The most prescient statement of 2020 may turn out to be the one uttered by a 6-year old girl: “Daddy changed the world!” Gianna Floyd is already a member of a cruel and peculiar club – children who have lost a parent to police brutality. The murder of Gianna’s father, George Floyd, has indeed ignited a once-in-a-generation global movement. An uncountable number of civic witnesses around the world demand that the institutions, policies and practices foundationally built on systemic racism change, for real and for good.

Increasingly, citizens are demanding that both public and private institutions across all arenas of life contribute more to building assets in communities with long histories of disinvestment rather than stand as the arbiters of character and worth based on thinly sliced judgments of skin color. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown are just a few among hundreds unjustly slain. We have come to a collective reckoning with a bill long past due – and the debt cuts across the fabric of civic society.

In local communities across the country, both activists and civic leaders alike are quite literally demanding payment by proposing fiscal strategies aimed at addressing inequality. While the sides may not always be in agreement on the size of the payment, the renewed attention on municipal budgets – and what can be done to invest in potential rather than policing in communities of color – has not been greater in recent memory.

High-profile budget announcements from such cities as Los Angeles and New York make national headlines and the “defund” language draws sensationalist attention. But, quietly, over the last two decades, cities and counties in both red and blue states have been using budgets as a powerful tool for making different policy choices about how to invest local dollars. Specific strategies and approaches have varied, but what they have in common is that each has taken a renewed look at balancing the social ledger.

While many fiscal strategies exist for cities and counties, three are particularly amenable to home-grown solutions since they are directly generated from local public will: repurposing existing funding, generating new dedicating funding, and enforcing private funding commitments.

Communities that have tried some variation of the first strategy – repurposing existing funds – have seen promising developments. Baltimore, Maryland enacted a $12 million revenue set-aside for youth programs from their city budget in the wake of the police killing of Freddie Gray in 2015. The fund passed with 85% voter support. Eighty-four community organizations in majority-Black Baltimore received grants in the fund’s first year.

Other municipalities have increased the budget for child and youth development by generating new revenue. Typically created through ballot initiative, one of the earliest documented passages of these so-called local dedicated funds occurred in 1946 when a Pinellas County, Florida judge advocated for a new tax as a way to curb the cycle of “at risk” youth coming through his courtroom. Fifty years later, communities across the county began wide-scale replication of this strategy. Voters in more than forty cities and counties have approved modest new taxes to create a dedicated fund for children and youth and many others pursue this strategy today.

The third financing strategy provides a policy mechanism for channeling private industry dollars into the investments that communities articulate themselves. Community benefit agreements with teeth can ensure that companies who do business in a neighborhood commit to tangible benefits for residents – child care, youth centers, new jobs, and opportunities for minority-owned businesses. While such agreements have been around for decades, in some cases, real and sustained benefits to communities have been thin. In an age in which cities like Seattle are passing an ‘Amazon tax’, calls are increasing for strengthened and enforced policies that ensure companies share more of the wealth with communities.

The most recent spate of funding commitments is only a starting place in the calls for change. Yet they do place an essential question squarely on the table: What do the Gianna Floyds deserve? We will not be able to bring her father back, but we can provide her and all children a better, more equitable opportunity to succeed by investing in our communities differently. Let’s make right on the social ledger and employ the full range of fiscal strategies at our disposal.

Alicia Wilson-Ahlstrom is a partner consultant with Children’s Funding Project in Washington, DC. Elizabeth Gaines is its founding executive director.