Seven Cities Compete for $3 Million to Drive Innovation and Create Jobs

May 19th is going to be a very big day for three of the seven cities competing for urban renewal dollars from Living Cities and the Citi Foundation. Three cities will find out on May 19th that they are the winners, cashing in on a $3 million jackpot to help drive innovation and workforce development in their hometowns.

Seven U.S. cities have made it to the final round of the Living Cities City AcceleratorAlbuquerque, Atlanta, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New Orleans and Seattlefrom which three cities will be chosen for the investment of $3 million dollars from Living Cities and the Citi Foundation to adopt innovative city plans to support low-income populations.

We discussed in January the three winning cities for the last round of the City AcceleratorPhiladelphia, Nashville, and Louisvillewith proposals for those cities being primarily focused on addressing poverty. The new competitors are displaying videos of their proposals which include Minneapolis's plan to work on racial disparities through community engagement and art, Albuquerque's proposals to build a stronger business climate for local immigrant entrepreneurs, and Baltimore's strategy for helping individuals leaving prison with the goal of reducing violent crime. 

Living Cities is a powerful collaborative working to drive economic development and improve city governments that has been around since 1991. With 22 major foundation backers like Gates, Rockefeller and Ford, and big banks like Bank of America, Citi, and JP Morgan Chase, Living Cities strives to help city governments become more innovative agents of change, a critical piece of the puzzle for reducing poverty and driving economic growth. As we noted in January, 

Creative programs are happening in many cities, but often in isolation. That's where the City Accelerator, an initiative of Living Cities and the Citi Foundation, comes in. The idea is to tap into cool things happening in government and "speed the spread of these kinds of innovation through in-depth engagement within and across cities."

Check out the application videos from Albuquerque, Atlanta, BaltimoreLos AngelesMinneapolisNew Orleans and Seattle for a sense of what different cities are grappling with, and how they plan to bring in the Accelerator to promote change. We'll find out on May 19th which three cities will take home the prize money.