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/ follow-up report

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In Depth: Participatory Sessions
Housing Affordability: Market Approaches thumbnail
 Upskilling:  How Businesses Can Enhance Workforce Readiness thumbnail
Childcare Solutions: Benefits For Business and Parents thumbnail
Enhancing  K-12 Public Education: The Role of Business thumbnail
Innovative Philanthropy: Driving Change thumbnail


Housing Affordability: Market Approaches


To come up with innovative market-based approaches to address housing affordability challenges in Miami, and discover how public-private partnerships and creative solutions can make housing more accessible to all residents.

Subject Matter Experts:
•    Oliver Gross, President, New Urban Development
•    David Martin, Chief Executive Officer, Terra
•    Alberto Milo, Jr., President, Related Urban Development Group 
•    Craig Robins, Chief Executive Officer, Dacra
•    Facilitator: Sara B. Herald, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg
•    Dialogue Activist: David Resnick, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Key Observations:
•    Affordable housing needs to exist in every neighborhood and municipality in Miami-Dade County and “affordable housing” should not be concentrated in any single area.
•    Cost of land, interest rates, costs of construction are driving up the cost for additional supply so all efforts must be made to reduce costs in any other way possible in order for developers to create supply that is in fact affordable.



  1. Land use and zoning changes are needed to promote different kinds of affordable product.

    • Need to promote 2-5 story product with relaxed parking to reduce hard costs of construction.

    • Government should provide neighborhood-based parking to shift burden and hard cost of parking away from developer (which in turn is passed on to end user).

    • Need to have zoning changes to allow small low rise multi-family product (such as garden apartments or row houses) in areas that are currently single family but abut commercially zoned areas.

    • Need to create more density allowance to reduce cost per unit because of enormous land costs.

    • More local efforts to reduce time for zoning reviews if for an affordable development.

    • Zoning to allow smaller units and more shared resources such as parking, central/shared living or cooking areas and amenities.

    • Increase transit corridors and approve additional density in such corridors.

  2. Permitting process needs to be changed because permitting time adds cost to the project and ultimately such costs are passed to end user.

    • Need dedicated staff for permitting of affordable projects to expedite permitting and reduce carrying costs.

    • Current system rewards government for denying permits and asking for resubmission because additional fees are collected on each submission. Need single fee structure so there is no incentive for government to reject application and collect additional fees.

  3. Incentives are needed to lead to ownership, as rental system prevents folks from building wealth.

    • Need to explore incentives for rent-to-own so people can develop equity.

    • Government subsidies for home or condo ownership

    • Create a resource road map to assist families in securing available down payment assistance and mortgages which create pathways to ownership and the creation of wealth

  4. Government funding of recurring dollars to buy down interest rates for affordable development.

  5. Aggressive analysis of vacant or under-utilized public sector land and/or facilities to explore public private partnerships for development of affordable housing (vertical redevelopment of school facilities or public low rise buildings or parking structures to incorporate housing).

  6. Need to rebrand what “affordable housing” means to curb the NIMBY impact.

  7. Incentives for developers in transitional neighborhoods so people aren’t forced out of their communities so that we are creating inclusive communities with families at various income levels.

  8. Expand ad valorem tax exemption under Live Local Act to reduce the number of units required to encourage smaller in-fill projects.


Upskilling - How Businesses Can Enhance Workforce Readiness


To discover how businesses can provide the training needed for high-paying jobs, especially for those without college degrees, and to understand the role of educational institutions and the impact of the benefits cliff on worker response.


Subject Matter Experts:
●    Xavier Gonzalez, Chief Communications Officer, Kaseya
●    James Haj, President & CEO, The Children’s Trust
●    Symeria Hudson, President & CEO, United Way Miami
●    Adriene McCoy, Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer, Baptist Health South Florida
●    Madeleine Pumariega, President, Miami Dade College
●    Facilitator: Francesa de Quesada Covey, Chief Innovation and Economic Development Officer, Miami-Dade County
●    Dialogue Advocate: Adrian Felix, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Key Observations:

●    Upskill Miami initiative by United Way aims to assist women heads of households in going to school.
●    Social mobility is not being created through certificate programs; only 19% of Miamians have a Bachelor’s degree. 
●    Announcement from Miami Dade College about scholarships for Miami-Dade resident students, scheduled for October 30.
●    Lack of affordable childcare is a major barrier to employment and education.
●    Baptist Health has shifted its philosophy on workforce development, moving from tuition reimbursement to tuition payment.
●    Kaseya focuses on internal training to stop attrition.



  1. Summer Internships: Set a goal for paid internships during the summer, to address the childcare gap.

  2. Cost of living analysis: Examine the cost of living to stabilize the workforce and allow for upskilling.

  3. Soft skills and mental health: Incorporate a multidisciplinary approach that includes soft skills and mental health factors in worker readiness programs.

  4. Educational pipeline: Focus on residents with some college education who need a degree upgrade, including the re/unretired.

Working Group Action Steps:

  1. Community-wide Framework: Establish a critical care framework that the community can use for upskilling. 

  2. Information Sharing: Share current programs and initiatives focused on upskilling and workforce readiness.

  3. Reconvene in 1 Month: Continue the conversation and align objectives across the public and private sectors.


Childcare Solutions: Benefits for Business / Parents


To address the high cost of living in Miami and the challenges it poses for parents in finding affordable, quality childcare, thereby enabling them to focus on their jobs.


