Publications and Presentations

Recent Work

Funding Climate Action:  Pathways for Philanthropy

Funding Climate Action, a report developed by the Aspen Institute in partnership with Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management, is designed to provide insight and tools to inspire philanthropists to address climate change. The report, written by Randall Kempner, offers a taxonomy of approaches to climate philanthropy, supported by case studies of five funders and profiles of key resource organizations. It concludes by offering a set of six guiding principles for effective climate philanthropy.

Randall has shared insights from the report and his climate philanthropy research at various conferences and podcasts, including:


The Economic Development Response to a Changing Climate

Representing the Aspen Institute, Randall co-authored an article with Nathan Ohle, the CEO of the International Economic Development Council (IEDC) on the critical need for the economic development profession to adapt to climate change.  The post argues that the changing climate will radically change the practice of economic development, and that communities should both prepare for climate-related challenges and take advantage of the economic opportunities created by the net-zero economic transformation.

In addition to presentations at recent IEDC and Texas Economic Development Council conferences, Randall recently appeared on a webinar with Chmura Economics to discuss climate-smart economic development in the context of the recent expansion of U.S. federal funding for climate efforts

Old Favorites

The Talent Imperative for Regional Growth

Randall Kempner contributed a chapter entitled “The Talent Imperative for Older Industrial Areas” to the 2008 volume, Retooling for Growth: Building a 21st Century Economy in America’s Older Industrial Areas.

In Retooling for Growth, experts present new frameworks, cutting-edge analysis, and innovative policy solutions through which the nation’s government, business, civic and community leaders can sculpt a sustainable and supportable economy for older industrial areas. The unique focus on rehabilitating weak market cities outlines ideas for reshaping the role of public agencies, the workforce, business organizations, and technology.

Kempner’s chapter on “The Talent Imperative for Older Industrial Areas” lays out the imperative for all regions, old and new, to develop, retain, and attract talent as a primary economic development strategy. The chapter provides recommendations for all three facets of building a talent-rich region.


People-based Economic Development Strategies: Regional Imperatives in the Innovation Economy

In this short white paper, Randall Kempner discusses the shift from traditional economic development strategies based on physical and financial assets to those based on skilled people. Five key imperatives for economic development strategies in a knowledge-based economy are presented and explained:

  • Focus on building talent, not attracting companies
  • Develop local talent before attracting outside talent
  • Protect and improve regional quality of life
  • Cultivate a dynamic, tolerant culture
  • Get connected: partnerships and networks are required

City of Austin Mayors Task Force on the Economy: Cultural Vitality and Creative Economy Report

This report was prepared by Prosperity Strategies for the City of Austin as part of a city-led economic development initiative in 2003. The report defines a culturally dynamic region by describing the three As and three Ds of cultural vitality: accessibility, affordability, applause, distinctness, dynamism, and diversity. The report outlines an approach for cities and regions to foster their creative economies

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