Photo by Brian Diener


Fresno DRIVE Initiative

What is the Fresno DRIVE Initiative?

The D.R.I.V.E. Initiative (Developing the Region’s Inclusive and Vibrant Economy) is a 10-year investment plan to develop a sustainable economy for the residents of the greater Fresno region.

What is the goal of DRIVE?

The goal of DRIVE is to create opportunities for all residents to move from poverty to prosperity by creating an inclusive economy that is vibrant and sustainable.

What process will be used to achieve this goal?

The DRIVE Initiative assessed Fresno’s current standings in three areas vital to community health: economic development, human capital, and neighborhood quality. This evaluation of our region’s challenges helped build a collective understanding of our city’s unique position, and guided the Steering Committee towards a shared, 10-year vision to transform Fresno. The comprehensive plan identified a portfolio of investable initiatives that will increase economic mobility, address racial disparities, and support a sustainable environment.

Who is involved with DRIVE?

DRIVE is sponsored by the Central Valley Community Foundation (CVCF) with support from the James Irvine Foundation. The Initiative is guided by a Steering Committee of 150+ organizations and over 300 community leaders, and supported by a consulting and research team that includes McKinsey & Company, Fresno State’s Central Valley Health Policy Institute, Brookings Institution, Jobs for the Future, and the Urban Institute.

Can the community get involved with the DRIVE process?

Yes! The Fresno Building Healthy Communities collaborative conducted focus groups in Summer/Fall 2019 to gather community input and feedback on the DRIVE Initiative plan. Click here to download the Focus Groups Report. In addition, community input sessions are being planned for 2020 to ensure ample opportunities for Fresno residents to learn about and provide input on the draft DRIVE plan before it is finalized. Contact us to get involved!

What projects will be included in the DRIVE Initiative?

Developing the draft DRIVE Community Investment Plan began with a community-wide inventory of existing initiatives directly relating to DRIVE’s 10-year vision and focus on economic development, human capital, and neighborhood development. In total, 125 initiatives were reviewed, categorized, and assessed for inclusion based on their alignment, momentum and community buy-in, impact, feasibility, and diversity of impact. The assessment process, based on national best practices and coordination efforts with external experts, resulted in 25 major investment themes, which were ultimately developed into 19 community investment initiatives. Click here to learn more.

Why Fresno?

Fresno is currently one of the fastest growing regions in the United States with 20 percent population growth since 2000 and has historically been the largest city in California’s Central Valley. The Urban Institute’s 2018 research on economic mobility revealed that Fresno ranks 59th out of California’s 59 largest cities for economic and racial disparity, and our current economy doesn’t create the volume and opportunities needed to break the cycle of economic distress. While impressive progress has been made to combat these challenges in recent years, a comprehensive and inclusive economic development business plan is required to guide public and private investments for the next decade.

Why now?

In May 2019, Governor Newsom’s office announced a new ‘Regions Rise Together” initiative designed to develop a comprehensive economic plan that will benefit all parts of California, specifically the Inland regions. The DRIVE Initiative launched on July 10, 2019 in Downtown Fresno to a Steering Committee of nearly 200 participants. A 6-week business plan sprint took place from July 22 – Aug 26th, then the draft plan went through rounds of community input and feedback. On October 31, 2019 at the State Capitol in Sacramento, an appointed coalition presented the DRIVE Investment Plan (Draft as of 10.31.19) to Governor Newsom, and on November 7-8, the plan will be presented and discussed with a group of panelists as part of the 2019 California Economic Summit hosted in Fresno. The DRIVE Initiative is capitalizing on this statewide momentum at a pivotal time, with a diverse group of civic, community, and business leaders who represent both the brightest ideas of our region and the heart of who we are.