Celebrating Opportunity360: Unleashing the Power of Data to Transform Communities
As Enterprise celebrates the one-year anniversary of Opportunity360, we are energized by the momentum that the platform has created, and we are reminded of the reasons we initiated this work.
Since our launch in September 2017, we have had well over 100,000 visitors make use of our data, take advantage of the resources on the website and sign-up for our newsletters. We are delighted that so many people have found this resource important to their work and useful to their efforts to improve communities. We are also happy to see the sheer diversity of people logging onto the site and using the resources to further community building – from educators, to philanthropy, to transportation, health, workforce development, investors and so on. And we are starting to see what we originally envisioned for Opportunity360 actually happen – the resources in the platform has shaped, kick-started or transformed conversations about what opportunity is, how it can be measured and how we all benefit when we work to improve pathways to it.
Opportunity360 was created based on the radical proposition that we needed a new more comprehensive way to think about opportunity and a way to move beyond the notion that accessing opportunity is merely a question of one’s hard work, level of perseverance or grit. We know that for many Americans, the roads or pathways to opportunity, remain blocked. And while we know that affordable housing is one pathway to opportunity, we also recognize that there are others – like education, jobs, good schools, transportation and others.
So, we created Opportunity360 with the clear understanding that we wanted to change the narrative. Access to opportunity is not simply about individual choices or even just about housing. Our approach, Opportunity360, recognizes that people’s outcomes are the product of a multi-layered set of factors that operate at the individual, home, neighborhood and systems/policy levels.
In addition, we knew that we need to move away from conventional assumptions that opportunity is an all or nothing proposition. From our vantage point, the relevant question is not does this place have opportunity? That question invites a yes or no response and it misses the reality that even in wealthy, so called “opportunity rich” places, that many people are left out - having little to no access to the opportunity pathways in those places (living wage jobs, decent housing, transit access and more).
Opportunity360 is built on a more nuanced assessment – different places may offer different types of opportunity pathways, but every place offers some. Our task is to measure what opportunities exist in a place and to help communities think constructively about how to leverage those existing pathways and to create or widen those pathways that are not functioning to advance better outcomes for low- and moderate-income residents.
So, the more relevant question taken up by Opportunity360 is: what kinds of opportunity pathways exist in this place and for whom are those pathways providing access to a better life? When asked in this way, it can direct community stakeholders to think about the kinds of pathways that could be created, opened up or reinforced in order to improve the lives of all of the people who live there.
Opportunity360 is dedicated to helping communities begin to unpack these issues. It is inherently built around the idea that change is possible, necessary and worthwhile. It is part of a broader, ambitious effort at Enterprise to change the way that people all over the country are mobilized to open up pathways to the American dream. As we celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Opportunity360 launch, take a moment to think about how you can use the resources in the platform to push, accelerate or scale systems change efforts to improve opportunity for the millions of Americans whose access today remains blocked.
Celebrate with us and start measuring opportunity in your area. Visit Opportunity360.org