Across the country, cities routinely invest significant time and money into creating individual economic development projects or programs that fail to make a meaningful difference in a community’s trajectory. For at least 20 years, that was the case in Fresno, a city of about a half a million people roughly 200 miles southeast of San Francisco, deep in the heart of California’s agricultural Central Valley. A majority minority city, Fresno is the heart of one of the nation’s fastest-growing regions but is also the most economically and racially inequitable of California’s 59 largest cities.

How to go beyond lip service and actually transform how a city pursues economic development? By establishing a shared understanding of Fresno’s racist policies and practices, sharing power with residents who are routinely excluded from important decisions, and committing to new policies and programs that explicitly prioritize racial equity.

Many of these tenets underlie The Shared Prosperity Partnership (SP2), a collaboration that—in Fresno and seven other cities—brings together local leaders to address challenges to inclusive growth and provide data, research, and access to national experts, networks and financial resources.

In August 2018, the Central Valley Community Foundation, joined SP2, and together they convened a roundtable to explore these issues with SP2’s data, research, and technical support. Building on these initial SP2 conversations, dozens of local leaders came together in the summer and fall of 2019 to launch Fresno DRIVE (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy), an initiative to make this new plan a reality. A year later, DRIVE members had created a strategic plan detailing 19 initiatives that collectively call for $4.2 billion of investment across three major areas: economic development, human capital, and neighborhood revitalization.

Read the full article about inclusive economic growth at Stanford Social Innovation Review.