10:15–10:30 am Virtual Networking Break

10:30–11:30 am Concurrent Breakout Sessions B

B1Creating Inclusive, Equitable, Mixed-Income Communities with Community Land Trusts

Leaders of community land trusts explain how their model can advance inclusion and equity and deconcentrate poverty in communities. Panelists will discuss considerations for implementing community land trusts, including their ability to alleviate racial disparities in homeownership.

B2Build Resilience—in Local Governments and Beyond—with this Toolkit

For local governments across the country, the challenges of resetting disrupted city services, supporting vulnerable populations and businesses, and ensuring an inclusive fiscal recovery long after the shocks of 2020 are plenty. A toolkit from the Resilient Cities Network helps local governments answer critical questions: What activities have we stopped that we should not restart? What have we paused that we should start again but differently? And what are the things we have started that we will keep? This session will explore tools that every sector might use to prepare for, adapt to, and thrive in a changing local, national, and global environment. The session spotlights a recent agreement between Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Glasgow, Scotland, to work together to achieve more resilient and inclusive communities.

B3Big Help for Small Businesses: Solutions for Improving Access to Capital

Despite their importance to our economy, small-business owners—particularly women, people of color, and other underserved populations—face significant hurdles obtaining funds from traditional sources such as banks. Wide disparities in accessing capital have grown wider as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) has relied on our traditional, often inequitable system of financial institutions. Often, the only funding available to the smallest businesses is accompanied by high interest rates and confusing repayment terms. This session looks at efforts of lenders, nonprofits, and government to ensure that long-term, equitable, responsible capital is available to help enable small businesses to survive and thrive.

11:30–11:45 am Virtual Networking Break

11:45 am–12:45 pm Concurrent Breakout Sessions C

C1The Homes We Build Are Not the Homes Communities Need

Why does the construction industry continue to build the same housing products it did during the 20th century even though demographics and consumer preferences have changed? This session will dive into recent efforts to reevaluate single-family zoning and to look at the disconnect between the new construction housing we are building and the types of housing communities prioritize.

C2Praise Is Not Enough: Solutions for Closing the Pay Gap for Our Essential Workers

The pandemic has made clear the crucial role low-paid workers play in our economy. These essential workers deliver packages, grow and distribute food, operate transit systems, and care for our children and seniors. In some sectors, such as health care, essential workers are disproportionately women, while in others, such as cleaning services, they are disproportionately people of color. Low and stagnant wages in essential occupations have reinforced a significant pay gap between women and men and between workers of color and white workers. In this session, panelists discuss what has worked to support essential workers in 2020, what has not, and what policies and practices can meaningfully close the wage gaps.

C3Data and Policy

This session will explore examples of how community data is being used to support policymaking on state and local levels.

12:45–1:15 pm Networking Break

Friday, June 25, 2021

8:30–9:00 am Virtual “Breakfast” Networking

9:00–9:05 am Welcome

9:05–10:05 am Concurrent Breakout Sessions D

D1A Targeted Approach for Embedding Racial Equity in Housing Analyses

Housing analysts are reexamining the manner in which they analyze housing policy need and impact. How can researchers—and those translating and sharing that research—ensure quantitative data helps policymakers craft clear, targeted policies that achieve racially equitable housing resource allocation, access, and outcomes? Speakers will discuss the need to disaggregate data by race to allow the development of more targeted policy solutions informed by the long history of inequity for people of color.

D2Transferring Skills into a Bigger Paycheck: A New Path to Occupational Mobility

For many lower-wage workers, the path to a job with a sustainable wage is often unclear—especially when four-year degrees are regularly touted as necessary. But research from the Federal Reserve Banks of Cleveland and Philadelphia finds that skills in 49 percent of lower-wage jobs are the same skills needed for higher-paying jobs. And more and more job training and workforce development professionals are emphasizing a skills-based approach (rather than a knowledge-based approach) to viable employment. In this session, panelists explore new paths to occupational mobility and discuss what is needed to more broadly promote and implement a skills-centric approach to workforce development.

D3Building a Small-Business Ecosystem: A Recipe for Effective and Equitable Entrepreneur Support

What do small-business owners need to be successful? Access to capital? Skilled labor pools? Government policies? This session explores the ingredients necessary for creating supportive ecosystems that contribute to business growth and equitably and proactively include entrepreneurs of color.

10:05–10:15 am Virtual Networking Break

10:15–11:15 am Concurrent Breakout Sessions E

E1Housing Policy

This session will highlight promising policy trends and practices that increase housing stability for vulnerable populations and improve access to high-quality, affordable housing.

E2Workforce Development Policy

This session will examine workforce development policies and interventions that address persistent issues of training, job quality, and wages.

E3Revitalizing Communities by Restoring Neighborhood Retail

Street-level retail suffered a significant shock in 2020, but it remains a vital part of the neighborhood economy. Underperforming commercial corridors are challenged by dated and dilapidated building stock, owners without community connections, unsafe or unattractive corridor conditions, and difficulties marketing to entrepreneurs and nascent small businesses. This session will look at promising changes in the zoning, leasing, taxing, and marketing of neighborhood retail spaces to renew community vibrancy and create wealth-building opportunities for local entrepreneurs.

11:15–11:30 am Virtual Networking Break

11:30 am–12:45 pm Closing Presentation
FedTalk: What an “Inclusive” Recovery Looks Like in the Midwest, and Why It Matters to All of Us

For many communities, COVID-19 is just the latest economic shock to stand in the way of good jobs that provide people and families stable incomes and promising futures. Helping define what an inclusive recovery means to people and communities both locally and nationally, this session will examine the specific ways the pandemic has impacted the Midwest, expose the ways economic and racial exclusion keep economic recovery out of reach for millions of families, and propose the policies and interventions that Midwest leaders may take into consideration as they work to rebuild their communities.

12:45–12:50 pm Closing Remarks