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Working Cities Challenge - GREAT News for Connecticut


(Capital Workforce Partners assisted in
bringing the Working Cities Challenge to Connecticut)

(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that Connecticut will be the latest state participating in the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Working Cities Challenge competition, an economic development effort that builds cross-sector collaboration and leadership to solve challenges affecting urban communities.

As part of this initiative, cities in Connecticut will have the ability to apply for competitive funding to be used toward addressing local issues in a sector of their choosing, be it education, workforce development, small business development, or other areas that can improve economic outcomes for residents.

"This Working Cities Challenge is about delivering collaborative, transformative projects that will improve the economic outcomes in our cities, creating strong, resilient, and inclusive communities.  These funds will be geared towards communities with a disproportionate number of low and moderate-income individuals, with the goal of improving our cities and improving our economy," Governor Malloy said.  "To build a stronger Connecticut, we must build upon the strengths of our urban areas, and I commend the Boston Fed for their leadership on this effort.  We look forward to working with them in support of Connecticut and cannot thank our private partners enough for their participation."

The Boston Fed will lead the competition, providing technical support and staff resources.  A steering committee composed of local and national partners will determine the cities in Connecticut that will be eligible to apply.  An independent, expert jury that does not include the Boston Fed will select winning cities.

The Boston Fed launched the program in Massachusetts in 2013, building on research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the county.  The State of Rhode Island recently joined Massachusetts as a participating site of the Working Cities Challenge.

Funding for the competition prize awards will be provided both by the State of Connecticut, which has committed $1 million, and an additional $2 million commitment from private partners.  The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, NeighborWorks America, The United Illuminating Company, Stanley Black & Decker, Boehringer Ingelheim, Travelers Companies, Inc., The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Webster Bank, Eversource Energy, Liberty Bank Foundation, Hartford HealthCare, Barnes Group, Hoffman BMW of Watertown/Hoffman Auto Group, United Technologies Corp., Charter Communications, and Fairfield County's Community Foundation have all committed to participating in the challenge.

"We are pleased to bring the Working Cities Challenge to Connecticut and are thankful to Governor Malloy for his support of the effort, as well as the Hartford Foundation, the Doris Duke Foundation, Living Cities, The Kresge Foundation, and many others," Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren said.  "The partners have come together to make it possible to bring the competition to Connecticut - precisely the model of cross-sector collaboration that forms the basis of the Working Cities Challenge.  This competition focuses on the residents of the state's postindustrial cities - places with unique assets that taken together can help to build civic leadership infrastructure, which our research shows is a key component of economic resurgence."

"Collaboration among the nonprofit, private, public and philanthropic sectors and residents is fundamental to ensuring our communities thrive," Linda J. Kelly, President of the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, said.  "We are proud to support the Working Cities Challenge as a proven approach for the coordination across multiple systems and stakeholders that is necessary to strengthen our urban centers and benefit the entire state."

"This is a significant and pragmatic partnership to help cities catalyze their strengths and aspirations for a productive future for all citizens," Ed Henry, President and CEO of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, said.

"It's gratifying to see the strong support from Connecticut companies, foundations, and the Malloy administration for the Working Cities Challenge under the thoughtful  leadership of the Boston Fed,"  James C. Smith, Chairman and CEO of Webster Bank, said.  "By encouraging the development of civic infrastructure as a prerequisite to physical infrastructure, the Working Cities Challenge promises to revitalize Connecticut's smaller cities economically and transform the lives of inner city residents."

"Across the country many, many communities lack cohesive leadership to make use of their disconnected assets," Rip Rapson, President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, said.  "The Working Cities Challenge offers a short-term incentive for smaller communities to come together for a prize.  But its true value will be felt when those communities find the long-term benefits of collaborations that engage citizens to right economic wrongs and provide for widespread opportunity."

"The Boston Fed is helping to prove out a new model for transformational change.  The expansion of the Working Cities Challenge to Connecticut is further proof of our nation's hunger for new solutions to seemingly intractable problems," Ben Hecht, President and CEO of Living Cities, said.

For more on the challenge visit http://bostonfed.org/workingcities/