A letter from our Advisory Board Chair, Richard France
Dear Friends and Colleagues,
As Investing in Place looks forward to its sixth year, we are faced with a political, policy, and social landscape that is rife with uncertainty, plagued with systemic inequities, and poised for change. It is in this context that our organization presents its third strategic plan. As we’ve struggled to make sense of the political strife, economic hardship, personal grief, and public mourning that has characterized this year, we have doubled down on our commitment to fostering fairer and more just communities. It is in that spirit that I’m heartened to share this guiding document with you.
Looking ahead, Investing in Place will continue to pursue its mission of aligning policies and public dollars to support transformative transportation investments. But the organization will fulfill this mission with a renewed emphasis on strengthening partnerships and working across issue areas to demand reparative change. To that end, the plan lays out a vision for a pandemic response and recovery effort that centers the needs of BIPOC communities and other marginalized populations. This strategy acknowledges that, long before a novel coronavirus upended lives and livelihoods, our communities were combatting threats posed by systemic racism, an exploitative economic system, and a society that persistently devalues and dismisses women. It is a plan that demands that we do better – that we go beyond yearning for a return to the “normal” that we all knew, but many of us did not love. It challenges us to imagine what a restorative recovery entails – one that recognizes and atones for the systemic barriers we’ve erected to deny access and curtail opportunity. And it asks us to consider the components of a just recovery. That is, a suite of holistic policies and programs that employ transparent, fair, and representative processes; one where budgets codify our moral obligation to redress historic wrongs; and one where everyone has the resources, knowledge, and opportunity to exercise agency over their lives.
As we look to the start of a new year, we are optimistic that our communities can harness the forces of change to create better outcomes for those that have borne the brunt of these public health and economic crises. This latest strategic plan reinforces Investing in Place’s commitment to supporting communities by fostering collaboration, building shared understanding, and pursuing inclusive processes to enable more just outcomes. It is a much-needed road map for the uncertainty that lies ahead.