Inland Empire

Roadmap for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy

Building a Stronger Future

The Inland Empire is a region on the rise, with cross-sector collaboration and civic engagement beginning to unlock the full potential of the region and its 4.6 million residents. This is most evident in the region’s Census outreach efforts, which has unified the region in various respects—across population centers in a region stretching 27,000 square miles, across racial groups and immigrant generations, and across sectors by building deeper relationships and partnerships involving experts in industry, community, government, academia, and philanthropy.

This united effort is also evident in community responses to COVID-19. Partners are blending  COVID relief with Census outreach, and are already designing innovative strategies and systems for community engagement that can work in the context of deep digital divides.

Building on the success of Census and COVID outreach efforts, leaders in the region are launching the Inland Empire Roadmap for an Inclusive and Sustainable Economy (IE RISE). IE RISE is an innovative project to develop a robust regional economic and institutional plan that: a) engages grass-roots, business, and government partners across its various sub-regions, b) supports youth voices to build the next generation of regional leadership, c) engages and builds research and policy capacity within the region, and d) provides a roadmap for a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable economy and society.

Core Values: Inclusion, Sustainability, Equity

COVID-19 response and the global call for racial justice come at a critical time for this work. Beyond the pressing immediate needs, we have the opportunity to help the region remake itself in a more equitable and sustainable manner. While there is much talk of an economic recovery, we believe that it is vital to also think about reform. How can we reform our various systems, so that communities of color, immigrants, low-wage workers, youth, and justice-involved populations all have an equal shot at defining a common vision and plan that meets their needs, with the requisite community investments to make them a reality?

Guided by a vision of the kind of future we hope to see by 2030, IE RISE will set a bold and ambitious investment strategy for the region. This multi-year, cross-sector effort will be supported by a mix of philanthropic investments and in-kind contributions of time and effort from institutional allies and partners in community organizations, government, industry, and academia. As with the case of Fresno DRIVE, we anticipate that these investments will generate millions of dollars in regional investments within a year, and will give shape to millions more in public and private investments in the decade to come.

We believe this project can serve as a model for deeply inclusive economic development in under-invested communities and areas. In addition to the work we plan to do in the Inland Empire as outlined below, and we are eager to explore the option of building a community of practice, that can capitalize on the momentum from Census outreach to help scale and support this work across the state and country.

Strategic Plan and Approach

Leaders are building on their success in organizing the region for 2020 Census outreach by utilizing a similar approach to inclusive regional planning. We began with a core group of partners that have been engaged in Census outreach and policy advocacy, who have the requisite knowledge and commitment, plus trust and goodwill among community members and institutional stakeholders alike, for this project to succeed. These partners established a foundational framework of core values, principles, and approaches that will inform the IE RISE work of grassroots and stakeholder engagement, policy and investment platform development, advocacy and accountability.

Now that the foundation is set, we look forward to engaging with institutional allies and partners. Building on the organizing model of Census IE, we are convening a coalition of community based organizations, industry, public institutions and other stakeholders with the purpose of creating a unified vision for the Inland Empire.

Importantly, just as in the case of 2020 Census outreach, the work will be structured in a way to ensure cross-regional equity, ensuring that communities that have traditionally held less power in regional economic decisions (such as the High Desert, Coachella Valley, San Bernardino metro, and Southwest Riverside County) are empowered and united to shape our region’s economic future. Key elements of the work will include: public safety, economic development, education, environment, housing, infrastructure, transportation, and workforce development. In addition, racial, gender, and LGBTQ equity will be important through-lines.

For those interested in joining IE RISE, here is a list of issue tracks and work timeline in Summer 2020.

Interested in Joining the Movement?

Apply Now!

Please complete the following form to be considered for organizational membership.

IE RISE Org Membership Application

Researchers! If you'd like to help with the landscape scan on any of our issues, sign up below. Please consult our issues and timeline.

IE RISE Researcher Application