Subject Matter Experts:

  • Andrea Cid, Founder & CEO, Miami Growth Machine

  • Amanda Gorski, Associate Director of Public Policy, The Children’s Trust

  • Dana Ritzcoven, Chief People & Outreach Officer, Royal Caribbean

  • Facilitator: Kerry-Ann Royes, President & CEO, YWCA South Florida

  • Dialogue Advocate: Melissa Pallett-Vasquez, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Key Observations:

  • 90% of a child's brain develops by age 5.

  • Childcare is among the top 3 household expenses.

  • $10k-per-child state subsidy exists, but is insufficient.

  • Families are opting out of the workforce due to childcare costs, which is costing $5.6 billion to Florida - $3.6 billion in losses for people not showing up. This is an economic issue and there is an ROI on these issues.

  • Women are back in the workforce at only 18%.

  • 75% of female heads of households live below the poverty line.

  • Royal Caribbean: On-site childcare facility for employees, subsidized by the company, has been highly successful.

  • Miami Growth Machine: Cross-training employees and offering flexibility around childcare needs increases employee retention.


Working Group Action Steps:

  1. Private sector/business community will research and provide subsidized slots for child care centers surrounding their primary locations of operation.

    • YWCA & Women’s Fund will support a mapping project to identify child care desserts in and around industry-dense areas. Businesses need to use this mapping to connect their employees (to what?) and subsidize their child care needs.

    • Amplify Bosses for Babies family-friendly policies across business and non-profit sectors, as an immediate resource to supporting working families in their workforce.

    • Encourage employer commitment that includes childcare subsidies.

  2. Measure local data and metrics for untapped potential, or revenue loss, in Miami-Dade County due to insufficient childcare, and its effect on turnover and absences.

    • This will demonstrate the clear business impact and benefits to employers, including as a differentiating recruitment advantage.

  3. Cross-sector state level advocacy to:

    • Provide developers with incentives, or tax credits, to support the expansion of childcare in tandem with increased density.

    • Advocate for expanding income eligibility for school readiness subsidies to allow more families to qualify, and to avoid falling off the benefits-cliff.

    • Collaborate with MDCPS pilot on an entrepreneurial childcare program.


Enhancing K-12 Public Education: The Role of Business


To expound upon the roles that businesses can play in improving K-12 public education, covering partnerships, mentorship programs, and initiatives that foster educational excellence and equity.


Subject Matter Experts:
•    Armando Codina, Founder and Executive Chairman, Codina Partners
•    Dr. Jose L. Dotres, Superintendent, Miami-Dade County Public Schools
•    Rose Ellen Greene, Philanthropist
•    Linda Lecht, President, The Education Fund
•    Facilitator: Natalia Zea, Chief Public Policy and Engagement Officer, The Children’s Trust
•    Dialogue Activist: Joy Spillis Lundeen, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg


Working Group Action Steps

  1. Continue discussion about advocacy related to systems-level change, inclusive of possible political referendum to restructure labor policies and salaries related to K-12 teachers. The Beacon Council’s Opportunity Miami/Academic Leaders Council has volunteered to be the lead collaborator on these efforts.

  2. Create communications/community engagement strategy and platform to clearly demonstrate to the business community what steps they can take to support public education and what is in it for them/why they should support.

  3. Business community should support early literacy supports across the board to get students on grade reading level. (Miami-Dade Chamber of Commerce has literacy support efforts and The Children’s Trust is a demonstrated leader in this area, particularly as host of Miami-Dade Grade Level Reading Campaign. The Superintendent also expressed support of focusing on this approach as one component.)

  4. Business community should support organizations that provide wraparound family services to assist students with essential needs, by supporting their families. This is inclusive of care coordination, mental health counseling, parenting supports, family stabilization (food security, housing, transportation), and more.

  5. Continued consideration of support for innovative models of public education, whether M-DCPS or through charter schools. 


Innovative Philanthropy - Driving Change


To brainstorm transformative approaches to philanthropy in Miami, focusing on how philanthropists can maximize the impact of their giving.


Subject Matter Experts:
●    Joe Deitch, Philanthropist 
●    Daniel Lewis, Philanthropist
●    Leslie Miller Saiontz, Founder & President, Achieve Miami
●    Facilitator: Nikisha Williams, Managing Director of Collective Impact, The Miami Foundation
●    Dialogue Advocate: Erin L. Stafford, Partner, Bilzin Sumberg 


Key Observations:

  • Daniel Lewis:

    •     Advocates for systemic change through collaboration among non-profits

    •     Focuses on youth development through music and arts

    •     Recap: Emphasizes community listening, metrics, and a place-based approach

  • Joe Deitch:

    •     Elevate Prize looks for strong leaders and social entrepreneurs

    •     Advocates for more platforms for social heroes

    •     Recap: Deep investment in people

  • Leslie Miller Saiontz:

    •     Focuses on education, community, and excellence

    •     Has initiated programs to address internet access and teacher shortages

    •     Recap: Deep place-based work and creative community solutions

  • The need to democratize passion and encourage giving based on individual and corporate interests

  • The role of donor-advised funds as an entry into philanthropy

  • The importance of engaging new residents and the Hispanic community in philanthropic efforts

  • The need for non-profits to diversify their donor base and work collaboratively

  • The importance of equitable wages in the non-profit sector


Ideas/Working Group Action Steps:

  1. Ensure diversity among donors by helping people see the donor in themselves, no matter how large or small their donation. 

  2. Use donor advised funds at Community Foundations to help unlock community-based giving.

  3. Help Miami's new residents feel a sense of belonging, and commitment, to the community.

  4. Encourage unrestricted giving and equitable pay within the non-profit sector to encourage thriving wage pay for employees

  5. Foster collaboration among community organizations to break down siloes.

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