For decades, suburban malls and online shopping had drawn customers away from the beating heart of communities — the shops where residents once congregated, conversed, and consumed. A recent study of 30 towns across Long Island, N.Y., commissioned by the Rauch Foundation found that nearly one in five businesses faced problems such as un-affordable rents, competition from online commerce, and hiring and maintaining staff — and that was before the health crisis hit.
More broadly, the study showed downtowns that rebounded quicker were generally destinations for good eats and libation and embraced innovative uses of streets and public spaces, which drew visitors and created a sense of community. Even when the pandemic is in our rear-view mirror, the challenges facing Main Street — especially in low-income communities — won’t disappear.
The research, while based on the experiences of Long Island towns, uncovered a three-part approach that philanthropic organizations in any region could use to collaborate with local government and businesses to improve and revive town centers. Read the Entire Article
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Established by Big Society Capital and the Northern Rock Foundation, the North East Social Investment Company is soon to be launched for lending by mid-2014.