A new case study describes a model for renewing dis-invested and under-resourced communities and measuring the impact of millions of dollars of place-based development, as used in Pullman by CNI and its partners.  Key findings from the study by the University of Chicago Booth School of Business include:

  • Invest big – no drops in the bucket: Impact investing requires a long-term commitment to the community vs. supporting one project and leaving. With U.S. Bank ensuring that financially, CNI could respond quickly to opportunities as they arose.
  • Build community engagement and buy-in: Success requires a holistic approach and direct input from the community every step of the way: listen to what they need and deliver on it. CNI’s board reflects Pullman demographically and includes community leaders.  As a result, there was direct dialogue at every stage of the process.  The plan came from the community.
  • Drive benefits where they’re needed most: Don’t just assume the local community will benefit – incorporate the community explicitly into the planning. CNI mandated hiring from the local ZIP code, required onsite employment centers, and ran workshops so local contractors and businesses know how to bid on opportunities.

The full case study is available here (pdf), the executive summary here (pdf), and a news release here (pdf).