A national nonprofit named Cincinnati as one of three cities to participate in an initiative with a new focus on racial wealth equity.
The Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (www.cfefund.org) is a 10-year-old nonprofit whose mission is to leverage municipal engagement to improve the financial stability of low and moderate income households by embedding financial empowerment strategies into local government infrastructure.
The fund works with mayoral administrations and those interested in supporting them to implement innovative programs and policies. Launched at the New York Stock Exchange in April 2012, the CFE Fund provides funding and technical assistance to mayors and their teams to develop, launch, replicate and test financial empowerment strategies.
The fund’s CityStart initiative helps local leaders develop and implement proven strategies to help local families and communities become more financially stable. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, whose mission is to accelerate the pace of Black wealth accumulation in the U.S., will advise the CFE Fund on the design and execution of the latest iteration of the CityStart program with a specific lens on racial wealth equity.
Other cities selected were Mobile, Ala., and South Bend, Ind.
Cincinnati is an attractive option for CFE because of the history it is making with its new mayor, Aftab Pureval, Cincinnati’s first Asian American mayor and the son of first-generation Americans. He has made equitable economic growth a top priority of his administration. Cincinnati is also attractive to lead on this issue because it ranks lower than most of its peer regions in income inequality.
“Across the nation, more and more local leaders are turning to innovative financial empowerment strategies to improve their residents’ financial stability,” said Jonathan Mintz, president and chief executive officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “CityStart gives local governments an opportunity to engage stakeholders to advise on blueprints to leverage policies, programs, and funding streams to transform residents’ financial lives. With this new equity-focused iteration of CityStart, and with the generous support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, these mayors and their teams will work to harness the opportunities of financial empowerment work to benefit racial equity and wealth priorities.”
In this new equity-focused iteration of the seven-year old CityStart program, the CFE Fund will help Cincinnati address the financial empowerment needs of residents and the opportunities to meet those needs, prioritizing the financial stability needs of Black residents.
Each of the three cities selected will also receive a $75,000 planning grant, drawn from a previous $19 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
This is the fourth CityStart cohort; the three new local partners join 29 localities that have already completed the CityStart financial empowerment public blueprint process. Past partners have since created blueprints that outline their administration’s public vision for integrating financial empowerment efforts within local government infrastructure – some working to open an Office of Financial Empowerment to serve as a platform for overall efforts, some identifying strategies centered around a specific municipal priority such as affordable housing, and some replicating existing programs such as the Financial Empowerment Center initiative.
The CityStart initiative draws on the CFE Fund’s extensive programmatic work over almost a decade with local government leaders in over 100 cities and counties, connecting critical on-the-ground insights about the impact of financial instability on families, communities, and municipal budgets with tangible, measurable, and sustainable municipal strategies to improve families’ financial lives.
The CFE Fund will assist partners in crafting a municipal financial empowerment blueprint identifying actionable implementation steps based on the financial needs of residents, especially Black residents; key administration priorities; and partnership opportunities.
In each city, blueprint development will be informed by a series of meetings with key stakeholder groups, with a specific focus centering the needs of Black residents and identifying opportunities to address the racial wealth and assets gap; facilitate intergenerational wealth transfer; and build resident, family and community financial stability.
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