About

The Apex Project is a capacity-building initiative focused on creating stronger, more resilient, and more community engaged higher education partners. It was originally conceived by Opportunity Alabama as a vehicle for engaging higher education in Opportunity Zones and funded by a generous grant from the Lumina Foundation. As the project evolved, our team realized that the same thought process and engagement framework that could create Opportunity Zone engagement could help do so much more – both for colleges and communities. The Apex Project grew from that realization into the one-stop-shop it has become for higher educational institutions looking to engage in campus and community revitalization-oriented work

The Apex Project would not exist without the guidance and support of the following team members:

  • Jessica Chriesman and the other members of the OPAL team who spent countless hours pulling together content.
  • Terri Taylor of the Lumina Foundation, who provided the guidance, support, and funding possible to make the project happen.
  • Matthew Grande of Equitable Innovations and Shift Capital, who helped shape everything from site design and content to impact strategy and approach.
  • Dr. Anthony C. Hood, who helped conceive of the idea for the project, provide the higher education context we needed, and drive us forward over almost two years.
  • Capstone Development Partners, which provided technical expertise on structuring P3s and thought partnership throughout the project.

Opportunity Alabama (OPAL) is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to driving capital into our distressed communities. Our primary focus is on capital formation in Opportunity Zones – 158 Census tracts distributed across all 67 counties in Alabama. We have a comprehensive strategy to turn Alabama into a national epicenter for Opportunity Zone-driven investment – and, in the process, lay the groundwork to ignite place-based economic development revolution across the state.

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials.

SHIFT is a full-service firm with experience in every level of real estate development from investment management to impact measurement, development to construction, and leasing to property management. We are on a mission to create inclusive, equitable communities who thrive. Through our Whole Neighborhood approach, we invest in places AND people to create opportunity and shared prosperity for all. We deploy integrated development strategies that connect the economic and social dots across sectors, partners, and neighborhoods. To better serve people. And, to help create better lives.