Media Coverage | Opportunity Zone Trade Association Hosting Hands-On Community Workshop and OZ Catalyst Event in Pittsburgh

Nov 4, 2019

Deputy Secretary of Commerce, Administrator of U.S. Economic Development Administration, and former President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors to address audience with keynotes.

October 24, 2019 07:30 AM

PITTSBURGH–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Opportunity Zone Association of America (OZAA), a national, non-profit trade association of opportunity zone stakeholders, will host a Community Workshop and Catalyst Event in Pittsburgh as part of their national Opportunity Zone Road Show.

“Our region stands to benefit greatly from Opportunity Zones when the investments live up to their full promise to our neighborhoods, however we must come together to seize the opportunity.”

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The Pittsburgh Catalyst Event will take place at the Power Center at Duquesne University on Friday, November 1 and is open to the public. The Community Workshop will take place on Thursday, October 31 at the Doubletree Hilton.

The Pittsburgh Catalyst Event and Community Workshop are part of OZAA’s Road Show that will continue across the United States in 2020. With planning that began in May, OZAA gathered many of Pittsburgh’s OZ stakeholders to discuss the region’s OZ assets, community strengths, and challenges, informing the programming of the two-day event. The upcoming workshop and event will focus on practical application, best practices, and lessons learned from early OZ leaders.

Benefiting from the experience of regional and national experts, including Karen Dunn Kelley, Deputy Secretary of Commerce, and Dr. John Fleming, Administrator of the Economic Development Administration, attendees will learn how Opportunity Zones are improving communities across the country and receive valuable insights regarding how to access national resources and apply success stories to their locale.

The Opportunity Zone Roadshow aims to gather, educate, and galvanize developers, investors, government representatives, and community advocates interested in using the federal Opportunity Zone incentive to make meaningful investments in disinvested communities. November’s Catalyst Event will showcase Pittsburgh, while also providing a national perspective from investors, funds, and service providers.

“By working with community leaders to build a technical understanding of how investors and funds are organizing to deploy OZ capital, OZAA seeks to enable community leaders to be skilled facilitators of a thriving OZ ecosystem,” stated Kyle Walker, OZAA board chair. “The Opportunity Zone tax incentive will be a success if community leaders can work with private industry to achieve aligned outcomes and inclusive growth.”

“We are looking forward to bringing information, resources, and a dynamic conversation to the Pittsburgh area,” remarked Aaron Grau, OZAA Executive Director. “It’s critical for communities and regions to set a solid foundation for Opportunity Zone investments.”

In addition to the Opportunity Zone Association of America, planning partners include Neighborhood Allies and the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, Pittsburgh Branch. Event sponsors include PNC Bank, Alpha Capital Partners, Agora AltX, Duquesne University, Commonwealth Strategic Partners, Chesapeake Financial Corp, Grau & Associates, and TrailBlaze Creative.

“We want to ensure Pittsburgh is at the top of investors’ lists when considering Opportunity Zone investment,” said Presley Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies in Pittsburgh—one of the local organizing partners of the event. “Our region stands to benefit greatly from Opportunity Zones when the investments live up to their full promise to our neighborhoods, however we must come together to seize the opportunity.”

More information, including registration and sponsorship information, can be found at the OZAA website ( or the event website (

About OZAA

Opportunity Zone Association of America (OZAA) is the national platform for Opportunity Zone stakeholders including funds, businesses, investors, service providers, policy makers, municipalities and non-profits/foundations. OZAA supports these stakeholders, and the professionals they rely on, by providing multiple venues for information exchange, networking, sharing of best practices, and policy discussions.

The association promotes the Opportunity Zone industry by bringing local opportunities, and their stakeholders, together with national resources; informing and updating policy makers with supporting data on projects in Opportunity Zone census tracts.

OZAA, through focus groups, roundtables, and regular convenings seeks to understand project data–what project sponsors are willing and able to share, what communities and policy makers want to see, and how best to distribute that information. From information collection to visualization and reporting, OZAA will work with stakeholders to tell the story of Opportunity Zone success.

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA