Tuesday, May 18th, 2010

Richard Herman: Will a Dying Cleveland Finally Turn to Immigrants?

[ A recent Brookings Institution study ranked Cleveland 95 out of 100 in its growth in foreign born population from 2000-2008. During that period, the city of Cleveland actually lost foreign born residents. This despite nearby Columbus being #9 in the country for increasing its Hispanic and Asian populations. Richard Herman, co-author of Immigrant, Inc. explains the imperative of Cleveland embracing immigration – Aaron. ]

Cuyahoga County Treasurer Jim Rokakis, who is based in Cleveland, estimates that new census numbers might show Cleveland’s population to be 325,000, a whopping 153,000 drop in 10 years! That would be an average of 15,000 people leaving Cleveland every year.

That’s 1,250 people jumping ship every month,

312 people fleeing the wreckage every week,

45 people evacuating every day, or

2 people running out of Cleveland every hour, 24/7, the whole year, for 10 straight years.

Even conservative estimates have us losing 10 percent of our population this decade, the fastest rate of decline of any major American city (except New Orleans). And still, remarkably, we hear no alarm bells from City Hall, no calls of urgency, just a commitment to stay the course and manage the decline.

While the extent of the exodus is debateable, it’s obvious that Cleveland, a city that once boasted 1 million residents, is not on the bright path to rebirth.

Maybe we don’t really understand the problem.

New York City and Chicago, like most major cities, see significant out-migration of their existing residents each year. What is atypical is that Cleveland does not enjoy the energy of new people moving in.

Put simply, the city needs the fresh optimism and pluck of new immigrants, the most likely source of New Clevelanders.

New immigrants are inherently mobile,and can move to Cleveland as part of secondary migration from New York City or other gateway cities. Many would be excited to pursue their American Dream right here on the shores of Lake Erie. In part due to the presence of immigrant language cable television and the internet, they can come to Cleveland and still retain ties to their native culture. Immigrants are moving to far more isolated places, such as Fargo, North Dakota.

The great shame is that this was once proud city of immigrants (nearly 1/3 foreign-born in the early 20th century). But it now only 5% of its population is foreign-born, well-below the national average of 12%.

But none of this impresses Mayor Frank Jackson who summarily dismisses immigrant-attraction initiatives like those in Philadelphia and those being discussed now in Detroit. Yet the basic reality is that immigration provides the only way for cities like Cleveland to generate the kind of numbers needed to make up for decades of mass out-migration.

In numerous cities around the country, economic development professionals and foundations are looking at ways to tap the immigrant market. This will not only counter local depopulation and stabilize local the housing market, but will also attract a new wave of urban entrepreneurs, investors and consumers.

They also realize that a globally diverse city would act as a magnet for the young, international and minority professionals leading the New Economy. These people could help catalyze a transformation to a more entrepreneurial, globally-connected and innovation-based local economy.

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter announced his plans to recruit 75,000 newcomers within five years to fill the city’s abandoned homes. And he’s targeting immigrant newcomers who have recently arrived in New York City.

In Detroit, the New Economy Initiative (a $100 million regional fund for economic development), the Skillman Foundation, and the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce are conducting a community-wide discussion about ways to rebuild the city by attracting immigrants and international resources and promoting new intercultural partnerships for the benefit of all its citizens.

Other cities consider immigrant-attraction strategies, but Cleveland City Hall ignores the very people most likely to move to Cleveland: immigrants looking to own their first homes and to start their new businesses.

Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group conducted a study on Northeast Ohio’s economy and concluded that that the region is likely to suffer even after the rest of the country recovers from the recession. PNC’s Senior Economist and author of The Econosphere, Craig Thomas, found that attracting immigrants would help the region’s economy through investments in housing stock and start-ups.

“As people leave, it really does take international folks to come in, open up stores and fill up neighborhoods,” Mr. Thomas told Crain’s Cleveland Business.

But Mayor Jackson insists that efforts like those in Philadelphia and supported by economists like Mr. Thomas are not for Cleveland. As he began his second term, he said that he is positioning the City to compete in the global economy by building from within by using what he calls “self-help.”

But not many are left to help. And by the time the policy is seen as a failure, even more will be gone.

As people leave, so do businesses, from neighborhoods and many parts of downtown where vacancy rates have skyrocketed.

As Cleveland’s downward spiral continues, the local leadership appears clueless on how to stop it.

Richard Herman is the co-author of Immigrant, Inc.: Why Immigrant Entrepreneurs Are Driving the New Economy (and how they will save the American worker) (John Wiley & Sons, 2009). Herman is the founder of an immigration and business law firm in Cleveland, Ohio, which serves a global clientele in over 10 languages. He is the co-founder of a chapter of TiE, a global network of entrepreneurs started in 1992 in Silicon Valley by immigrants from India. For more information on immigrant entrepreneurship and rust belt revival, see www.ImmigrantInc.com ; www.youtube.com/user/Immigrantinc2010 ; www.ohio.tie.org. Contact Richard at richard.t.herman@gmail.com or 216-696-6170.

This article originally appeared at New Geography.

41 Comments
Topics: Demographic Analysis, Economic Development
Cities: Cleveland

41 Responses to “Richard Herman: Will a Dying Cleveland Finally Turn to Immigrants?”

  1. John says:

    Sure, the immigrants can replace most exiting Clevelanders, but the real problem is the prospect of replacing LeBron James.

  2. cjfrey says:

    This is right on the mark. No major American city has ever grown based on existing population increase. Look at any center city that has seen population growth in the past 50 years, or the past 200 years, and you’ll see significant international in-migration. Great Lakes cities historically have relied on foreign and Southern migrants, and in some shape will have to again. Jackson’s call for ‘self-help’ will not work. Cities are places, not ethnicities, where the churning of labor, capital and ideas are critical for success. Cities like Cleveland and Detroit have only seen the exodus for many years. A new infusion of energy and capital are necessary for them to grow again, and international immigration is the best way to jump start that process.

  3. JoeV says:

    Cleveland is a great city with amazing amenities that suffers for one primary reason: self serving and often corrupt politicians.

    The only reason I can think of for Cleveland’s mayor to turn his back on the city’s hertiage as an immigration haven is racism.

    Due to white flight and no historic interest in suburb annexation, Cleveland is heavily African American. The mayor thinks developing immigrant attraction programs would alientate his African American voters. (ie, too many people already here that need help to spend resources to help more people move there.) The irony is that population loss is making Cleveland less able to help those current residents.

  4. I was going to make the inevitable LeBron crack, but someone already beat me to it. I’m sure someone else will bring up the Ravens…

  5. John Morris says:

    Someone from Pittsburgh perhaps? We hate you all.

  6. Hey, I’m from Portland–at least Cleveland HAS pro football and major-league baseball. :)

  7. Though as an Oregon State alum, I did enjoy the pounding that Ohio State laid on the Ducks last January. Now if a certain ex-Buckeye center could just manage to stay healthy, all will be good. :)

  8. Well Paid Scientist says:

    An “immigrant-attraction initiative” hm, what policies would that entail?

    I’d also be curious of any examples of something like this working on a scale large enough to make up for a 30% population drop.

  9. John Morris says:

    Yuk, Pitt fans remember the 2008 Sun Bowl and hate the Beavers too! My sister, however went to Oregon State.

  10. wkg in bham says:

    The Cleveland Metro Area lost population slightly over the 2000-20008 period (from 2,148,000 to 2,088,000 or -60,000). It would appear that the situation within the CITY of Cleveland is toxic.

    I’m dubious that any reasonable “pitch” could be made to a desired immigrant population under the present status-quo.

    I think a strong case that a vibrant economy causes immigration – not the other way around.

  11. well paid, if not immigrants, what would you suggest? You have to start somewhere.

    wkg in bham, I agree in part, but Detroit attracted more than 100,000 new immigrants in the last decade despite its miserable economy. Some places are clearly more fertile soil than others.

  12. Well Paid Scientist says:

    What does an “immigration attraction initiative” entail, paying them to move there?

    My point was: What does this guy mean, and what examples is he looking at.

  13. the urban politician says:

    Agree with Well Paid Scientist. How do you “attract immigrants” exactly? Do these policies work in Detroit and Philly, or were these cities already immigrant magnets anyhow? How do we know that these policies make a difference?

    The other question is, how long will American cities be able to rely on immigration for their growth? How long will the immigration tap remain wide open in America?

  14. Generally, immigrants move to places where:

    * There is an established population of immigrants from the same culture.
    * There is a need for a particular type of work which attracts the immigrant(s) in question–whether its Indians moving to the Silicon Valley, or Mexicans moving to the San Joaquin.
    * There is a supply of work in general–a bustling economy.

    One other issue–many immigrant populations from places other than Africa (including darker-skinned ones) often have less-than-enlightened attitudes towards Africans and African-Americans. (Some of this may well be due to consumption of US media loaded with unflattering portrayals of blacks; some of this is due to long-standing cultural prejudices which have nothing to do with the US). I’m not sure how much that informs decisions on where in the US to relocate too, but a majority-black city such as Cleveland may have additional difficulty attracting immigrants because of this issue.

  15. Anon says:

    I would like to see more immigrants in Cleveland. Attraction would probably consist of providing some services (help with the paperwork, language classes) and marketing to them.

    Cleveland is about 52% African American right now. Our largest inflow population is Puerto Ricans – not technically immigrants, but similar in many ways.

    People, especially parents, have been leaving Cleveland’s poor neighborhoods for years. The big numbers this decade are due to an intersection of two trends. Like every other city, we have been losing manufacturing and adding Ed and Meds employment for the last sixty years. We started with much more manufacturing employment, so we still have jobs to lose and we’re still losing them. Our housing price gradient is very flat – housing is cheap everywhere.

    Housing policies have been set based on the high cost areas on the coast. Along with the easy-money madness in the finance markets, the policies enabled tens of thousands of people to move from the poor neighborhoods to the inner ring suburbs. Thus the central city population drop.

    The central city has a lot of assets (historic neighborhoods, universities, CBD), but the educated people and the money live in the suburbs. This initiative will have to be led at the county/regional level like most other progress in this area.

    I wonder if Richard Herman lives in the city proper? Possible, but unlikely.

  16. Did you read the article? Herman cited immigrant attraction efforts in Philadelphia and Detroit. It should be simple enough to google them up if you are curious to know what they are doing.

    Also, if you need an example to satisfy you, look no further than refugee resettlement. Small Ft. Wayne, Indiana managed to pick up 3,000 Burmese refugees using this process. This is the nucleus for further network based migration.

  17. wkg in bham says:

    AR: regarding “wkg in bham, I agree in part, but Detroit attracted more than 100,000 new immigrants in the last decade despite its miserable economy. Some places are clearly more fertile soil than others.”

    Is “Detroit” in the above the CITY or the METRO area?

    I think METRO Cleveland can certainly develop a program to successfully attract immigrants. I just don’t think the CITY of Cleveland can.

  18. John Morris says:

    The most extreme case is probably Schenectady, with it’s Guyanese community.

    As far as I know there were close to zero Guyanese in the town. One day, the mayor heard a comment on a radio program that “the Guyanese don’t take welfare” or something like that and then began an aggressive campaign to lure immigrants from NYC. He set up bus trips, talked on NY’s Guyanese radio station and visited Richmomd Hill and other areas of NYC where lots of them lived.

    In spite of poor job prospects, lots of folks took the bait.

    This is very similar to Paducah, Kentucky’s efforts to lure artists.

  19. John Morris says:

    Ooops, he beat me.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Jim,
    Thanks for the links to the Schectady initiative.

    The criticism of the effort by locals points to the value of having a two pronged approach when it comes to attractiing investors — one strategy that focusses on retaining those who are already there as well as one for recruiting new ones.

  21. Bruce says:

    I have been told that Indianapolis saw a big influx of Sikhs in the last decade. A builder and some realtors would advertise heavily in Sikh communities in California as to the great housing values here.

  22. Pete from Baltimore says:

    I agree with the author that immigrants CAN revitalise an urban area. But i am geuinly curious as to what “immigrant attraction stratigies ” he is talking about.

    It would seem to me that the best ways to attract immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs are the same ways to attract American born people. Good paying jobs , good infrastructure,good schools , less crime and less red tape in creating and running a business.

    If a city emphasises those things than immigrants will move in. But American born people will as well.

    I am genuinly curious as to what cities can or are doing that is somehow immigrant specific


  23. I have been told that Indianapolis saw a big influx of Sikhs in the last decade. A builder and some realtors would advertise heavily in Sikh communities in California as to the great housing values here.

    Realtors need to be VERY careful if and when they do so, lest they run afoul of the Fair Housing Act. (The same may be true with any attempt to encourage a particular demographic to move into a city–if you change the demographic to “white people”, is it still a good idea, or still legal?)

  24. As an aside–what HTML markup works here? My attempt to set off a quote from a prior post with italics appears to have failed…

  25. I honestly don’t know. I’m using WordPress’ out of the box comment processing, so presumably whatever tags normally work in WordPress comments – whatever those are :) (Looks like emoticons work!)

  26. John Morris says:

    Even though my blog now says’s I cover Cleveland and I try to, I’m gonna be honest, I don’t know much about it and have never visited yet. It just seems highly logical that it’s too close to Pittsburgh to ignore and that there should be a complementary relationship. Pittsburgh and Ohio, have always been linked and I don’t see how that can change.

    At best, we could be Portland without Ohio. A minor lifestyle niche city feeding off D.C.

    Honestly, that’s a nightmare for me. I came to Pittsburgh to bring down NYC more than a few pegs. As an artist, I couldn’t afford to live there and really don’t feel the city cares. On a deeper level, even if they did, all the creative people in the country cannot pile into a few cities.

    Any city, and I mean almost any city at all with lots of cheap industrial warehouse space and affordable housing could take a good shot at backing up the truck in Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Redhook or Bushwick and suck out artists cause I’m most certainly not alone.

    The key point here, once again is likely Public Choice Theory. Why would a politician with a stable, if shrinking support base want to rock the boat by bringing in large numbers of new people with new ideas and cultural ties. My guess is they would look around, scream what the hell is going on here and start to change things.

  27. Wad says:

    Pete from Baltimore wrote:

    It would seem to me that the best ways to attract immigrants and immigrant entrepreneurs are the same ways to attract American born people. Good paying jobs , good infrastructure,good schools , less crime and less red tape in creating and running a business.

    Maybe not.

    What differentiates foreign-born immigrants is drive. The U.S. as land of opportunity is more true abroad than it is here. For most of the world’s 7 billion people, they’ll grow up in a social structure in which where one is born dictates where they’ll live and how they die.

    The worst the U.S. has to offer is often better than what’s available in the home country.

    Immigrants will often settle for the worst neighborhoods and schools because it gains a small stake in the new community, even though the schools and civic infrastructre may be awful. The worst areas may remain transient, churning out established families and replacing them with newer immigrants, while the more stable ones will allow an enclave to develop that will create a class of merchants, professionals and civic leaders.

    Even the “welcome mat” strategy you’ve described has somewhat of a hazard. Think about it as a governance version of the housing bubble. One problem is that making your city good enough for attracting elites is that your competitors can do the same thing. The problem, though, is that everyone is chasing a finite, dwindling pool of elites.

    No one also ever considered that these elites may just choose their prerogatives and not some rational norm.

    Call it the Maxim Magazine fallacy. Maxim has more than 2 million readers, who are very likely all alike in mind. Maxim also every year ranks a list of who it considers are the 100 sexiest women. It’s not a stretch to say that the 2 million readers want to sleep with the 100 women.

    You can extend that logic further to say that the 2 million readers will show the most interest in hottie No. 1, with each successive hottie drawing marginally less interest.

    However, each hottie by virtue of being on the list has a guarantee that about 20,000 readers are interested in her. That gives each hottie tremendous leverage. It does not mean the hottie is obligated to court any of its readers, and each hottie can find out from Maxim that she is wealthier and better looking than all of the readership, who are all dorks and douchebags. So the hottie will take her ranking and find someone even better-looking and wealthier to enhance her status.

    In other words, the hottie will turn down people who want to be with her in favor of someone so desirable that may not want her but will take her for her hottie value.

  28. Wad says:

    John Morris wrote:

    The key point here, once again is likely Public Choice Theory. Why would a politician with a stable, if shrinking support base want to rock the boat by bringing in large numbers of new people with new ideas and cultural ties.

    A rebuttal in two words: Karl Rove.

    The perverse genius of Rovian political strategy is that he believed in throwing “red meat” to the most loyal of his base, not by expanding to the center. Rove knew there’s an election baseline that will vote for the Republican no matter what, and he knew that he only had to orient his strategy around keeping party leaders and ideological transmitters (talk radio hosts, think tanks, and the military) loyal, and the rest just falls into place.

    Using this strategy, no elected official has to rock the boat. You simply animate the base and other boats will want to come into your harbor.

    This is the essence of Chicago politics. Somehow, Chicago managed to attain and maintain its global city status both because of and in spite of its infamous politics.

  29. John Morris says:

    “Realtors need to be VERY careful if and when they do so, lest they run afoul of the Fair Housing Act.”

    Need we say more about why laws like that are insane and at their base unconstitutional. People make choices about markets and who they wish or don’t wish to associate with all the time- and in spite of any law they always will.

