Working Communities Challenge Working Communities Challenge


How it Works


Partners within a state initiate the Working Communities Challenge

A combination of the Boston Fed and state-level, private, philanthropic, and nonprofit partners initiate a challenge for a state


Eligible places are approached about the opportunity

The steering committee works with the Boston Fed to determine which places are eligible to participate in a given round, based on several considerations and criteria.


Teams raise their hands to participate

Eligible communities express interest in participating in the challenge, then each team works together to submit its own proposal.


Teams learn about the challenge, create their team and apply for planning grants

Community teams submit applications for $15,000 grants to fund a planning phase during which they build their strategy, internal structures and work to better integrate the core pieces of the Working Communities Challenge.


Communities strengthen their team, sharpen their ideas, and become fluent in the Working Communities Challenge model

Teams awarded planning grants enter a six-month phase designed to help them develop a comprehensive, refined, cohesive, and actionable proposal that addresses a shared long term goal, addressing a significant problem in their community.


Communities demonstrate readiness for the long haul

Teams apply for grants to implement multi-year initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to achieving better results for their communities.


Winning teams are selected, and receive 3-year grants to bring their work to life

A small number of teams will receive 3-year implementation awards of between $300,000-$500,000 that will enable them to bring their proposals to life.


Teams work with the Boston Fed to get off the ground

The Boston Fed and its consultants provides technical assistance and support to winning teams as they develop their work plans and budgets and hire key staff to coordinate the initiatives.


Ongoing support and sustaining the effort

The Boston Fed and partners work side-by-side with the teams to ensure long-term success.


Teams are evaluated

Independent evaluators measure progress in each community at the beginning, middle and end of the Challenge, providing learning to the communities and the Boston Fed and its partners.