Exploring Opportunity Zones: Possibilities and Limitations

Presented by Wagner Philanthropy, SIIA and UPSA

12:15pm - 1:30pm
May 07, 2019
12:15pm - 1:30pm
The Puck Building - 295 Lafayette Street, The Rudin Family Forum for Civic Dialogue, 2nd Floor, New York, NY 10012

Join Wagner Philanthropy, the Social Innovation and Investment Alliance (SIIA) and the Urban Planning Student Association (UPSA) for a discussion on Opportunity Zones. Professor Mark Willis will be joined by Judi Kende and Lauren Byrne from Enterprise Community Partners to explore this new place-based incentive program. 

What are opportunity zones, and what do they mean for the nearly 9,000 neighborhoods where the federal government now offers tax breaks to investors for economic development? What do we know about opportunity zones so far? How might these investments impact designated neighborhoods? What are the desired outcomes of this program -- and what are its limitations?


Judi Kende is vice president and New York market leader for Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. With more than two decades of experience in community development, nonprofit leadership and finance, Judi oversees a 50-person cross-functional team delivering programmatic, capital and policy solutions to address New York City’s most complex housing challenges. Under Judi’s leadership, Enterprise focuses its work in New York on vulnerable populations, neighborhood impact and public housing – incubating programs and advocating for resources to address issues such as homelessness, senior housing, energy efficiency and resilience, health and housing, and connection to services. Over 30 years, Enterprise has invested $3 billion to create or preserve over 50,000 homes in New York City.

Judi serves on numerous boards including the Center for New York City Neighborhoods, Change Capital Fund and the Supportive Housing Network of New York. In addition, she is a member of the New York Housing Conference Advisory Board, and serves on multiple New Markets Tax Credit boards. In 2014, she was invited to serve on the Mayor’s Housing New York Implementation Advisory Board and the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability Technical Working Group. And in 2016, she was appointed to the Mayor’s Supportive Housing Task Force.

Prior to Enterprise, Judi held positions at the Low Income Investment Fund (LIIF), Citigroup, and Cancer Care. Judi graduated from Kenyon College with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and received her M.B.A. from the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University.

Lauren Byrne currently spearheads acquisitions underwriting and due diligence efforts for Enterprise Community Investment’s Opportunity Zone Fund and supports originations, capital raising and fund strategy development. She has a diverse background and experience in real estate across asset classes and geographies. Her prior experience includes working in J.P. Morgan’s Global Real Assets group on their multi-family and retail real estate investing teams, working at NY-based investor and developer, The Georgetown Company, and most recently as Real Estate Director at L Catterton-backed tiny house hospitality start-up, Getaway. Lauren is a graduate of Columbia University.

Mark Willis is the Senior Policy Fellow at the NYU Furman Center. Previously, Mark served two years as interim Executive Director of the NYU Furman Center following the departure of Co-Director Vicki Been to the de Blasio administration. 

Before joining the NYU Furman Center, Mark was a Visiting Scholar at the Ford Foundation, working on research related to community development and the financial services sector. Prior to his time at Ford, he spent 19 years at JPMorgan Chase overseeing its community development program, serving as Executive Vice President and Founding President of the Chase Community Development Corporation. Mark has also held positions with the City of New York in economic development, tax policy, and housing, where he was the Deputy Commissioner for Development at the Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He also worked as an urban economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Mark teaches Housing and Community Development Policy at NYU's Wagner School and speaks often on urban, housing, and community development affairs. He chairs the Program Planning Committee of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority and a number of other boards involved with housing and community development. 

Mark has a B.A. in economics from Yale University, a J.D. from Harvard Law School, and a Ph.D. in urban economics and industrial organization from Yale University.

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