Our signature, multi-city initiative is comprised of cross-sector leaders working to ensure system level partnerships, policies, processes, and practice are designed to induce economic security and close racial wealth gaps for low income people and people of color in cities. See more from The Integration Initiative 

Many cities today are program-rich, but focus on piecemeal approaches and workaround solutions.

As one of Living Cities many investments, The Integration Initiative (TII) is a systems-change effort in which a cross section of leaders in select cities intentionally apply collective impact, public sector innovation, capital innovation and real-time sharing of learning. Living Cities believes that the integration and application of these four principles represent a new urban practice that will accelerate the pace of systems change and lead us toward dramatically better results for low-income people, particularly people of color.

TII cities receive grants, flexible debt and commercial debt from Living Cities and its members in order to work across sectors toward a shared results. Cities also participate in knowledge exchanges and technical assistance opportunities including one-on-one meetings, site visits, online collaboration tools and conferences with other sites known as “Learning Communities.”


In January 2010, TII launched to support cross-sector leaders in cities who were implementing “bold, promising approaches that have the potential to transform the lives of low-income people and the communities in which they live.” Taking to heart and putting into practice lessons learned about what it takes to remove barriers and achieve large-scale change, the Living Cities Integration Initiative leaders and cities remain committed to a “clear and unrelenting focus on results.”

Currently, leaders from five cities* have prioritized outcomes and strategies that are in service of creating thriving, inclusive and resilient economies so that people are economically secure and building wealth. Living Cities commitment to the Integration Initiative is evident in its human and capital investments. Living Cities has deployed more than

Cities Involved in TII

TII began in 2010 with five cities: Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Newark and Minneapolis-St. Paul.

In 2014, Living Cities chose five additional sites to join the TII network for a year of planning: Albuquerque, New Orleans, San Antonio, San Francisco and Seattle/King County. All, but San Antonio, stayed through 2015 to begin implementing strategies identified during the planning year.

In 2016, Living Cities’ refined its portfolio to prioritize investment in outcomes that induce jobs, increase income and build wealth, particularly for low income people and people of color in US Cities. As such, Albuquerque, Baltimore, New Orleans, San Francisco and Minneapolis-St. Paul remain in TII because their prioritized outcomes and strategies are also focused on jobs, income and wealth.

Round 1

Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Newark and Minneapolis-St. Paul

Living Cities CEO, Ben Hecht, stands with the Mayors of our Round 1 cities to launch The Integration Initiative in 2010.

Baltimore, MD: The Baltimore Integration Partnership (BIP)’s mission is to increase local and regional economic inclusion and community investment through the alignment and coordination of a coalition of city, state, anchor, foundation, community and advocacy partners. BIP works to connect low-income people to opportunity by connecting them to employment through targeting and leveraging anchor institution hiring, purchasing and reinvestment opportunities. BIP is led by the Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers, Annie E Casey Foundation, Johns Hopkins University, City of Baltimore and other philanthropic, anchor and nonprofit institutions.

Cleveland, OH: The Greater University Circle Community Wealth Building Initiative leveraged the economic power of anchor institutions to create economic opportunity, individual wealth and strong communities in Cleveland. During the course of the our three years of work together, it became apparent that the two organizations were pursuing somewhat different approaches, with Living Cities using a Collective Impact model that includes working toward a central, critical systems change goal, while the Cleveland Foundation has pursued more of a catalytic leader model within its anchor-based strategy, testing new models for local procurement, workforce and community engagement. Although not a formal part of Round 2 in terms of receiving grant support, Cleveland remains part of our broader learning network and continues to both offer and receive insights from Living Cities and the other Round 1 sites.

Detroit, MI: The Detroit Corridor Initiative (DCI) connects low-income people to opportunity through the creation of quality mixed-income districts and job growth for city residents by transforming key corridors in Detroit. DCI will work to increase residential and commercial density in Detroit’s major commercial corridors with quality mixed use amenities, mixed-income residences and increased entrepreneurial access. It is led by Capital Impact Partners, Kresge Foundation, Ford Foundation, Midtown Detroit Inc., Detroit Future City, U3 Ventures and other nonprofit and philanthropic institutions.

