Every Neighborhood is built from the ground up.

Civic leaders bring communities together around visions and projects that improve local prosperity. Project financing, however, is rarely a shared community-effort. The Governance Project’s open-access GroundUp tool changes that.


Communities face two large barriers that impede inclusive development:

1. Civic and community leaders are often tasked with far more than they have the time or resources to achieve, leading to prolonged project timelines or missed opportunities.

2. The lack of standardized funding tools unnecessarily penalizes local leaders seeking to serve their communities. Local officials funding transformative projects frequently lack the financial backgrounds necessary to support complicated community finance deals.


The Governance Project has created a tool to solve these problems and help fund more community projects.

With generous support from MasterCard’s Center for Inclusive Growth, we partnered with The Opportunity Exchange to build GroundUp: an open-access web-based tool that removes information and capacity barriers to building community wealth.

GroundUp allows economic developers and community groups to organize and understand the financing stack for locally-meaningful real estate projects, with an emphasis on Opportunity Zones. The tool brings everything you need together in one place to make projects pencil and shows private investors viable projects in places across America.

How it works for you

With just a few inputs, you can develop high-quality dynamic models for transformative local projects.

Develop digital proformas through an easy-to-navigate set of fields for key project costs, assumptions, common tax credits, and other market information.

 Create financial projections from this information including a 10 year cash flow, return projections, and sensitivity analyses to different grants, incentives, and subsidies.

GroundUp facilitates trust-building across the development cycle by lowering barriers to collaboration.

To learn more and to register for early access to GroundUp please visit our launch page.

What you need to know before you use GroundUp

GroundUp is a step-by-step financial modeling tool for project-based community development. It allows involved local development stakeholders to collaborate around projects that meet community needs and satisfy investor requirements. By entering project specifications, GroundUp generates key financial projections that aid in project development.


This platform is open-access and is free for everyone to use.

Make your community development experience as seamless as possible:


1. Options: In GroundUp you can model the financing for commercial, residential, or mixed use real estate developments that can create jobs and meet community needs.

2. Data: GroundUp incorporates national assumptions and allows for custom data input. Use project-specific data to create locally-tailored results for your neighborhood.

3. Collaboration: GroundUp’s pre-populated national assumptions about the real estate market can be refined with market data from trusted local or state providers, helping to bring stakeholders from the community into the project.

4. Terms: Project finance is full of jargon. We get it. GroundUp explains terms for you, provides analysis from community development experts, and gives you a sense of what drives Returns on Investment and Internal Rates of Return.

5. Process: GroundUp facilitates the development and economic recovery process by producing preliminary financial scoping documents that allow you to enhance your existing development process and better use limited public resources.