HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 11-171
Brian Sullivan
(202) 402-7527
For Release
August 22, 2011

$2.5 million available to help place committed 'social innovators' into struggling cities

WASHINGTON - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development today published a notice seeking a qualified partner to help launch, and then manage, a pilot fellowship program to support the Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative. Initially funded through a $2.5 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation, HUD's partner will select, train, and place public service-minded 'social innovators' to serve multi-year terms in local government positions to help stimulate economic development and employment.

HUD's Request for Qualifications broadly considers a qualified partner to be an educational institution, private and for-profit entity, or private or public nonprofit organization. A partnership can be comprised of two or more of these entities. Read the full text of HUD's notice at

"Today, we take an important first step in the development of a fellowship program that will help local communities reignite their economies," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "Ultimately, highly skilled and motivated fellows will be deployed into six cities where they will roll up their sleeves and work shoulder-to-shoulder with local leaders in a broader effort to spark economic growth."

"The Rockefeller Foundation looks forward to the lasting impact we know this effort will achieve. HUD's fellowship program will bring the innovators and innovations we need in public service. We think the Strong Cities, Sustainable Communities initiative will help build long-term economic resilience to the kinds of daunting challenges communities have faced in the last few years," said Peter Madonia, Chief Operating Officer of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) is a new and customized pilot initiative to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities, while ensuring taxpayer dollars are used wisely and efficiently. To accomplish this, federal agencies will provide experienced staff to work directly with six cities: Chester, Pennsylvania; Cleveland; Detroit; Fresno, California; Memphis, Tennessee; and New Orleans. HUD hopes that approximately 30 competitively selected fellows will work with local governments, the private sector, and other institutions to leverage federal dollars and support the work being done at the local level to encourage economic growth community development.

Additionally, as part of the SC2 initiative and under the U.S. Department of Commerce, communities nationwide will be eligible to compete for a comprehensive economic planning assistance through a grant competition designed to spark local innovation. By integrating government investments and partnering with local communities, SC2 channels the resources of the federal government to help empower cities as they develop and implement their vision for economic growth.

As part of its ongoing effort to cultivate philanthropic involvement in this initiative, HUD will seek further support from other foundations to amplify the impact of this fellowship pilot program in the six SC2 cities.

The Fellowship Placement Pilot Program is modeled after a successful program from the University of Pennsylvania's Center for Urban Redevelopment Excellence (CUREx), which placed young professionals in redevelopment agencies across the nation for two-year stints to support the long-term objectives of their host organizations. Fellows were trained and later integrated into their host organizations where they managed and completed large-scale redevelopment projects. The success of the program led to the development of the Rockefeller Foundation Redevelopment Fellowship, a similar engagement that focused its efforts on improving the conditions for the city of New Orleans.


HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and You can also follow HUD on twitter @HUDgov or on facebook at


Content Archived: July 24, 2017