Defining a new paradigm for
human and economic development
"No amount of charities in spending such fortunes can compensate in any way for the misconduct in acquiring them."
- President Theodore Roosevelt
30 years of Prosperity

The History of the Prosperity Approach to Development

PCI’s approach to international development has been applied to new projects for over 30 years. From waste treatment, to affordable housing, to founding new institutions for higher education, our work has been built up from decades of practical experience and implementation to increase the prosperity of local communities.

The Prosperity Model is the brainchild of PCI’s President and Chairman Nelson Del Rio Sr. Growing up poor in California, the son of a horseshoer, Del Rio dropped out of high school to support himself and his family by working in a factory. After impressing admissions interviewers at the University of Washington, he was given an opportunity to attend the University as part of a scholarship program for underprivileged students funded by Bill Gates Sr. even though he never earned a high school diploma.

It was at the University of Washington that his desire to work for the cause of the poor against the interests of extractive capitalists was born. However, on Gates Sr.’s advice, Del Rio chose to postpone his activism until he’d gained more worldly skill and experience. After UW, Del Rio graduated cum laude from Harvard Law School and worked as a merger and acquisition attorney on Wall Street at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom. Del Rio worked on several of the largest M&A deals of the 80s, totaling $24B total deals, $13B of which he closed. It was during his ten years at Skadden that Del Rio came to understand global finance, after which he applied his knowledge to property and infrastructure development and put early iterations of the Prosperity Model into action.

The following is a history of the development and application of the Prosperity Model by Del Rio and his partners. As this history demonstrates, the Prosperity Model is a creative approach to legal structure, financing, asset design, construction, and operation, impact measurement, and capacity development. After decades maturing the model and applying it to many sectors and locations, now Nelson Del Rio and the PCI team is extending the Prosperity Model to its most ambitious application yet: international development integrating commons protection management, public goods and services, and private industries, all in service to transforming the paradigm of international development from extractive models to prioritizing the long term prosperity of local communities.

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Prosperity Model Projects


Join the new paradigm.

The Prosperity of the Commons International model for development is applicable to the work of for-profits, non-profits, NGOs, educational institutions, and others. To work with us to implement the Prosperity Development model, fill out our contact form and we will set up an initial consultation.

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