The Potential and Power of Place

Updates December 7, 2023

New investments in community-driven plans aim to break the cycle of poverty


In the United States, your zip code can become your destiny. Where someone is born and lives largely determines their access to resources and opportunities, limiting economic and social mobility for far too many individuals. Creating access, however, can change life trajectories. Harvard’s Opportunity Insights proved that every year spent in a high-opportunity environment during childhood improves long-term outcomes, including college attendance and lifetime earnings. Harnessing these findings, Blue Meridian Partners seeks to improve economic and social mobility in communities across the US through the Place Matters portfolio. Our strategy includes investments in place-based partnerships, an approach that utilizes a community-led, data-driven model to create opportunity pathways and improve and sustain positive outcomes for young people and families living in poverty, and catalytic supports to enable those partnerships.

With anchor funding from Ballmer Group and capital pooled from Blue Meridian’s investing Partners, we have expanded Place Matters investments to neighborhoods, cities, and states throughout the country. Since 2020, we have committed nearly $420 million to nearly 20 place-based partnerships at the regional and neighborhood levels and to national organizations that support them. Early multi-year investments in Tulsa, OK, and Guilford County, NC, as well as targeted investments supporting pandemic recovery efforts have informed this investing approach. By aligning opportunities and solutions, the backbone organizations of these partnerships and their local collaborators build on individual and community assets to create cradle-to-career pathways that allow more young people to reach their full potential. Our investments in neighborhood-level partnerships like Northside Achievement Zone in Minneapolis, MN, and Mission Economic Development Agency in San Francisco, CA, underscore that even in strong regional economies, deliberate strategies are required to enable inclusive prosperity.

Barriers like minimal, siloed funding and lack of access to planning, data analysis, policy development, talent recruitment, or technology resources can inhibit systemic change at the community level. Therefore, Blue Meridian invests in national organizations, such as the William Julius Wilson Institute, Purpose Built Communities, and StriveTogether to create an ecosystem of tools, infrastructure, and conditions that enable these place-based partnerships to succeed.

Three place-based partnerships in Spartanburg, SC, and Dallas and San Antonio, TX, have raised nearly $335 million through Blue Meridian and local and regional funding. Leaders from these communities developed multi-year strategic plans to improve economic and social mobility outcomes by leveraging the expertise of partners and galvanizing local funders whose support complements our investment. As they implement these plans over the coming years, these place-based partnerships aim to unlock billions in additional public and private funding. By aligning national, regional, and local capital from those who share our belief in the power of place, the potential for impact is exponential.

Blue Meridian’s Place Matters investment approach is core to our mission of transforming life trajectories for young people and families in poverty. By working within regions to address unique problems specific to a community and trusting local leaders, we believe we can create the access to opportunity needed to disconnect geography from destiny.


Meet the Latest Place-Based Partnerships


Opportunity 2040 is working to cut Dallas County’s childhood poverty rate by 50% while doubling the number of young adults attaining a living wage. Led by The Child Poverty Action Lab and The Commit Partnership, Opportunity 2040 aligns key partners and resources toward a common goal of economic transformation. Learn more.




“To arrive here, we collaborated with trusted partners and developed a long-term roadmap of reinforcing interventions that will benefit our entire Dallas County community.”

– John McPherson, President of Opportunity 2040




Movement 2030 seeks to put more young people in Spartanburg County on a path to economic mobility by increasing school readiness to 65%, up from 48%, and post-secondary attainment from 59% to 70%. The Spartanburg Academic Movement is coordinating efforts among >30 local organizations to create conditions for children and families to succeed. Learn more.




“Movement 2030 is our community’s plan to prepare every child for school success. It provides resources to historically underserved neighborhoods and gives every graduating student the opportunity to earn a degree or certification.”

– Dr. Russell Booker, CEO of Spartanburg Academic Movement





Future Ready Bexar County is preparing Bexar County youth for success in and out of the classroom by focusing on three pillars: healing, access, and voice. Spearheaded by San Antonio-based nonprofit UP Partnership, this plan seeks to increase post-secondary degree or credential program enrollment from 50% to 70% by 2030. Learn more.




“Over 90 local institutions made concrete commitments to the Future Ready Bexar County Plan. Alongside young leaders, these institutions are advancing a movement that will increase the economic mobility of our region.”

– Ryan Lugalia-Hollon, Ph.D., CEO of UP Partnership





Read More Updates

Read the latest news and announcements from Blue Meridian Partners.