Putting Public Assets to Work: Urban Wealth Funds

Part of GFOA's Rethinking Revenue Initiative

Local governments are sitting on a "gold mine." Just as a private individual or corporation uses assets (like machinery and buildings) to generate income, governments can generate income from their assets. Urban Wealth Funds (UWF) are assigned government assets with commercial value under unified, professional management who own and manage these assets for the betterment of the local community. UWFs have been used by governments in Europe and East Asia to generate billions of dollars to fund local infrastructure while maintaining public control of these local assets. A few local governments in North America have also begun to explore UWFs, as a complement to taxes as a source of revenues. GFOA and co-hosts the Sorenson Impact Center, along with ICMA, Asset Leadership Network, National Academy of Public Administration, and Harvard Kennedy School, Tabuman Center for State and Local Government gave attendees the opportunity to explore Urban Wealth Funds with new research and a webinar featuring internationally recognized experts including Governor Martin O'MalleyDag Detter, Sorenson Senior Fellow Ben McAdams, Joseph Minicozzi, AICP, and A. Scott Anderson.