The Funders Network believes that in order for communities to be truly just, sustainable and economically prosperous, we must challenge and confront the power dynamics and structural racism that have historically fostered inequities and informed policies and practices.

Racial and economic equity are fundamental to just and inclusive communities, cities and regions. Both urgent and sustained action are needed to change systems that prevent historically marginalized people from prospering, and address deep and widening disparities in income, wealth, and social outcomes.

About Inclusive Economies

TFN’s Inclusive Economies working group brings place-based funders and related partners from across the sector together to build working relationships, advancing understanding of practices and policies that lead to inclusive prosperity and taking joint action that drives the field forward. We apply a three-part focus — race, place and prosperity — to economic growth and development. A particular goal is connecting people and neighborhoods of color to employment and wealth-building opportunities through investment, systems change, and policy reform.

Inclusive Economies launched in 2019, replacing TFN’s Restoring Prosperity in Older Industrial Cities working group. This new group represents a vision of shared, restorative and equitable prosperity in places of all types (urban, suburban, and rural), sizes (neighborhoods, cities, towns, and regions), and market conditions (weak, moderate, and strong).

Our Goals & Strategies

Inclusive Economies’ work reflects a number of related premises:

  • We prioritize racial equity in recognition of the far-reaching role of race in determining economic and social outcomes, and the inequitable advantages conferred by privilege and power.
  • Inclusive Economies’ strategies integrate the economic, physical, cultural and social dimensions of place.
  • Our work advances systemic change as a matter of racial and economic justice, and affirms intersectional approaches to supporting economic growth and resilience.
  • We seek geographically targeted and locally determined strategies that build power, wealth and justice by connecting historically marginalized people and places to investment that generates
    income and wealth.
  • We strive to challenge and confront the power dynamics and structural racism that have historically fostered inequities and informed policies and practices, and create communities and regions that are sustainable, prosperous and just.

Initiatives & Partnerships

Anchor Institutions Initiative 

Drawing on longstanding interest by TFN members in the role of anchor institutions in driving local economic inclusion, this initiative systematically integrates anchor strategies into the work of Inclusive Economies, and seeks opportunities to collaborate with other working groups to highlight the relevance of anchor-based economic development across a range of issue areas. This initiative produced the report, Anchored in Place: How Funders are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies.

TFN’s Federal Reserve-Philanthropy Initiative

The Federal Reserve-Philanthropy Initiative (FPI), a collaborative framework that brings funders, regional Federal Reserve Banks, and other partners together to pursue research and joint projects that advance the fields of community and economic development. FPI has supported a number of projects, some of which are highlighted below, and convenes periodically to share learning and develop new lines of inquiry. The Initiative is housed under the Inclusive Economies program umbrella. It collaborated with the Urban Institute’s National Neighborhood Indicators Partnership and several Federal Reserve district banks to produce Turning the Corner: Monitoring Neighborhood Change to Prevent Displacement.

The Federal Reserve-Philanthropy Initiative (FPI), along with several Federal Reserve district banks, also produced the study Looking for Progress in America’s Smaller Legacy Cities: A report for funders.

Connect & Engage

Inclusive Economies engages funders and working partners through a variety of activities and communications that are designed to advance discourse, provoke new insights, and provide funders with actionable information and resources that enhance their philanthropic practice.

Funders and partners that participate in TFN’s Inclusive Economies have the opportunity to:

  • Deepen their knowledge about topics about policies, best practices and innovative approaches impacting the field of inclusive economic development through regular learning calls and webinars.
  • Learn and share with fellow funders and partners through peer-learning calls and via our Inclusive Economies listserv.
  • Attend the Inclusive Economies Annual Meeting and other networking opportunities offered by The Funders Network, including TFN’s Annual Conference.
  • Participate in collaborative research opportunities via The Funders Network-Federal Reserve Initiative, as well as the facilitation and management of collaborative projects.
  • Expand their professional network and hone leadership skills by volunteering on planning committees and designing or participating in webinars, panel discussions and other TFN networking and learning events.

“What’s most important about this work is that the vitality of our country and the future of our country depends on reducing racial and economic disparities. As funders, we have a role and a responsibility to reduce and eliminate those gaps for people in the United States.”

Scot Spencer of The Annie E. Casey Foundation and co-chair of TFN’s Inclusive Economies

Inclusive Economies 2019 Inaugural Meeting


Key Takeaways

Inclusive Economies


Statement of Purpose

Turning the Corner


Monitoring Neighborhood Change
to Prevent Displacement

Renewing America’s Economic Promise Through Older Industrial Cities


Brookings Institution Report, Supported by TFN Members

Looking for Progress in America’s Smaller Legacy Cities


A Report for Place-Based Funders | TFN Federal Reserve-Philanthropy Initiative

Anchored in Place: How Funders are Helping Anchor Institutions Strengthen Local Economies


TFN Report

Power for Policy: Shared Prosperity and Inclusive Economies


Webinar Recording

Steering Committee

Mekaelia Davis

PLACES Alum
Surdna Foundation

Wendy Jackson

Kresge Foundation
(Co-Chairperson)

Jean McKeown

Scot Spencer

PLACES Alum
Annie E. Casey Foundation
(Co-Chairperson)

Kevin Ryan

Tené Traylor

Get Involved

For more information about TFN’s Inclusive Economies, reach out to Program Associate Hazel Paguaga at hazel@www.fundersnetwork.org.