Together, we are partnering with cross-sector leaders in cities across the country to imagine and create an America in which all people are economically secure, building wealth and living abundant, dignified, and connected lives. Our staff, investments, convenings, and networks support efforts that operationalize racial equity and inclusion in local government, create inclusive narratives, bring communities together to devise and act on a shared vision for the future, and eliminate inequities in systems such as entrepreneurship, homeownership, and access to capital.
The foundations and financial institutions that fund us are critical partners in our efforts to close racial income and wealth gaps. Beyond simply funding together, our board has explored ways to collaborate and move toward alignment on the deep root causes of the issues each of us is trying to address.
Our Mission, Vision and Values
Living Cities harnesses the collective power of philanthropy, financial institutions, and local governments to close racial income and wealth gaps in American cities.
All people in U.S. cities are economically secure, building wealth, and living abundant, dignified, and connected lives.
Living Cities’ core values – those we believe are fundamental to the organization’s success in achieving its mission – are collaboration, innovation, leadership, impact, and racial equity and inclusion. These organizational values guide our everyday decisions about how, why and what we do.
Collaboration: As a partnership of foundations and financial institutions, collaboration is at the core of our work. We believe that respect, diverse perspectives, power sharing, and the open exchange of ideas among varied partners will lead to the structural changes necessary to close racial income and wealth gaps.
Innovation: Changing broken systems and closing racial gaps requires disrupting the status quo and elevating and sustaining successful ideas from communities, while recognizing the value in fresh approaches to old problems. We aim to take risks and test novel solutions in service of economic opportunity for all.
Leadership: We continually ask difficult questions, engage in uncomfortable conversations, challenge obsolete assumptions, and support others to do the same in an effort to close racial gaps – in our institutions and across systems. And we not only strive to lead by example, but also learn from the labor of those who came before us and those who continue to do the work of fostering a more just and equitable country.
Impact: We are committed to the economic security of all people in U.S. cities by undoing racist systems that create disparities for people of color. Through a combination of race-centered approaches and a results focus, we hold ourselves accountable to this commitment and are intentionally self-reflective as we work to continuously improve.
Racial Equity and Inclusion: Racism is at the root of so many of the problems we are trying to solve, so addressing racism must be squarely at the center of how we work. We rely on each other to hold the organization accountable to moving the needle on racial equity and inclusion by living the following cultural norms: work to understand history and the ongoing legacy of racism, interrogate our own biases, extend mutual acknowledgement and respect, challenge damaging power norms, be open to vulnerability and risk.