At Living Cities, we’re deeply unsatisfied with the pace of social change. And we’re mindful that no one individual, institution, or sector can achieve the pace and scale change that we want to see in this world alone. That’s why we work with a variety of different partners in order to build a new type of urban practice that gets dramatically better results for low-income people, faster.
With that in mind, we asked our staff: “Who are you thankful for this holiday season?”
As their answers came through, I was blown away to see the breadth and depth of the players who have coming together to help us achieve our goals. As our CEO reminded us this week, we’re not competing against other organizations, we’re competing against poverty and hopelessness. And in order to achieve our goals, we must all work together differently.
So thank you! To Living Cities members, partners and greater network. Here’s what our staff have to say:
“As Living Cities enters its 25th year, we give thanks to our member foundations & financial institutions.” - Ben Hecht, President and CEO
“I’m thankful for the 12 foundations and financial institutions that have given so much time and thought to truly work with us to co-create the Blended Catalyst Fund, the next generation of Living Cities impact investing collaboration. And, I’ll be thankful for a few more to join us!” - Brian Nagendra, Senior Investment Associate, Capital Innovation
“I’m thankful for Frontline Solutions who have helped us to focus more intentionally on racial equity and inclusion in our work.” - Nadia Owusu, Assistant Director, Strategic Communications and Storytelling
“I am thankful for members of the Race & U.S. Cities Task Force who have partnered with us over the last few months to co-create a powerful initiative to address institutional racism. Today, we had our last call with the Task Force where they shared how much they valued and appreciate the opportunity to work across institutions.” - Jennifer Perkins, Assistant Director, Collective Impact
“I’m thankful for our REI task force and all our staff who had lots of uncomfortable conversations together and learned the challenges and power of looking at our work through a racial and equity lens.” - Ronda Jackson, Associate Director, Public Sector Innovation
“I’d have to say that I’m thankful for all the partners that we have that are working to push our work forward both in the cities with the work being done to change the systems in place to help the disadvantaged to the work being done to improve the racial equity lens applied to all the groups we work with.” - Joan Springs, Administrative Associate, Collective Impact
“The TII Initiative Directors, for all their hard work as systems change leaders and ‘cat herders’.” - Tracey Turner, Program Associate, The Integration Initiative
“I’m thankful for team at the Federal Reserve of Boston because they dare to be change makers and demonstrate new opportunities for the Federal Reserve Banks to catalyze change.
And I’m thankful to the Working Cities Challenge partnerships that dare to believe their cities can change.
"When I came to Living Cities I said how much it meant to me to work for such an audaciously hopeful organization. In a world of depressing headlines, I am remembering that believing in the possibility of change is sometimes half the battle, and I’m so thankful to work alongside all of you who dare to believe as well.” - Brittany Ramos, Program Associate, Collective Impact
“I’m thankful for our friends at the Collective Impact Forum who helped us promote our Cross-Sector Partnership Assessment tool, and reach over 400 cross-sector leaders across the country so far.” - Jeff Raderstrong, Program Associate, Collective Impact
“I’m thankful for the team at Bloomberg Philanthropies for aggressively pushing city governments to be more innovative, while also holding them accountable to achieving measurable results for their citizens.” - Owen Stone, Senior Associate, Public Sector Innovation
“I am thankful for our partnership with Equal Measure to evaluate the impact of City Accelerator initiative. We are lucky to work with a top-notch team that provides actionable data to improve our work.” - Daniela Pineda, Associate Director, Evaluation and Impact
“I am thankful that we are all blessed with the opportunity to contribute to this work and I am thankful for our staff, Members and partnerships that value and exemplify a collaborative and innovative commitment to this work and the challenges that arise, but are not insurmountable. #abettertomorrow!” - Tonya Banks, Senior Administrative Associate, Capital Innovation