The Encore Opportunity Zone Fellowship is a social entrepreneurship collaboration between Encore and the Center for Social Change, a Miami-based nonprofit shared space. The Fellowship works to create a robust, intentional, measurable and sustainable social impact strategy for the national opportunity zone enterprise. The process also cultivates a fertile landscape for place-based impact investing in each zone, which will serve the diverse socioeconomic interests of low-and-moderate income individuals and communities.
Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds will also benefit by having their investment offerings transformed into place-based impact investments, which, in turn, will increase investor interest. Helping Communities Work, a social purpose collaborative led by a banking industry coalition, will support the Fellowship. Focus areas include: community economic development, nonprofit growth and sustainability, climate change, social purpose real estate and technology-assisted affordable housing. The affordable housing initiative includes 3D printing and robotics technology and apprenticeship training stipends for employers and job-seekers.
The Encore Opportunity Zone Fellowship will also collaborate with and support other Encore programs such as the Gen2Gen Innovation Fellowship, which calls on the nation’s most talented innovators and entrepreneurs to marshal their best ideas to create and scale intergenerational solutions, an idea which has moved to the forefront particularly since Covid-19.
The Center for Social Change empowers the collective capacities and capabilities of nonprofit organizations and, through the Fellowship, provides a series of diverse and comprehensive social impact solutions to the national opportunity zone enterprise. The process enhances the socioeconomic value proposition of impact investments in the zones.
Encore.org is an innovation hub that taps the talent of the 50+ population as a force for good. Encore Fellowships match skilled, seasoned professionals with social sector organizations in high impact, paid leadership engagements. Over 10 years, more than 2,000 Encore Fellows™ have provided over 2 million hours of service, contributing the equivalent of $200 million to not-for-profit organizations in over 50 metropolitan areas.
For more information about the Encore Opportunity Zone Fellowship, contact Michael Sotire.
About Our Fellow: Michael Sotire
Michael Sotire leads the Encore Opportunity Zone Fellowship. He views the fellowship as an opportunity to apply the diverse lessons learned during a career that spans 55 years, primarily as a small business owner, to advance social entrepreneurship across the United States with a focus on opportunity zones and other distressed areas.
Michael recognizes that each opportunity zone provides a placed-based environment in which to integrate the vision, innovation, and action of business and social entrepreneurs for mutual benefit. The process breaks down the silos that challenge social change by facilitating collaborations among diverse opportunity zone stakeholders who may not ordinarily communicate yet have interrelated socio-economic goals and objectives.
Through the Fellowship, Michael works to align the diverse socioeconomic capacities and capabilities of the nonprofit shared space community. He collaborates across all sectors to create diverse social impact solutions, which are intended to serve low-and-moderate-income individuals and communities. The Fellowship is also designed to help transform the national opportunity zone enterprise into a fertile landscape for place-based impact investing.
Michael is a former Marine and Vietnam Veteran. He also works to advance industry-recognized apprenticeships and other job creation programs for veterans and all other workforce populations. Michael’s work is inspired by the words of an old Greek proverb, as quoted by Encore.org, “A society grows great when old people plant trees under whose shade they will never sit.”