Sorenson Impact Foundation In the News

July 11, 2019

ForbesCalling All OZ Players: Forbes And Sorenson Impact Launch New List For Top Opportunity Zone Funds And Founders

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Sorenson Impact Center to launch our new list: The Forbes OZ 20: Top Opportunity Zone Catalysts. Debuting in February of 2020 the list will highlight the best investors and entrepreneurs who are creating lasting change OZ communities across the U.S.”


July 2, 2019

ForbesOZs by the Numbers, from Financial Stability to Life Expectancy

“We want to make the most of Opportunity Zones. That’s why the Sorenson Impact Center collaborated with Forbes to create The Forbes OZ 20: Top OZ Catalysts. In support of this effort, we analyzed indicators from 7,500 Opportunity Zones, including education, housing costs, and life expectancy. Although our current findings are only preliminary, they’re revealing: when compared to non-designated census tracts within the same state, Opportunity Zones tend to have worse economic, educational and health-related outcomes, despite some variation across states.”


June 13, 2019

ForbesInnovating for Upward Mobility

“While job growth across the state has increased 17 percent since 2008, employment in Carbon and neighboring Emery County has declined 16 percent. The unemployment rate in the two counties is double that of the entire state.”

The Utah Coal Country Strike Team, a coalition of state and local governments, education and business entities, is also “a multi-pronged proposal includes educational training, building a tourism infrastructure, revitalizing housing stock and leveraging opportunity zones to boost economic development.” The team’s proposal “is now in the running for up to $1 million in funding from Schmidt Futures, which in April 2018 selected the University of Utah as one of four anchor institutions in the Alliance for the American Dream.”


May 29, 2019

ForbesOpportunity Zones’ Biggest Myths

Sorenson Impact Center demystifies the top three myths around opportunity zones.

“This era differs greatly from previous decades when many economic redevelopment initiatives were first piloted… social impact measurement and analysis has enjoyed a veritable revolution.”


May 29, 2019

BloombergOpportunity Zones: Can Philanthropy Provide Accountability When the Law Does Not?

“Enter philanthropy…to the rescue? This week, the Rockefeller Foundation announced last week that it would be making $5.5 million available to help six US cities shape responsible strategy around opportunity zones.” 

“Additionally, Jim Sorenson, an entrepreneur, investor, and businessman based in Utah, has announced he is seeding a $150 million fund that will measure investment impact in these zones using a framework designed by US Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center at Georgetown University.” 


May 23, 2019

Impact AlphaEmpowering communities to take ownership of their own Opportunity Zones

“A common thread throughout the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit in Newark this week: Ensuring those living and working in Opportunity Zones are empowered to use the tax incentive to take an ownership stake in their own neighborhoods.”

‘“There are just as many bold innovators in Nashville, the Navajo Tribal Nation and Newark as there are in Silicon Valley,” said Jim Sorenson, who has put $10 million into an Opportunity Fund launched by his private equity firm, Catalyst.”


May 21, 2019

BloombergRockefeller Foundation Aims to Make Trump Tax Perk Work for Poor

“Rockefeller’s grants are part of a broader effort by philanthropies, public officials and others to make sure the tax break has positive outcomes. The Kresge Foundation pledged $22 million this year to support fund managers who agree to report on their investments in opportunity zones. Jim Sorenson, a prominent impact investor, said this week he’s seeding a $150 million fund that will use a framework designed by U.S. Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center at Georgetown University to measure the good it does in distressed areas.”


May 20, 2019

BloombergSorenson Seeds $150 Million Fund to Invest in Overlooked America

“Real estate moguls, banks and money managers are rushing to capitalize on a new U.S. tax break rewarding investments in poor communities. Now, one of the biggest names in impact investing is aiming to prove the perks are about more than profits.

Jim Sorenson, a prominent Utah entrepreneur, investor and businessman, plans to announce Monday that Catalyst, a private equity firm he helped found, is raising $150 million to invest in opportunity zones. The group’s first fund, which Sorenson is seeding with $10 million, will focus on developing real estate with an eye toward delivering both market-rate returns and measurable social good.”


April 24, 2019

ForbesNew Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka Join the Lineup For Forbes’ Inaugural Opportunity Zones Summit

“The 2019 Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit will bring together 250 top leaders… to support the development of best practices, and shape the national Opportunity Zones agenda to fuel transformative impact in America’s left-behind communities.” 

“Forbes has formed an influential Board of Advisors to elevate the agenda and has confirmed a world-class slate of speakers including Sean Parker, John Lettieri, Rise of the Rest’s J.D. Vance, hall-of-famer David Robinson, impact investors Jim Sorenson, Ray Chambers, Cheryl Dorsey and many more.”


