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Kimber Lanning is dedicated to making Arizona a world class destination and is fiercely proud of the culture of the region. Specifically, Kimber hates injustice. She wants to leave Arizona a better and more just place than she found it. To this end, Kimber founded both Local First Arizona and Local First Arizona Foundation, two statewide organizations that work together to strengthen Arizona’s economy. She’s grown Local First Arizona into an organization with five statewide offices with 28 employees who work on a diverse array of programs ranging from healthy local food access, entrepreneurial development in underserved communities, and rural community development, each of which plays a part in building sustainable and resilient local economies. and Local First Arizona Foundation is leading the nation in implementing systems and policies to ensure a level playing field for entrepreneurial endeavors and communities of all sizes.
Lanning has received national numerous awards for her diverse work and extensive leadership and speaks regularly around the country. Her work in promoting adaptive reuse in Phoenix’s urban core was recognized by the American Planning Association, who presented Lanning with the Distinguished Citizen Planner Award in 2013. She has also been named one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Arizona” (Arizona Business Magazine, 2011), was the recipient of the Athena Award by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 2013, and was named Citizen Leader of the Year from the International Economic Development Council.
And if that’s not enough, Kimber opened Stinkweeds, a record store, when she was just 19 years old, and has moved the store 4 times over the past 27 years.
Insights and Inspirations
- The odds are stacked against small businesses – they are not bankable.
- Kimber is working to stop displacement that is expected when a new light rail is built in a racially segregated section of South Phoenix. It’s an uphill battle.
- One passionate person like Kimber can make an enormous difference in many people’s lives.
Information and Links
- Kimber wonders whether community investment trusts can help slow down gentrification, like this project in Portland.
- Kimber loves this Local First program called FOR(u)M because it brings together the development community to talk about better designs for healthy communities.
- She just learned about the Incremental Development Alliance recently and LOVES learning more about their work.
- The Boston Impact Initiative is a beautiful organization in Boston doing amazing work building equity and ownership.
Image courtesy of Kimber Lanning, Local First Arizona