The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) built the first version of PolicyMap with partner Placebase, using its Pushpin technology. It went live last December. TRF released Version 2 to subscribers on May 20. The new version offers functionality and data geared toward redeveloping and revitalizing neighborhoods. Maggie McCullough, TRF’s director of PolicyMap, answered our questions.
Directions Magazine (DM): What is TRF and why is it in the data/mapping business?
Maggie McCullough (MM): The Reinvestment Fund (TRF), a charitable nonprofit organization, is a national innovator in capitalizing distressed communities and stimulating economic growth for low- and moderate-income families. Since its inception in 1985, TRF has made over $725 million in community investments. TRF is also nationally recognized for its research and housing-related policy analysis. Since 2000, TRF has used data analysis and mapping to help public sector and philanthropic clients with their strategies to preserve and rebuild vulnerable communities. TRF created PolicyMap as a more efficient and dynamic way to serve this type of social investor’s needs.
DM: What’s the value in neighborhood revitalization and who benefits?
MM: At the most basic level, each of us who lives in a neighborhood benefits when the neighborhood improves. We get access to improved amenities like schools and grocery stores; we may see improvements in safety, as well as possible increases in home values. Growth in home values can translate into greater equity in our homes for our families and can increase a neighborhood’s desirability. At a broader level, neighborhood revitalization increases the public value of safer neighborhoods and cities. It is also about creating economic fairness and social value by increasing the opportunities available to the communities in need that live in our cities.
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This article appeared in Directions Magazine on June 2nd, 2008.