THE FINANCING OF THE BERKELEY GLOBAL CAMPUS is a rare opportunity to generate much needed revenue to invest in the Richmond community. As a leading public educational institution, UC Berkeley is uniquely situated to implement a finance and development model that has public benefits and community inclusion built into its structure. The limits on the UC system’s ability to secure financing directly to develop the campus has lead it to a publicprivate partnership model in which private financing and a private developer will be used. In its conventional form, this model is not likely to generate significant community benefits or local reinvestment. However, the insertion of a Community Development Entity (CDE) into the campus finance structure could generate substantial new resources at a scale that would make addressing persistent challenges in Richmond a real possibility.
As a mission-driven finance model committed to serving the needs of low-income communities, a CDE provides a vehicle for achieving the greatest impact on inclusive community economic development. The CDE is governed by a board that has the technical capacity to manage the development project, and community representatives to manage appropriate funding of community projects. Like a conventional developer, the CDE contracts with third party professionals to carry out the architectural, engineering, and other components of campus development projects. However, with a CDE the profits from the projects are reinvested in the community, rather than delivered to a corporate firm’s shareholders or owners.
How much investment the community would receive through the CDE would depend on the total costs of the project. If the CDE model is utilized, the Global Campus presents a unique opportunity to bring a scale of investments to Richmond’s low-income communities that would otherwise be unachievable.
Without this approach, the campus development could result in far less significant benefits, or worse yet, an island of opportunity that is cut off from Richmond and perpetuates the inequality and lack of opportunity that many residents face. The CDE model would provide unparalleled community investment to Richmond’s low-income residents and communities of color that would address historic economic inequalities and set the foundation for the long-term economic stability and growth of those marginalized communities and the city as a whole.
The potential of this project extends beyond Richmond: the Berkeley Global Campus could serve as a leading model for how anchor developments can be best structured in order to benefit all members of a community, expanding opportunity that supports a healthy and fully inclusive region.