The Opportunity and Challenge of America's Cities
America's cities are the engine for national prosperity and individual economic opportunity. Their rich history, cultural vibrancy, and environmental sustainability are qualities that have attracted people to them throughout our nation’s history. At their best, cities develop the best talent, provide convenient access to quality health care, housing, education, and transportation and harness the power of local and global markets.
Too often, however, this is not the case. In many cities, half of students who enter high school do not graduate; and one in five residents live on the edge of poverty. A significant number of individuals are unprepared for today’s workforce and geographically isolated from their region’s economy. These realities negatively affect an entire region, strain public systems, and limit job creation and business expansion.
The Integration Initiative
Living Cities believes that transforming long-broken systems is imperative and the opportunity to make enduring change is now. Government, philanthropy, nonprofits and private industry are undergoing enormous shifts and experiencing dramatic fiscal constraints. Today we have the chance to work together differently, to make changes that have too long been delayed, and to innovate for the good of our nation's cities and their residents.
Living Cities designed The Integration Initiative to support cities that are harnessing existing momentum and leadership for change, overhauling long obsolete systems and fundamentally reshaping their communities and policies to meet the needs of low-income residents. Living Cities maintains that urban innovation will come from the local level. We also recognize that to strengthen all cities, we must build on local innovations to drive transformation across our nation. To this end, we will capture lessons we’re learning from on-the-ground efforts in The Integration Initiative sites and share them with key stakeholders in philanthropy, finance and government.