April 19, 2019

BarronsOpportunity Zone Rules Just Got Clearer, Giving Investors a Green Light

Jim Sorenson, president of the Sorenson Impact Foundation, is optimistic that the program will work as planned. Sorenson, who has started an Opportunity Zone task force, told Barron’s he sees the new regulations launching ‘the most positive and transformative period for communities across America since the New Deal.’”


April 15, 2019

ForbesWhy Billionaires, All-Star Athletes and Wall Street Leaders Are Joining the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit

Forbes is launching the new Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit in Newark, New Jersey on May 21 with the theme, Investing for Impact. The investment summit of the year will feature “…top leaders driving the Opportunity Zone ecosystem and forging a new era of responsible capitalism… including Facebook’s first president and Napster founder Sean Parker, AOL founder Steve Case, impact investor Jim Sorenson and creative politicians like Senator Cory Booker, Senator Tim Scott and Stockton, California’s dynamic, young mayor Michael Tubbs.”


Feb. 20, 2019

The New York TimesWall Street, Seeking Big Tax Breaks, Sets Sights on Distressed Main Streets

“I believe it really can be a great model to demonstrate the holistic, community-informed investments that can transform these distressed communities, while earning returns,” said Jim Sorenson, an entrepreneur based in Utah. Mr. Sorenson, who hosts an annual gathering of impact investors in Salt Lake City, devoted much of this year’s meeting, in February, to discussing the potential benefits of the zones. He joined several groups in announcing an effort to create a “guiding set of principles” for making such investments.


Feb. 6, 2019

Impact AlphaPushing for community engagement and impact reporting in Opportunity Zone investing

The framework was launched at Sorenson Impact Center’s Winter Innovation Summit now underway in Salt Lake City. The Center’s new “Opportunity Zones Catalyst Challenge” will use the framework to highlight cities and states, as well as fund managers and investors, that are using the tax-advantaged investments to drive social and environmental impact.

“There are skeptics that feel this is a tax break for the rich, that it’s real estate developers just coming in to do investments that are subsidized by the tax break,” Jim Sorenson told ImpactAlpha. “We really want to counter that.”


May 29, 2019

Nonprofit QuarterlyOpportunity Zones: Can Philanthropy Provide Accountability When the Law Does Not?

“Enter philanthropy…to the rescue? This week, the Rockefeller Foundation announced last week that it would be making $5.5 million available to help six US cities shape responsible strategy around opportunity zones.” 

“Additionally, Jim Sorenson, an entrepreneur, investor, and businessman based in Utah, has announced he is seeding a $150 million fund that will measure investment impact in these zones using a framework designed by US Impact Investing Alliance and the Beeck Center at Georgetown University.” 


May 23, 2019

Impact AlphaEmpowering communities to take ownership of their own Opportunity Zones

“A common thread throughout the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit in Newark this week: Ensuring those living and working in Opportunity Zones are empowered to use the tax incentive to take an ownership stake in their own neighborhoods.

“There are just as many bold innovators in Nashville, the Navajo Tribal Nation and Newark as there are in Silicon Valley,” said Jim Sorenson, who has put $10 million into an Opportunity Fund launched by his private equity firm, Catalyst.”


May 21, 2019

Impact AlphaGeneration’s $1B sustainable solutions fund, Sorenson seeds Catalyst’s Opportunity Fund, getting to graduation, diversity in equity crowdfunding

Catalyst launches $150 million impact-focused Opportunity Fund. Catalyst, Utah billionaire Jim Sorenson’s private equity firm, is looking to raise $150 million in a tax-advantaged Opportunity Fund. Sorenson, an early proponent of Opportunity Zones, seeded the fund with $10 million of his own money, according to Bloomberg. Catalyst aims to invest in real estate projects that boost local residents’ access to quality jobs, healthcare, education and housing.”


May 20, 2019

FORTUNENot Just a Tax Break

“There’s a new opportunity fund in town. Jim Sorenson’s Catalyst, a private equity firm he helped found, is raising $150 million to invest in opportunity zones.”

“The group’s first fund, which Sorenson is seeding with $10 million, will focus on developing real estate with an eye toward delivering both market-rate returns and measurable social good, according to Bloomberg. “This is a great opportunity to generate a return and make a positive contribution to society,” he said in the article.”


May 20, 2019

PE HubCatalyst launches first real estate Opportunity Zone fund

Renowned Impact Investors Jim Sorenson, Patrick McKenna, and Jeremy Keele Have Teamed up to Invest in Undercapitalized American Communities

Catalyst said May 20 that it is launching an inaugural real estate Opportunity Zone fund, which plans to raise $150 million. Catalyst, of Salt Lake City, has invested in more than $6 billion of real estate projects in the United States across various asset classes.”


May 19, 2019

Bloomberg MarketsSorenson Seeds $150 Million Fund to Invest in Overlooked America

Jim Sorenson, a prominent Utah entrepreneur, investor and businessman, plans to announce Monday that Catalyst, a private equity firm he helped found, is raising $150 million to invest in opportunity zones. The group’s first fund, which Sorenson is seeding with $10 million, will focus on developing real estate with an eye toward delivering both market-rate returns and measurable social good.”


