Many of the United States' OICs have been under economic pressure since as early as the late 1950s. The combined effects of the 2007 recession and the credit/foreclosure crisis, as well as developmental sprawl, have presented OICs with additional challenges. However, the nation’s OICs are home to tens of millions of people and jobs, and they boast a broad range of infrastructural, economic, and cultural assets. These assets can form the foundation of significant renewal if properly utilized.
TFN created its Restoring Prosperity in Older Industrial Cities Working Group in 2006 to concentrate on addressing the challenges faced by OICs in eight Northeastern and Midwestern states: Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts. The working group is also exploring the role of anchor institutions in local economies, with respect to the role they play in job creation and income maintenance, as well as the potential for collaboration between funders and those anchors.
A newer related program, the Federal Reserve/Philanthropy Initiative (FPI), seeks to leverage the presence of the Federal Reserve System’s district banks and branches in key OICs. FPI seeks to connect interested parties and resources to undertake projects that will have regional and national benefits, as well as to promote nontraditional partnerships. It meets three times annually, and its members work year-round on individual projects.