Six New Cities Selected for Equitable Economic Development Fellowship

Keepin' It Local Mural
Keepin' It Local Mural

WASHINGTON – June 6, 2017 – Today, National League of Cities (NLC), PolicyLink and the Urban Land Institute (ULI) announced the selection of six additional cities for participation in the organizations’ jointly-supported Equitable Economic Development Fellowship: Austin, Baltimore, Louisville, Nashville, Phoenix and Sacramento.

“We are thrilled to welcome six new cities to the Equitable Economic Development Fellowship,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and executive director of National League of Cities. “Now more than ever cities are focused on developing creative strategies to ensure economic policies and programs benefit all members of their communities. The fellowship empowers cities to learn from each other and build a path toward a more equitable future.”

The fellowship begins today in Washington, D.C., where representatives from each city, as well as those who participated in the 2016-2017 class, will convene to build a shared sense of equitable economic development, hear from the outgoing class of participants, and engage with program sponsors and other guest speakers.

During the year-long fellowship, each city will select an issue or project aimed at spurring inclusive economic growth. Economic development experts from across the country will then provide technical assistance, leadership training and make recommendations to help the cities reach their goals. The cities will also designate fellows within their communities to travel to the other participating cities for peer learning and the sharing of best practices.

“We’re delighted to continue our participation in this fellowship,” said ULI Global Chief Executive Officer Patrick L. Phillips. “The experiences of these cities in promoting equitable economic development will help form the basis for strategies that can benefit cities across the nation. This program is a key step forward in broadening the positive impact of well-planned urban development.”      

"Cities are recognizing that racial and economic inclusion is central to their success," said Angela Glover Blackwell, PolicyLink founder and CEO. "We are excited to work with these economic development leaders who are ready to implement new strategies and approaches that set their cities on a trajectory of equitable growth."

The Equitable Economic Development Fellowship started in 2016 as a two-year, $1 million effort to help equity, transparency, sustainability and community engagement become driving forces in local economic development efforts. The fellowship is generously supported by the Surdna Foundation and the Open Society Foundations.

“Now more than ever, we believe it’s important that cities develop new strategies and approaches to economic development that create opportunities for economic mobility for all communities,” said Shawn Escoffery, program director of Strong Local Economies at the Surdna Foundation. “We are excited that a new cohort of cities is ready to tackle tough challenges and work together to ensure greater prosperity for all.  Once again, we are truly grateful for our partnership with the National League of Cities, Urban Land Institute and PolicyLink and their efforts to transform the field of economic development.”

“Making real progress in promoting equitable economic development at the local level requires strong community voices, champions in city government and staff empowered with the knowledge and tools to create change,” said Ken Zimmerman, director of US Programs at the Open Society Foundations. “We believe this fellowship program is a great way to increase government’s ability to extend the benefits of growth to all communities. We are proud to support the program, eager to learn from the inaugural class of fellows and excited by the promise that a new crop brings.”

Learn more about the Equitable Economic Development Fellowship here.

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About the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans. www.nlc.org

About PolicyLink

PolicyLink is a national research and action institute advancing economic and social equity by Lifting Up What Works®. Through the All-In Cities initiative, we equip city leaders with policy ideas, data, and strategy to make racial economic inclusion and equitable growth their reality. www.policylink.org 

About the Urban Land Institute

The Urban Land Institute is a nonprofit education and research institute supported by its members. Its mission is to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. Established in 1936, the institute has more than 40,000 members worldwide representing all aspects of land use and development disciplines. For more information, visit uli.org or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. www.uli.org

About the Surdna Foundation

The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster just and sustainable communities in the United States – communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies and thriving cultures. For five generations, since 1917, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity. www.surdna.org

About the Open Society Foundations

The Open Society Foundations work to build vibrant and tolerant democracies whose governments are accountable to their citizens. Working with local communities in more than 100 countries, the Open Society Foundations support justice and human rights, freedom of expression, and access to public health and education. www.opensocietyfoundations.org