Guest feature: Robert Brennan is the executive director of the Maryland Economic Development Corporation.
Last week, the Maryland Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), together with Wye River Group and Bengur Bryan, announced the launch of an investment fund we believe is the start of something truly dynamic for economically challenged communities across Maryland.
The Maryland Targeted Communities Investment Fund (MTCIF) is a privately-managed, public-private partnership that aims to raise $50 million from corporations, banks, local governments, foundations and individuals to build better neighborhoods by activating real estate development, encouraging job growth, reducing crime and improving the quality of life for citizens across our state.
The statewide fund's initial focus will be targeted to designated areas in Baltimore City and Prince George's County with infrastructure in place to support sustainable growth and transit oriented development.
What's key to the fund is its structure as a "double bottom line" fund, meaning it has a two-fold objective:
- To attract business, create jobs and induce additional investment in areas with underutilized properties; and
- To provide a modest return to the fund's investors.
States and municipalities located across the U.S. have used double bottom line funds with demonstrable success to both communities and investors.
The fund had its genesis through legislation co-sponsored by Senator James Rosapepe and Delegate Stephen Lafferty with the idea that it would complement rather than replicate existing conventional financing.
The introduction of the MTCIF comes on the heels of news that our state leads the nation in job creation and job growth. This is a positive demonstration of public-private collaboration to move Maryland forward.