The Working Cities Challenge, launched in 2013 in Massachusetts, builds on Boston Fed research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the country. As part of the first round in Massachusetts, six Massachusetts cities received $1.8 million in funding for projects to address issues impacting low-income communities. Funding was provided by the state, private sector, and local and national philanthropic organizations, and cities were selected on merit by an independent jury not comprised of Boston Fed representatives. Four of those cities from the first round won multi-year grant awards and continue to make progress expanding their efforts and improving the lives of low-income residents in their communities. The Boston Fed recently announced that the Challenge would expand to Rhode Island in 2016.
The Boston Fed created this video to showcase the 5 winning Massachusetts cities:
In October 2015, Pittsfield was one of ten cities in Massachusetts to be awarded the initial design grant of $15,000. These $15,000 awards are designed to provide resources to cities to further develop initial applications and collaborative teams over a six month period. In June 2016, the Working Cities Pittsfield team was awarded a multi-year grant of $475,000 to mitigate poverty.
The Role of the Boston Fed
The Boston Fed’s role in the competition includes designing and implementing the model in partnership with our Steering Committee, providing one-on-one coaching to winning teams, and helping teams build capacity by linking them to experts, best practices, and opportunities for peer networking through a Learning Community designed to be responsive to teams’ interests and needs.