|HUD No. 15-020
George I. Gonzalez
February 18, 2015
STRONG CITIES, STRONG COMMUNITIES INITIATIVE SELECTED BY HARVARD UNIVERSITY'S ASH CENTER AS A FINALIST FOR THE INNOVATIONS IN AMERICAN GOVERNMENT AWARD
WASHINGTON - Today, Harvard University's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation announced that the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative (SC2) was selected as a finalist for its Annual Innovations in American Government Award (www.ash.harvard.edu/Home/Programs/Innovations-in-Government). SC2 has also received a "Bright Idea" designation, joining the Ash Center's Government Innovator's Network.
The Innovations in American Government Award Program is the nation's preeminent program devoted to recognizing and promoting excellence and creativity in the public sector. The award highlights exemplary models of government innovation and advances efforts to address the nation's most pressing public concerns. Since its inception in 1985, the Program has received over 27,000 applications and recognized nearly 500 government initiatives.
"We're living in a Century of Cities, a time when people around the world—including here in the United States—are urbanizing at a breathtaking pace," said HUD Secretary Julián Castro. "The SC2 initiative is empowering local leaders with new tools to maximize federal investments, spark economic activity and expand opportunity for their residents. I congratulate the SC2 team, and all of its partners, for being selected as a finalist. I'm confident that this effort will continue to help build cities poised for future success."
The Obama Administration launched the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) Initiative in 2011 as a unique partnership between the federal government and mayors of chronically distressed cities that have faced significant long-term challenges in developing and implementing their economic strategies. SC2 was designed to be a flexible program that strengthens local capacity, coordinates federal investments, and sparks economic revitalization through private and philanthropic partnerships.
The SC2 Initiative was developed through engagement with mayors, Members of Congress, foundations, nonprofits and other community partners who are committed to addressing the challenges facing local governments as they work to create economic opportunity for all residents.
"We are proud that the SC2 Initiative has received this prestigious recognition," said Mark Linton, Executive Director of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities. "At a time when communities must innovate across the private and public sectors to spark economic growth and attract investment, this designation affirms the value that local leaders and residents find when the federal government can collaborate in new ways to support local priorities and leverage expertise and resources."
SC2 has supported 14 cities by embedding Federal inter-agency expert teams to work alongside city leadership, community organizations, local businesses and philanthropic foundations to support the cities' visions for economic growth and development. The primary goal is to help these cities more effectively invest existing resources, provide advice and expertise in support of local priorities, better align federal programs and investments, and facilitate new private and public partnerships and peer learning opportunities wherever possible.
A key component of the SC2 Initiative is the National Resource Network (The Network), which seeks to emulate the SC2 model and implement it in municipalities throughout the nation. The Network is a first of its kind effort to bring together national experts under one organization to work with cities seeking to increase their economic competitiveness and to reverse population decline, job loss and high rates of poverty.
The Network is led by a consortium selected by the federal government because of its members' expertise and experience as national leaders in assisting cities in efforts to overcome challenges related to economic development, community development and fiscal and operational issues. The Network also includes more than a dozen strategic partners with experience and expertise in criminal justice, education, workforce development and other policy areas.
"With the support of the federal government, the Network will be able to expand the SC2 Initiative to dozens of other cities working to overcome economic challenges and increase their economic competitiveness," said David Eichenthal, Executive Director of the National Resource Network. "By bringing together the federal government, the for-profit and non-profit sectors and academic experts, the Network is a truly innovative effort to develop new solutions for cities."
For more information about the Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative, please visit http://www.huduser.org/portal/sc2/home.html
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.
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