From New Orleans to Ferguson to Flint, our nation continues to grapple with finding common ground and creating communities that live up to the ideal of justice for all. Many of the decisions we have made about housing, education, the environment and health have created places and systems that have failed low income residents and people of color. This failure affects us all and underscores the urgency of furthering national solutions that address the rising tide of inequality in our country.
As we search for a way forward, we see great opportunity to come together and work in new ways to disrupt business as usual in our cities and regions. With this in mind, we’re proud to announce the Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities Challenge – or SPARCC. SPARCC comes at a critical moment as cities and regions seek to become places of opportunity for all.
SPARCC is a $90 million national initiative built on the belief that we all do better when everyone thrives. By working alongside communities, SPARCC aims to ensure that new investments in transit, infrastructure, climate resilience and health will benefit people of all races and incomes. SPARCC’s goal is to influence the institutions, practices, policies and capital that shape our cities and regions to create more just economic, health and environmental outcomes.
To date, SPARCC has invited multi-disciplinary teams from 10 cities and regions to apply to the challenge: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Memphis, New Orleans, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Seattle/King County. These teams will propose locally driven strategies to make their communities more equitable. Their proposals might include solutions for influencing regional transit expansions, addressing large-scale climate mitigation, or transforming statewide health systems.
Ultimately, six cities and regions will be selected to accelerate their efforts over the next three years, starting in early 2017. This will include access to $20 million in grant, programmatic and technical assistance support and access to a pool of $70 million in financing capital.
SPARCC enables LIIF to more strongly and directly focus on racial equity and social justice within our mission of poverty alleviation, as well as address our concerns about health and climate change.
SPARCC enables LIIF to more strongly and directly focus on racial equity and social justice within our mission of poverty alleviation, as well as address our concerns about health and climate change. This means providing resources, tools and support to help communities meet their goals. Ultimately, SPARCC’s three lenses – racial equity, health and climate – will focus the impact of investment capital to magnify outcomes for people of color and low-income people in a way that benefits us all.
We’re honored to launch SPARCC alongside three innovative and diverse national partners: Enterprise Community Partners, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Natural Resources Defense Council. SPARCC also benefits from the generous support of Ford Foundation, The Kresge Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.