Local leaders can do a lot to create economic opportunity and include more residents in that opportunity, when they’re working and learning together. The Boston Fed believes in the power of collaborative leadership to make local economies stronger and more inclusive. Our strategies improve places by mobilizing leaders to work together in new ways; testing, learning from, and scaling new ideas with those leaders to grow economic opportunity; and integrating learning so that new approaches are informed by and contribute to what we know works.
Through the Working Cities Challenge and the Working Communities Challenge, the Boston Fed builds on experience to boost collaborative strategies that change systems and the lives of low-income residents. The challenges are grounded in research, and they are designed to integrate the lessons learned as we introduced the model in different states. This ensures our approach is responsive to what we find in a given community. The Working Cities and Working Communities Challenge are grounded in a commitment to these principles as key to community success:
- Shared long-term goal for economic and community well-being
- Collaborative leadership
- Community Engagement
- Learning Orientation and Use of Data
- Systems Change
Race and equity are embedded in each of these elements, and they are illustrated in a series of short videos in the Boston Fed’s community development magazine, Invested.
Our approach depends on leaders teaming up in new ways to advance economic opportunity. Some of those leaders work at a state or national level, and they help shape our efforts through steering committees or advisory roles. Many more work in local communities in the public, private or nonprofit sectors. We bring together and invest in leaders who share a commitment to inclusive economic opportunity. We also mobilize our resources to support these efforts, so they result in real change for the people around them.
We know there is no playbook for making economic opportunity more inclusive. This work is complex and involves changing systems and culture at multiple levels of a community. That means much of what we do is experimental. It’s not always clear what will work, and not every prescription fits every community. That is why our approach is adaptive. We always look for ways to test and pilot approaches that maximize impact and learning. The Boston Fed and our Working Places are always evolving. We’re always trying to do things better.