HUD Archives: News Releases

HUD No. 11-281
George Gonzalez
(703) 638-4624
For Release
December 2, 2011


WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced its selection of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) partnership as the recipient of the $2.5 million award to manage the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) fellowship program for HUD. The partnership is comprised of the German Marshall Fund, Cleveland State University and Virginia Tech. The fellowship program is one of four capacity building strategies that are part of the White House-led, federal interagency SC2 initiative. SC2 is a pilot program focused on retooling and rebuilding the capacity of cities facing long-term economic challenges. Up to 30 fellows will be assigned to the six SC2 cities (Chester, PA; Detroit, MI; New Orleans, LA; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and Cleveland, OH).

"The fellows participating in Strong Cities Strong Communities Initiative will bring with them a unique set of expertise which, combined with real hands-on experience responding to economic issues, will produce innovative result to help build local economies and create jobs," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "The six cities currently participating are critical to America's prosperity and future economic growth, and are currently undergoing economic, demographic and urban planning changes to which the assigned fellows will be able to significantly contribute."

To fund the fellowship program, last year, the Rockefeller Foundation donated $2.5 million to HUD to manage and implement the fellowship program. In August 2011, HUD published a 30-day competition notice, "Request for Qualification (RFQ) for the Fellowship Placement Pilot Program" to identify a qualified third party, or a partnership of third parties to manage and administer the fellowship program. The GMF partnership was the winning proposal and will be responsible for implementing and administering the fellowship program, which includes the following tasks:

  1. Identifying, selecting and recruiting qualified candidates for the fellowship program;
  2. Coordinating with local organizations in each pilot city;
  3. Working with each pilot city to ensure that fellows are well integrated with their pilot city and working on strategic projects;
  4. Developing orientation materials for fellows entering the program;
  5. Developing or applying existing training curriculum that will equip fellows with the fundamental knowledge, tools and skills they would need to be successful in the program; and
  6. Identifying additional training and mentoring opportunities fellows may require as they progress through the program.

"The Strong Cities Strong Communities Initiative represents a new and innovative way for the federal government to work with local governments, the private sector, and institutions of higher learning to support local economic growth and encourage community development," said Melody Barnes, White House Domestic Policy Council Director. "The Strong Cities Strong Communitiesfellowship program will give these cities a class of highly-skilled fellows who are committed to public service, and who will become our next generation of leaders."

"The Rockefeller Foundation is thrilled to support the Strong Cities Strong Communities Initiative, as part of our commitment to help vulnerable populations build resilience," said Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin. "The selected fellows will bring new innovation to cities like New Orleans and Detroit in these rapidly changing times, and lend increased energy to communities that are already working to find ways to be resilient during a difficult economic period."

The fellowship program will be a competitive program that provides funding for early to mid-career professionals to work for 24 months in pilot cities to supplement existing local capacity. HUD envisioned that through a national competitive process, up to 30 fellows who are strongly committed to public service will be selected for the initial fellowship class. Fellows will be deployed to one of the six pilot cities to support local governments in their economic revitalization efforts with the hopes that fellows will remain working in the city after the end of the program. The objectives of fellows assigned to selected pilot cities are as follows:

  1. Take on strategic responsibilities and be immersed in the core operations of the pilot city;
  2. Engage in peer-to-peer learning opportunities and become active leaders in their pilot city; and
  3. Be intensely engaged and committed to the redevelopment of the city so that they remain working in the city after the end of the program.

In addition to building the capacity of local governments, SC2 aims to encourage partnerships among local community organizations, anchor institutions, businesses, foundations and government agencies, to help leverage federal investments. In addition to the fellowship program, there are three other components to SC2: 

  • SC2 Community Solutions Teams: Community Solutions Teams (CST) comprised of federal employees from several different agencies will work directly with the mayors of the six SC2 cities. These teams will assist cities with issues mayors have identified as vital to their economic strategies, including efforts to build on local assets, strengthen regional economies, develop transportation infrastructure, improve job-training programs and support community revitalization.

    In Detroit, CST will be composed of representatives from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Transportation, U.S. Department of Commerce and the Small Business Administration

  • SC2 Economic Planning Challenge: In addition to the six pilot locations, SC2 includes an Economic Planning Challenge designed to help additional cities develop economic blueprints. This national grant competition will enable cities to adopt and implement innovative economic development strategies to support comprehensive city and regional planning efforts. Six cities will be competitively selected to receive a grant of approximately $1 million that they will use to administer an "X-prize style" competition, whereby they will challenge multi-disciplinary teams of experts to develop comprehensive economic and land use proposals for their city. The competition will be administered by EDA.
  • National Resource Network: Pending authorization of funding, the National Resource Network (NRN) will aggregate public and private resources to provide a broader set of cities, towns and regions with access to a one-stop portal of national experts to provide holistic policy and implementation support. Once funds are secured, HUD will host a competition to select an intermediary to manage the network. Cities, towns and regions will apply to get access to NRN, and outside experts will apply to be able to provide consulting services through NRN. A menu of customized and comprehensive technical assistance in a variety of policy areas will be available to communities, and will be delivered through on-site training and staff development. NRN will also foster peer-to-peer learning to strengthen the network of urban practitioners and thinkers.

SC2 pilot cities were selected on the basis of economic need, strong local leadership and collaboration, potential for economic growth, geographic diversity, and the ability to test the SC2 model across a range of environments. Federal assessment teams spent time on the ground working directly with mayors and other local officials to determine needs, opportunities and gather input for the pilot initiative.


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, on facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: July 26, 2017