Newark, NJ: The Strong Healthy Communities Initiative (SHCI) is a cross‐sector institutional partnership working collectively to improve the health and wellness of Newark’s low‐income children in order to enhance their academic outcomes and their abilities to learn. SHCI uses a cohesive “one‐table” approach to tackle complex social problems that challenge the success of Newark’s public school system. The partners of SHCI aim to rebuild and stabilize Newark’s neighborhoods, align public policy and private investments to sustain innovations and create lasting systemic change to improve student success in all of Newark’s schools. It is led by the Community Foundation of New Jersey, Prudential Foundation, Prudential Social Investment, City of Newark, New Jersey Community Capital and Victoria Foundation.

Minneapolis-St. Paul, MN: Minneapolis/St. Paul is developing a targeted pilot strategy to develop a system for increasing economic opportunity for low-income people of color by coordinating and aligning multi-jurisdictional economic development, workforce development and transit corridor improvement strategies, with a unique focus on the untapped potential for employer leadership.

Round 2

Albuquerque, New Orleans, San Antonio, San Francisco, and Seattle/King County

Illustrated notes from a TII Learning Community

Albuquerque, NM: City Alive is working to accelerate job creation and economic mobility for low-income people by supporting and growing innovation and entrepreneurship in Albuquerque. This “grow our own” innovation strategy will help revitalize downtown, bring research to market and provide new opportunities to foster the city’s entrepreneurial spirit and underutilized assets to create living-wage jobs, economic mobility and shared prosperity. Through connected services, more resources, capital and training opportunities and improved city-wide infrastructure, City Alive is moving toward the economic growth needed to not only sustain in the new economy, but to grow and prosper.

New Orleans,LA: The Network for Economic Opportunity seeks to create new opportunities for low-income populations through a cluster-based economic development strategy, connecting low-income, low-skilled individuals to job opportunities. These jobs will be developed through planned urban core spending, hospital expansions and infrastructure related to relief, recovery and resiliency. It is led by the City of New Orleans in partnership with the New Orleans Business Alliance, Foundation for Louisiana and the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center. Together, these institutions are developing a well-integrated network of public, private, nonprofit and community-based organizations leveraging partners’ core competencies to reorient systems and transform communities.

San Antonio,TX: San Antonio will apply lessons and extract policy recommendations from its Eastside Promise/Choice initiative to similarly-situated central city neighborhoods and to the whole city through SA 2020’s key vision areas around family well-being, education, economic competitiveness, health and fitness and neighborhoods. It is led by San Antonio 2020 and the United Way of San Antonio, with key partners including the City of San Antonio, the San Antonio School District and the San Antonio Housing Authority. After a year of planning, the San Antonio cross-sector table decided the timing was not right to transition into implementation with TII and Living Cities. This work still continues and San Antonio remains in Living Cities’ broader learning network.

San Francisco,CA: San Francisco is connecting low-income people to opportunity through HOPE SF. This initiative aims to repair isolated neighborhoods of concentrated poverty – through mixed-income housing, inclusive community stewardship, and integrated family services – in an effort to dramatically improve the long-term health, wellbeing and economic mobility of former public-housing families and their communities. The Mayor’s Office and San Francisco Foundation co-lead this initiative in partnership with other corporations, foundations, developers, non-profit community-based organizations and public housing residents.

Seattle/King County, WA: Seattle/King County aims to improve the health and wellbeing of low-income people. A cross-sector implementation of King County’s Health and Human Services Transformation Plan will improve community conditions where people live, work, learn and play. It is led by King County Executive’s Office, the Department of Community and Human Services, Public Health-Seattle and King County and The Seattle Foundation, in partnership with community development, housing, health care, public health, human services, other philanthropy and other local government organizations.