Endowment Zones

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By Zachary Caceres:

"Like an endowed foundation, an endowment zone can pay out a percentage of its land rents to basic income supports, environmental causes, education, or healthcare. As the zone attracts residents and commerce increases, this endowment grows. It’s a recurring dividend for social good.

For example, a one percent share in the tiny 110-acre free zone the Dubai International Financial Center (DIFC) would create 30 million dollars towards a safety net or public good. All this, from an area the size of a small American farm, supercharged for business.

While schools often fight for appropriations in national budgets, these millions could be given directly to citizens as vouchers for education. Hospitals, healthcare for the poor or disabled, or even general healthcare vouchers could be financed from endowment zone dividends.

Larger projects like urban-scale Free Cities could raise much larger endowments than the tiny DIFC. This means as entrepreneurs make breakthrough projects and grow their bottom-lines in a zone, endowments for the less fortunate grow at pace.

Endowment zones for environmental problems are a powerful and underused tool for improving the natural world. Environmental trusts – legal entities charged with the protection of a natural resource – have been endorsed by Nobel Laureate economist Elinor Ostrom as well as progressive entrepreneurial guru Peter Barnes.

An endowment zone could pay into environmental trusts and funds to protect the Amazon or Mississippi River. Areas already damaged by pollution could be restored with the funds of a zone. They could finance new habitats for endangered species, or simply natural parks for popular enjoyment." (http://www.radicalsocialentreps.org/2012/04/endowment-zones-using-commerce-to-build-safety-nets-and-public-services/)