July 18, 2016

Working Cities celebrates $2.8M in funding for five Massachusetts communities

Cities working to address issues ranging from neighborhood revitalization to workforce development in second round of Boston Fed competition

On July 18, the Boston Fed hosted over 150 guests for a celebration honoring winning teams from Massachusetts's second round of the Working Cities Challenge. Cross-sector leaders from Haverhill, Lowell, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester presented their respective plans – aimed at improving outcomes for low-income residents – to an audience made up of State officials, Boston Fed leadership, and members of the philanthropic, nonprofit, business, and local government communities.

In June, the Boston Fed awarded $475,000 in grant funding for each initiative – totaling $2.8M – made possible by a consortium of partners including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Smith Family Foundation, and Living Cities. The winners of the competition were selected by an independent jury that does not include the Boston Fed.

"Without our many partners, this effort would not have been possible. This is truly collaboration with real results. We've seen real progress and that's not just our analysis – I hear it from elected officials, from business leaders, national philanthropy, from nonprofits, and people in the cities and towns," Boston Fed President & CEO Eric Rosengren said, thanking Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash for their multi-year support of the Challenge, which has received state funding for the past three fiscal years.

In addition to comments from Rosenberg and Ash at the celebration, the audience heard from MassDevelopment CEO Marty Jones, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership (MACP) CEO Dan O'Connell, and State Street Chairman and CEO and MACP representative Jay Hooley. Both Marty and Dan were part of the independent jury that selected the five winning cities from a pool of ten eligible communities.

"Today's event really highlighted the important work that the city teams have done, and continue to do, to enhance their communities," Jones said. "I think I can speak for the jury when I say that we're all looking forward to seeing the initiatives come to life."

The cities will work on their initiatives—which focus on neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, and improving access to economic opportunity—over a three-year period, accompanied by technical assistance and a learning community for best-practice sharing.