    In this case, we are talking about cities with huge levels of surplus real estate, that are not very diverse marketing themselves to become more diverse. If that’s illegal, that law has to be seriously looked at.

    I don’t have time to google it now but, didn’t people object to the idea of creating a “music town” in battered New Orleans, with affordable housing for musicians?

    Nice that the same government that tore the guts out of our once far more integrated cities is so concerned.

  30. John Morris says:

    “What differentiates foreign-born immigrants is drive.”

    Yes, but also lack of market knowledge. Obviously, this is a main reason immigrants cluster together. That along with a common language and a feeling of being wanted. Yes, there are amazing ethnic grapevines on which market knowledge travels but they are hardly perfect.

    How many Guyanese would have heard of Schenectady? Along comes the mayor- a big town “official”,telling them how much he wants them there and I imagine that would have a big impact.

    Now, people are not fools and the most you can hope for is that they give you a look. In the case of Cleveland, my personal guess is also that they wouldn’t be too interested in Cleveland, proper but might see opportunity around it. Anything you get would be a start.

    My personal feeling is that this is what’s happening with Mayor Fetterman of Braddock. For every one artist he has managed to attract into Braddock itself, he has likely attracted 5 to the Pittsburgh area in general.

    This also applies to all domestic migrants. As Aaron said, in the case of most of the mid sized cities we usually talk about, most people have very little knowledge or positive or negative opinion. Making it easier for outsiders to know these places would likely have a big impact.

    By the way, (and it’s not always a positive thing) real estate markets in places like Pittsburgh, The Mon Valley and I think Cleveland have already attracted lots of online “ebay” buyers/speculators based on price alone. Given that many immigrants are real estate nuts, who know the idea of buy low, sell high, You just might get lucky.

    I don’t love dropping ideas but this one seems self evident. Why doesn’t Cleveland or Pittsburgh open up a storefront “embassy” in New York? You could sell some t shirts and hometown products and crafts and have all kinds of info available about the town.

  31. Anon says:

    Some of the comments on here are overly negative about Cleveland. Its not like there are no immigrants here, just less than there could be.

    We have a Chinatown or Asia town in the east 40s. The west side residential neighborhoods have a substantial Middle Eastern presence. Drive down Loraine and you will see signs in Arabic from West Boulevard all the way to Rocky River. Our domestic “immigrants,” Puerto Ricans, are a large presence, maybe a majority, in the Clark Fulton neighborhood. Immigrants own and operate many of the ethnic restuarants and convenient stores here, as elsewhere. In the suburbs, we have large Hungarian, Croatian, and Indian populations.

  32. Thomas Frank says:

    Every great place needs to continually encourage revitalization, and that includes attracting new populations. The problem presented by the Cleveland example is that they are making three “wrongs” and no “rights.”

    1) There are reasons why people are migrating out of Cleveland, and local leaders do not yet know why, nor are they concerned enough to ask or study the problem.

    2) Because, Cleveland has not asked the first question, they do not have an effective program to retain businesses and residents.

    3) All places experience turnover, it’s quite natural, but if your not doing anything to attract populations to you, then your left with flight.

  33. Mark says:

    the rhetoric behind getting immigrants to come to cities with negative job growth sounds similar to paying retailers or to build sports arenas for struggling downtowns.

    1800’s Buffalo did not have “immigrant initiatives” it had “lots of low skilled labor openings”. Although Buffalo’s economy has been in consistent decline since the 50’s there is a strong influx of refugees. I wish I could find the exact statistic but I think it was something like 91% of new residents in the CITY of Buffalo since 2000 are refugees.

    Having 1,000’s of Somalians and Burmese don’t necessarily make Buffalo better or worse, in fact, big-picture wise, it seems to have little effect outside of the exact neighborhoods they reside in.

    I’m sure you would define “immigrant” differently that “refugee” but I would say that there is a palpable cutural presence on the lower west side where these refugees are mostly residing in regards to retail options and street activity (just like any ethinic immigrant community) but it doesn’t make much if any difference in the local economy.

    if cleveland is truly an entrepreneurial place not only in terms of creativity but in affordability, then they won’t be able to keep people away no matter what country they are from-that speaks true for all rust belt cities.

  34. Well Paid Scientist says:

    A close reading of the article indicates that Detroit is merely discussing immigrant attraction plans, they have yet to implement an effort. Philadelphia’s plan is about “newcomers” from places like New York, not overseas. Which would count as domestic migration, right?

