Major New Philanthropic Effort Launched to Help U.S. Cities and Towns Access Federal Infrastructure Funding
Bloomberg Philanthropies Unveils the Local Infrastructure Hub: Support for U.S. Cities and Towns to Put Federal Funding to Work for Residents
New Hub Delivered by U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and Results for America with Support from Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation and the Kresge Foundation
Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced the Local Infrastructure Hub: Support for U.S. Cities and Towns to Put Federal Funding to Work for Residents, a national program to ensure that all cities and towns can access federal infrastructure funding to drive local recovery, improve communities, and deliver results for residents. With a $50 million initial investment, the Hub will bring together nonprofits, city networks, academics, and policy experts to provide direct support to communities as they develop applications, including: one-on-one coaching, webinars, on-demand answers to pressing questions, data analysis, guidance from issue experts on a range of infrastructure-related topics, and easily accessible information on the rules and timeframes for specific funding opportunities.
Six months after President Biden signed the more than $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, local governments are eligible for billions of dollars in funding to support projects that range from transforming ports and parks to rural broadband and help tackle challenges like climate change and racial wealth inequity. But with nearly 400 separate grant that will open applications over the next 24 months, many communities will struggle to identify and apply for all the funding available to them. The Local Infrastructure Hub brings together leading experts in policy and innovation in a program that includes information, resources, and technical assistance to help cities access this once-in-a-lifetime funding opportunity.
“For smaller cities and towns, submitting strong applications for federal infrastructure money is easier said than done, so foundations and city networks are stepping up to help,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th Mayor of New York City. “The Local Infrastructure Hub is a first-of-its-kind resource for local leaders, and its experts will help small towns and cities compete for and win the funds they need to build stronger, more sustainable, and more equitable communities.”
Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation and The Kresge Foundation, the first-of-its-kind Local Infrastructure Hub aims to connect city leaders to experts to help bring clarity and direction to the complicated application process by addressing two primary barriers to accessing federal funding. First, the hub will help local leaders navigate and understand the large quantities of information from the federal government on the nearly 400 funding opportunities available. And second, it will help cities and towns develop competitive funding applications that are most likely to be awarded federal grants. There will be a special focus on helping traditionally underserved cities and towns prepare competitive proposals as they often lack easy access to national networks, expertise, and other supports that can improve their chances of drawing down federal resources.
“Our nation has an extraordinary opportunity to rebuild and reinvest in cities and towns across the country thanks to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law,” said Laurene Powell Jobs, Founder and President of Emerson Collective. “In keeping with our belief that we are all in this together, workers, families, and communities will be able to access this transformative investment through the Local Infrastructure Hub.”
“Digital access is key to achieving full social, cultural, political, and economic participation, and to building a more just and equitable society, from the local to the national level,” said Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation. “We are proud to support the Local Infrastructure Hub, which represents the potential of a major leap in achieving the goal of broadband access for all.”
“The Local Infrastructure Hub will become a linchpin in helping local communities across America realize the full transformative potential of the federal grant programs,” said Rip Rapson, President and CEO of The Kresge Foundation. “It will provide the tools through which local leaders can interrupt the inertias and inequities of traditional patterns of investment and explore more innovative and equitable ways to flow infrastructure dollars into next-generation solutions to community challenges.”
The Hub will be delivered by U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and Results for America, a national organization focused on helping government decision makers use data and evidence to drive results. The National League of Cities will offer technical assistance to help small towns and mid-size cities develop strong applications that are grounded in data, feature detailed project plans, and include relevant policy objectives. The expanded effort builds upon technical assistance the National League of Cities is providing in select states with the support of The Joyce Foundation and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
“We worked incredibly hard to get the bipartisan infrastructure law passed, and now we want to do everything we can to help cities, towns, and villages across the country take advantage of the funds,” said Clarence E. Anthony, CEO and Executive Director, National League of Cities. “Local leaders know the infrastructure needs of their communities better than anyone, and the Local Infrastructure Hub is going to be critical to ensuring these needs get met. This effort is going to directly benefit the lives of millions of people.”
The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Results for America will launch a series of webinars this summer to help cities identify the grant opportunities that align with community needs, get guidance about application criteria and timeframes, and learn about infrastructure innovations and emerging best practices. The hub will also help cities think ambitiously about how to spend these grants on opportunities to advance innovative solutions to problems that are increasingly urgent in American cities, especially narrowing racial wealth disparities and cutting the pollution that causes climate change.
Organizations like the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, National Association of City Transportation Officials, African American Mayors Association and the National Urban League will partner to contribute content, expertise, and support to communities through the effort.
“Cities are on the frontlines of some of the most pressing challenges facing families across the country—challenges that the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law will allow mayors to better address by modernizing our roads and bridges, improving our energy and water infrastructure, developing clean energy technology and providing Americans with a broadband connection,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of The United States Conference of Mayors. “The Local Infrastructure Hub will help mayors successfully access and leverage these critical resources. We are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for providing mayors with this powerful tool as they work to strengthen their communities and make our economy more resilient and just.”
“There is a clear need to help lower capacity cities navigate this historic funding and be in the strongest position to deliver for their communities,” said Michele Jolin, CEO and Co-Founder of Results for America. “We want to support all cities — big and small — in using data and evidence to guide their funding decisions to produce better infrastructure and more equitable outcomes for all Americans.”
U.S. cities of all sizes can access the Local Infrastructure Hub here.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies:
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in 941 cities and 173 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2021, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $1.66 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitter.
Courtney Greenwald, Courtney@bloomberg.org