Community teams submit applications for $15,000 grants to fund a design/planning phase, during which they work to better understand the problem they are trying to solve, build their strategy, better understand the main elements of the Working Cities Challenge. Applications are evaluated and competitively awarded by the steering committee. These grants are small, but the stakes are high: Only teams that successfully complete this phase may go on to compete for multi-year implementation awards.
Teams choose to work on a shared goal that is important to their community, and where they see an opportunity to make change. They can work on anything that strengthens the economy and outcomes for low-income residents. Some communities choose to focus on preparing and placing people in jobs. Some work on education. Some work on entrepreneurship. Some work to help individual neighborhoods.