Foundation Consortium Helps Implement Federal Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community Initiative

In December 1994, 105 U.S. cities and rural areas received designations under the Empowerment Zone/Enterprise Community (EZ/EC) Initiative, a 10-year federal effort to revitalize areas of concentrated, persistent poverty.

To support successful implementation of the EZ/EC Initiative and to secure long-term benefits for the field of community-building, nine foundations (joined by a tenth in 1998) formed the EZ/EC Foundation Consortium in June 1997.

Key Results

Consortium staff:

  • Facilitated peer exchange and learning through meetings of site directors and others.

  • Promoted skills development for site staff and provided individualized or tailored opportunities for mutual learning.

  • Expanded the knowledge base of EZ/EC site staff by compiling topical information from external sources for distribution to sites.

  • Informed the larger field of community-building by documenting the EZ/EC Initiative in two projects.

The consortium ceased operation in June 2004. An evaluation of the technical assistance provided to EZ/EC sites by the consortium and others concluded that foundation support of the consortium enabled the EZ/EC sites to maximize results from federal support by filling critical gaps in networks for peer exchange and specialized tools and models.