April 24, 2019

FORBESNew Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, NBA Hall of Famer David Robinson and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka Join the Lineup For Forbes’ Inaugural Opportunity Zones Summit

Forbes has formed an influential Board of Advisors to elevate the [Forbes Opportunity Zone Summit] agenda and has confirmed a world-class slate of speakers including Sean Parker, John Lettieri, Rise of the Rest’s J.D. Vance, hall-of-famer David Robinson, impact investors Jim Sorenson, Ray Chambers, Cheryl Dorsey and many more.


April 15, 2019

FORBESWhy Billionaires, All-Star Athletes and Wall Street Leaders Are Joining the Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit 

Forbes is launching the new Forbes Opportunity Zones Summit in Newark, New Jersey on May 21 with the theme, Investing for Impact. The investment summit of the year will feature “…top leaders driving the Opportunity Zone ecosystem and forging a new era of responsible capitalism… including Facebook’s first president and Napster founder Sean Parker, AOL founder Steve Case, impact investor Jim Sorenson and creative politicians like Senator Cory Booker, Senator Tim Scott and Stockton, California’s dynamic, young mayor Michael Tubbs.”


February 20, 2019

New York TimesWall Street, Seeking Big Tax Breaks, Sets Sights on Distressed Main Streets

“Hedge funds, investment banks and money managers are trying to raise tens of billions of dollars this year for so-called opportunity funds, a creation of President Trump’s 2017 tax package meant to steer money to poor areas by offering potentially large tax breaks.”

[Jim] Sorenson, who hosts an annual gathering of impact investors in Salt Lake City, devoted much of this year’s meeting, in February, to discussing the potential benefits of the zones. He joined several groups in announcing an effort to create a “guiding set of principles” for making such investments.”


July 18, 2018

ForbesAn Unlikely Group Of Billionaires And Politicians Has Created The Most Unbelievable Tax Break Ever

“The great thing about this legislation is it can bring together sectors that may not have worked together before,” says Jim Sorenson, a Utah-based entrepreneur and impact investor who was an early part of Parker’s coalition. “There can be a great collaboration between state and local entities to add more incentives to further sweeten the pot.” 

Sorenson says philanthropy can play an important role in prepping an O-zone for growth, providing initial capital to secure real estate loans or launching job-training programs to create a large supply of local talent ready to work. “We can come in first, solve problems and de-risk projects to make them more feasible for investors,” Sorenson says. “Then you tap into the institutional markets—that’s where the big money is.”


May 31, 2018

ForbesForbes’ Seventh Annual Forbes 400 Summit On Philanthropy Bridges Worlds Of Social Good And Entrepreneurship

“Forbes yesterday hosted its seventh annual Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy under the theme Thinking Big…and Proving It,” bringing together 150 of the world’s leading philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and business leaders to discuss how best to address and solve some of the world’s most intractable problems. … The day’s speakers included Warren Buffett, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway; Billy Beane, Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, Oakland Athletics; … Jim Sorenson, President, Sorenson Impact Foundation … among many others.”


March 14, 2017

The HillInvestors, mine for diamonds in your own backyard

“As an entrepreneur, I made my living generating, testing and collaborating on good ideas. As an investor and philanthropist, I now spend my days seeking, evaluating and collaborating with others on ventures, and I have been surprised at finding great ideas in unexpected places — outside Silicon Valley, outside Wall Street, and even outside the private sector.”


February 9, 2018

The Economist Events BlogJames Lee Sorenson, Chairman, Sorenson Impact Foundation

I’ve always been a businessman and entrepreneur. Just prior to my formal involvement in the social innovation and impact investing space, I helped develop digital video compression software, mass-market videophones, and video relay service for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. This work helped transform communication capabilities for a million deaf individuals in the early 2000s, and I realized that my investments could ‘do well while doing good.’ I like to think that I haven’t looked back since.


January 29, 2018

The New York TimesTucked Into the Tax Bill, a Plan to Help Distressed America

“Investors are already starting to take notice. A two-hour session on Opportunity Funds drew a standing-room-only crowd last week at the Winter Innovation Summit in Salt Lake City, said Patrick McKenna, founding partner of the venture capital firm High Ridge Global. Mr. McKenna has invested in distressed communities such as Baltimore and over the last year has tried to steer Silicon Valley dollars to struggling areas such as Youngstown, Ohio, out of a belief those areas contain untapped potential for growth and prosperity.”


December 18, 2017

ForbesWhy 2018 Is The Year Of The Philanthropic Investor

This initiative led to my personal philanthropic redirection towards impact investing, and in 2013, I created the Sorenson Impact Center to further advance the market.