The Century Foundation (TCF) commits to assist in the reconstruction of the Northeast Region by convening public officials and key stakeholders resulting in targeted technical advisory to move along public-private partnerships. This effort will build on the work of Michael Likosky, Senior Fellow at TCF, who has convened small meetings coupled with technical advisory since 2007.
To implement this commitment, TCF will draw on its large network of stakeholders, including private firms, local and state government, law firms, nonprofits, financiers, and construction firms. It will convene small groups in the Tri-State region to bring together partners that have the ability to affect change through the creation of institutions, programs, and projects.
Today, public-private partnerships often disadvantage women- and minority-owned contractors and subcontractors. Partnerships usually are awarded to large construction firms, shutting out small- and medium-sized firms, particularly those owned by women and minorities. In this convening, TCF will make special efforts to include women- and minority-owned contractors and subcontractors; the exclusion of women- and minority-owned businesses is one of the most important challenges that the commitment faces. As the convening group turns into an action-oriented one, TCF will ensure that women- and minority-owned businesses are openly embraced by large construction firms and financial institutions. A goal is to increase the access of these women- and minority-owned firms so that three firms are active participants in such public-partnerships.
A additional goal is to increase training in public-private partnerships to at least forty-five people through training seminars. Given that the commitment hones in on post-disaster relief, the effect of the commitment will be geared to promoting climate change solutions.
November 2013 - February 2014: TCF begins convening small intensive meetings with government officials and key stakeholders, such as mayors, green energy non-governmental agencies, as well as government agencies. Meetings include senior executives of women and minority owned businesses. Importantly, TCF begins to have success in putting together a larger group with this status. Related, TCF explores strategic alliances with groups devoted to being an association of these firms. As well, TCF focuses on women and people of color with public and private leadership positions. TCF seeks to bring together stakeholders who enter discussions with other stakeholders in good faith and with a sense of urgency. These stakeholders are necessary to achieve success with public-private-partnerships. TCF seeks support from philanthropic foundations who possess extensive networks in the region.
February 2014- March 2014: TCF identifies the most appropriate projects and shifts away from convening small over-inclusive participants and toward ones in which only officials and stakeholders who will be involved in the targeted advisory. TCF begins technical assistance in California and Chicago, as well as the federal government. TCF focuses mainly on government and private leaders as well as small and medium size women and minority-owned businesses. For instance, it is engaged with the Governor's Office in California on making partnerships more sophisticated with regards the role of the federal government.
March 2014 - May 2015: TCF provides technical assistance in a targeted way geared toward institution-making, program creation, and/or project development. It does so with a special focus on women and minority owned businesses. These firms have direct relations with government entities and public officials. Focus is also on women and people of color holding public and private leadership positions. This aim is recognized by encouraging these interests to work together on bottom up solutions which are not entirely based upon the federal government's leadership.
Superstorm Sandy's impact on Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York is a recent example of the significant damage that natural disasters can wreak on American cities and states. What makes a disaster such as Sandy particularly debilitating is that it strikes at a weakened national infrastructure that is already in need of significant repair.
The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Report Card recently awarded the United States a D+ for its infrastructure. The ASCE estimates that it would cost .6 trillion to address the country's needs, if the goal was to move the country's infrastructure to a state of good repair on the level of the leading developed nations. Other developed countries invest a much larger percentage of their Gross Domestic Product on infrastructure; for instance, Australia spends 2.4% of GDP on its infrastructure, while the U.S. invests only 0.6%.
In the face of these tremendous infrastructure deficits, the federal, state, and city governments remain in financial distress. To meet the recovery needs of the post-Sandy states, a new path must therefore be pursued, with an invitation to private investors and firms through the use of public-private partnerships.
Public-private partnerships are a leveraging strategy through which governments can meet financial needs by attracting private and nonprofit sectors as vital partners and co-investors. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), as the principal for the Obama administration's efforts to rebuild after Sandy, has urged these states to use public-private partnerships to make public grant dollars go further.
The main challenge is that many stakeholders are inexperienced regarding public-private partnerships. Most public officials lack the knowledge necessary to enter into structured partnerships that will avoid cost run-ups, and many private firms, including women- and minority-owned businesses, are rarely given the opportunity to contribute to public-private partnerships, which often involve large-scale projects monopolized by similarly sized firms.
To achieve effective and collegial public-private partnerships, the public sector and nonprofits must find collegial ways of pursuing these cooperative arrangements with common purpose; and in a way that meets the needs of all participants and advances the public interest.
TCF will seek foundation support, public officials, construction companies, financial institutions, and law firms.
The commitment leverages public-private-partnerships to address natural disasters within U.S. cities and states. It offers knowledge of the public-private-partnership financing technique. The commitment is also based upon instilling best practices into specific public-private partnership transactions. It will provide convening and technical assistance to state officials, governors, mayors, and other high level public officials.