In addition to our core portfolio of work, we work to be a platform for our member institutions to come together to be responsive to a rapidly changing environment–From Hurricane Katrina relief efforts, to finding promising approaches to address the realities of the foreclosure crisis in 2007. And, an ambitious research and development agenda has created space for Living Cities staff and staff of our twenty two member institutions to collaboratively explore issues such as the green economy and celebrity engagement in social change efforts.
Living Cities established a working group with Board Members and their staff to approve grants to define a common funding and knowledge agenda that would help low-income families move from poverty to financial stability. The Working Group focused on aligning and coordinating their efforts in the area of income and assets; and promoting greater alignment of federal, state and local policies to help low-income families move from poverty to financial stability. In 2011, the Working Group supported the launch of AssetPlatform.org, a web platform that has streamlined access to asset-building products and services for over 6,500 practitioners representing 4,000-plus organizations. Other investments included two grants to Seattle’s Housing Services Department and Louisville Metro Community Services and Revitalization to support the integration of asset building efforts into large-scale human services systems.
In 2012, Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project and Living Cities announced a $16.2 million effort to help low-income citizens reduce debt and build assets. The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) at Living Cities continues to support municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. The CFE Fund also supports the Cities for Financial Empowerment Coalition, a coalition of cities that is implementing broad and innovative empowerment strategies through their mayoral administrations.