Imagine this scenario for a minute: you get word that a major company is eyeing your district or your locality for a development project. Lots of people in your community need good jobs, especially those who are discriminated against in the job market or on the wrong side of our country’s growing inequality. But the company wants precious subsidies and abatements that could otherwise fund different community needs. And some in your community don’t trust that the jobs will be good jobs. Others aren’t convinced they’ll benefit from such development.

What approach do you take and what are your non-negotiables? How do you make sure the development deal is done with not to your community? What leverage do you have to secure strong community benefits? Who else do you need to bring to the table?

On November 27, our Local Progress webinar briefing delved into these questions and much more in a session all about community benefits agreements and approaches for negotiating with corporations around development.

We were grateful to be joined by an esteemed panel of speakers: Miya Saika Chen from the Partnership for Working Families, Councilmember Colby Sledge and community leader Odessa Kelly from Nashville, Councilmember Omar Narvaez from Dallas, and Councilman Bill Henry from Baltimore. Speakers shared lessons learned from various community benefits deals in their localities.

You can find the briefing recording below. If you’re a Local Progress member interested in discussing more about community benefits agreements, development issues, or corporate negotiations, contact Ari Schwartz at