Through the City Accelerator, an initiative supported by the Citi Foundation and in partnership with Governing, city teams--both public servants and local partners-- have tested new approaches to improve municipal services, practices and policies. Since 2015, 22 cities have piloted efforts to improve how local government runs and generate economic opportunities, particularly for marginalized populations. See more from City Accelerator 

In the first City Accelerator cohort, Louisville, Nashville and Philadelphia encouraged risk-taking and building the capacity of public servants to make big leaps forward in their service delivery and policies. Ultimately, institutionalizing their efforts by Embedding a Culture of Innovation.

The Revitalizing Community Engagement cohort proved that government works best when it creates opportunities for residents to shape unfinished solutions or imperfect services. Teams from Albuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, New Orleans and Seattle were part of this cohort.

For our third cohort on Infrastructure Finance, Pittsburgh, Saint Paul, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. field-tested finance and funding tools and silo-busting processes to increase both equity and resilience in repairing and building Infrastructure.

As City Accelerator expanded its reach, the initiative learned that cities could not achieve improved economic opportunity for all without applying a racial equity lens to our work. To close racial income and wealth gaps through entrepreneurship, Atlanta, El Paso, Long Beach, Newark and Rochester developed deeper relationships in their community. City staff partnered with business owners, entrepreneurial service organizations, community-based organizations, universities, financial institutions, and others to create a more seamless and intentional local business ecosystem so that firms owned by people of color could generate revenue and create jobs as part of the Local Business and Job Growth cohort.

The Inclusive Procurement cohort initially focused on supporting five cities that focused on leveraging their buying power to contract with more businesses owned by people of color. The results achieved by Charlotte, Chicago, Los Angeles, Memphis, and Milwaukee inspired us to invite more cities to compete for a second cohort focused on improving equitable contracting practices. Currently, Boston, Cleveland, El Paso, Houston, Kansas City, MO, Minneapolis, Nashville, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and South Bend are working to ensure that businesses owned by people of color have a fair chance of competing for and winning city contracts.

This work would not be possible without the subject matter expertise and coaching of the following cohort leads: Nigel Jacob of the City of Boston; Eric Gordon of Engagement Lab; Jennifer Mayer currently with King County Metro; Rodney Strong, Sterling Johnson and Austin Broussard of Griffin & Strong PC, and Rodrick Miller of Ascendant Global.