    It’s customary to for an author on the www to include a link to pages which he thinks would edify the reader or back up his case. I did some Google searches and found nothing about these two programs, even their existence, much less any relevancy they have to Cleveland. But it’s up to the author to make the case.

    As for refugees, they are different from immigrants. Immigrants have prepared for their trip and have something to offer even if it’s just a strong back. Refugees are fleeing a disaster, and need a lot more help adjusting to their new environment than immigrants. I guess if you’re just concerned about warm bodies they do the trick though.

    How are the Burmese in Ft. Wayne doing?

  35. John Morris says:

    “If Cleveland is truly an entrepreneurial place not only in terms of creativity but in affordability, then they won’t be able to keep people away no matter what country they are from-that speaks true for all rust belt cities.”

    I strongly agree, and I think that’s why Schenectady’s Guyanese community hasn’t completly taken off. There is just some limit to how far it can go at least all at once.

    However, what’s interesting is that the group that got lured there now has a very strong economic interest in keeping the momentum going and getting more people to come.

    Someone just started a nice website this year and you can see a lot of classic get up and go here.

    http://www.guyaneseschenectady.com/

    If the story told about this is true, the total investment put in by the city is pretty small (the kind of thing a few foundations could easily fund) and the return pretty high.

    I also agree with distinguishing immigrants from refugees.

  36. Better Scientist says:

    WellPaidSci: I found dozens of articles on the initiatives cited by the author and similar ones in other American cities.

  37. JL says:

    Immigrants are really helping Baltimore. There are new latino oriented restaurants, barber shops, music and clothing stores. These immigrants appear to be very entrepreneurial without many resources. Baltimore should roll out the welcome mat for even more. Cleveland should do the same.

    Attracting could be done by including faster paths to citizenship and assistance to reduce the red tape of opening businesses. Baltimore has an office devoted to helping immigrants with business issues.

  38. Alon Levy says:

    In Canada, economic migrants are consistently richer than refugees: they make more money, have lower unemployment rates, and integrate into society better. In the US it’s probably the same, but unlike Statscan, the Census Bureau doesn’t keep statistics about this.

  39. Wad says:

    John Morris wrote:

    Yes, but also lack of market knowledge. Obviously, this is a main reason immigrants cluster together.

    It’s true of Homo sapiens as a species. The herd instinct is prevalent in humans throughout time and space. Even in the U.S., with our individualistic mythos, the individuals are all stampeding in the same direction. :)

    That along with a common language and a feeling of being wanted. Yes, there are amazing ethnic grapevines on which market knowledge travels but they are hardly perfect.

    Hardly perfect, but still effective.

    Immigrants do have a social bond, but they also develop a mutual aid system. You have a for-profit business sector of merchants and professionals who provide the goods and services and are able to help reconcile the homeland with the new residence. This is everything from operators of bodegas and markets to financial institutions to doctors, lawyers and tax preparers.

    Then you also have the social sector of religious organizations, business groups and benevolent societies. These groups will help find jobs, housing and offer chances to meet friends and possible mates. These also have a wealth redistribution component. New immigrants will turn to these groups to get through the “house-poor” and “hearth-poor” phases of immigration, where aid is needed to supplement meager incomes to obtain housing and food.

    It’s ethnic Section 8 and food stamps, basically. Yet this transfer of wealth didn’t have the effect of rendering the recipients shiftless. They largely worked because the donors are typically the business and social leaders of the communities who see the donation as an investment. The money given is likely going to be spent back in the community. Also, by fostering a system of goodwill, the recipients are more likely going to become contributors as their own financial situation improves.

  40. Steve says:

    “If Cleveland is truly an entrepreneurial place not only in terms of creativity but in affordability, then they won’t be able to keep people away no matter what country they are from-that speaks true for all rust belt cities.”

    I strongly agree, and I think that’s why Schenectady’s Guyanese community hasn’t completly taken off. There is just some limit to how far it can go at least all at once.

    However, what’s interesting is that the group that got lured there now has a very strong economic interest in keeping the momentum going and getting more people to come.

    Someone just started a nice website this year and you can see a lot of classic get up and go here.

    http://www.guyaneseschenectady.com/

    If the story told about this is true, the total investment put in by the city is pretty small (the kind of thing a few foundations could easily fund) and the return pretty high.

    I also agree with distinguishing immigrants from refugees.

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