FUSE Fellowship: Catalyzing Public-Private Financing for Economic Development

FUSE Corps
Deadline for Applications
Where to Apply

“Catalyzing Public-Private Financing for Economic Development”

CITY OF FRESNO, OFFICE OF THE MAYOR (based part-time in the Bay Area)


With more than 500,000 people living and working in Fresno, it is the fifth largest city in California and the 34th largest city in the nation. Strategically located between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Fresno is the economic center of California’s sprawling San Joaquin Valley, known as the “food basket of the world” because of its agricultural diversity and production levels. Under the dynamic leadership of Mayor Ashley Swearengin, Fresno has been pursuing an ambitious development agenda with projects including building the nation’s first high-speed rail station and redeveloping a nine-mile long corridor that connects downtown Fresno with a regional employment and shopping hub to the north. Combining its agricultural roots with its proximity to high-tech centers in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area, Fresno has also become home to entrepreneurs seeking to pioneer innovations in water conservation, greenhouse gas reduction, renewable energy production and food processing. Unfortunately, both civic leaders and entrepreneurs in the San Joaquin Valley struggle to attract the same types of capital investments that are much more prevalent in Silicon Valley. As a result, there are myriad projects with high potential for social and economic returns on investment that are waiting for sufficient capital to bring them to fruition.

Recognizing the tremendous value and importance of these opportunities, a cross-sector coalition of leaders at both the regional and State levels have been recently convening to help accelerate up to $1 billion in public and private new investments in Fresno and the surrounding communities. The flagship program of these efforts is a new private equity, triple-bottom-line venture fund that will provide early-stage capital to help jumpstart higher-income job growth in key sustainable tech clusters. This fund is being modeled after similar successful efforts such as the Bay Area Equity Fund and the Double Bottom Line (DBL) Fund created by the Bay Area Council. Other initiatives related to this project include exploring the feasibility of a private real estate fund (community benefit or for-profit) dedicated to mixed-use and infill/transit oriented development projects along the City’s new bus rapid transit corridor and assisting with evaluating public/private financing strategies for the City’s high speed rail station area development. The success of these efforts will depend on diligent coordination between various public, private and nonprofit partners and the coalition’s ability to remain closely aligned with local business interests, and City and State leaders. In order to help support and coordinate these efforts, Mayor Swearengin will partner with FUSE Corps to host an executive-level Fellow for one year who will help to develop the investment partnerships needed to catalyze Fresno’s economic development, spark infill and revitalization and accelerate innovations across industries from water and food to energy and the environment.


Starting in October 2015, the FUSE Fellow within the Office of the Mayor of Fresno will begin his/her year of service by working to quickly develop an understanding of the landscape, partners and initiatives around economic development in Fresno. This will include meeting with all local and statewide stakeholders to understand their perspectives, visions, capabilities and concerns. The Fellow will conduct background research on various policies that impact financing opportunities, including new State laws giving more flexibility to cities, as well as the best practices of similar public-private investment partnerships.

Dividing his/her time between Fresno and the Bay Area, with occasional trips to Sacramento and other parts of the State, the Fellow will be asked to provide the City with an initial assessment of opportunities and strategies, including a series of specific recommendations outlining how the City can better leverage public and private financing options, convene stakeholders, and help position new investments for success. Where appropriate, the Fellow may also be asked to provide State policy and reform recommendations that might help accelerate investments in the community. The FUSE Fellow will also be asked to help identify several specific investment opportunities that can be used as demonstration projects. In these efforts, the Fellow will help to coordinate public and private investment partners to ensure that these projects build additional momentum for capital aggregation efforts around Fresno.

Success in this project will be evaluated in terms of the Fellow’s ability to help the City of Fresno effectively engage and coordinate investment partners needed to help underwrite key economic development projects and stimulate the growth of early-stage entrepreneurs and revitalization projects throughout the region. Representative of the type of public-private partnerships that this project seeks to catalyze, financing to underwrite this particular FUSE fellowship project is being provided by a cross-sector coalition of partners including the City of Fresno, The James Irvine Foundation, and the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.


· Conduct Research – Quickly get up to speed on key stakeholders, recent local investments, newly proposed development opportunities, applicable regulations, similar public-private partnerships and best practices developed by those pursuing related investments throughout the State and nation.

· Develop Partnerships – Work closely with current public and private investment partners to help cultivate strong relationships. Identify new investors who might be interested in joining the coalition of partners. Help support the City’s efforts to align these stakeholders and coordinate their efforts in pursuit of shared goals.

· Provide Recommendations – Identify specific ways in which the City of Fresno can contribute to advancing these investment opportunities, ranging from the pursuit of public and private financing and policy reforms to convening events, rating opportunities, connecting partners or other activities.

· Advance Demonstration Projects – Help to identify several actionable investment opportunities whose success will continue to build momentum behind investment partners. Collaborate closely with all partners involved in these projects and provide any possible support to ensure the attainment of project goals.


· Ashley Swearengin, Mayor of the City of Fresno, will directly supervise the Fellow and ensure that this project achieves its full potential for impact. Other key contacts from the City Administration include City Manager Bruce Rudd, Assistant City Manager Renena Smith, City Attorney Doug Sloan, Chief of Staff Georgeanne White, Deputy City Manager Wilma Quan and Government Affairs Manager Danielle Bergstrom.

· Brad Triebsch, Principal, Central Valley Fund, which is a $100 million mezzanine-level investment fund that has been active in the San Joaquin Valley for over 12 years. The Central Valley Fund will play a key role in the new Series A venture capital fund envisioned to support job growth in food, water and energy technology.

· Mike Dorsey, Managing Partner, Bay Area Growth Fund, has a successful 12-year record in Impact Investing, having co-founded the innovative Bay Area Equity Fund (now DBL Investors).

· Lenny Mendonca, Peter Weber, Peter Luchetti – Bay Area and San Joaquin Valley business leaders who are advising the Mayor on the City’s capital development plan.

· Suzanne Hague, Senior Advisor to the California Strategic Growth Council, who is spearheading the California High Speed Rail Authority’s policy development around infill financing and station area development.


· At least 10 years of professional experience in a relevant field, such as public finance, venture capital, real estate development and finance and/or management consulting.

· Ability to take broad concepts and goals and develop financially feasible, actionable plans.

· Ability to relate to a wide variety of diverse audiences with a strong track record of successfully engaging cross-sector stakeholders and managing cross-functional teams.

· Excellent stakeholder engagement skills and the ability to use facilitative leadership techniques to coordinate stakeholder activities without direct reporting authority.

· Superior critical thinking and analytical skills. Exceptional written and verbal communication skills with ease in public presentations. Ability to synthesize complex financial information into clear and concise recommendations.

· Self-motivated, goal-oriented, entrepreneurial leader who is an independent worker, creatively resourceful in creating novel solutions to complex problems, persistent in obtaining information, and able to create direction and movement within potentially ambiguous environments.

· Flexibility, adaptability, persistence, humility, empathy, inclusivity and sensitivity to cultural differences.


Visit http://fuse.force.com/Careers to upload a resume and complete the online application in lieu of a cover letter.

Interested candidates are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as the application deadline for this role is 5pm PT on Thursday, September 17, 2015.

This role offers the opportunity to work full-time for 12 months as an independent contractor of FUSE Corps with an annual stipend of $90,000.

The FUSE Fellowship is an equal opportunity program with a core value of incorporating diverse perspectives. We strongly encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply.