With $3 million dollars in technical assistance and consulting from the Citi Foundation and Living Cities, three poverty-stricken U.S. cities now have more irons in the fire for improving government and building an inclusive economy.
In case you don’t know Living Cities, it was founded in 1991 and is now backed by 22 foundations and several financial institutions that partner with it “to develop and scale new approaches to dramatically improve the economic well-being of low-income people.” The big names in philanthropy are all behind this place, including Gates, Rockefeller and Ford, and big banks like Bank of America, Citi, and JP Morgan Chase are on board as well.
Living Cities has been around long enough to watch concern about urban poverty move in and out of vogue. These days it is most definitely in vogue. Not only is inequality writ large a hot issue, but there’s a huge amount of excitement about urban renewal and a number of mayors are doing interesting things to help cities create opportunity and stability for low-income people. As well, there’s a lot of energy around making city governments more innovative agents of change, which is crucial for enabling the local public sector to reduce poverty and drive economic growth. Creative programs are happening in many cities, but often in isolation.