Working Communities Challenge
The Working Communities Challenge advances local collaborative efforts that build strong, healthy economies and communities in northern New England’s rural towns, regions, and smaller cities. With a focus on economic opportunity for communities and residents with low incomes, this unique three-year grant competition is supported by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, State Government, national and local philanthropy, and private sector employers.
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.