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U.S. Conference of Mayors, Kresge release report on cities using ARPA funds to promote equity

American Cities, Social Investment Practice

In collaboration with The Kresge Foundation, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today released a new report, “Promoting Equity through ARPA Implementation.” The report documents 20 city case studies and details how mayors are using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) to invest in underserved populations and address the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on low and moderate-income people and communities of color. Mayors featured include Boston’s Michelle Wu, Madison, WI’s Satya Rhodes-Conway, Fontana, CA’s Acquanetta Warren, and Kansas City, MO’s Quinton Lucas, among others.

In Boston, for example, the city targeted services and resources to disproportionately impacted communities, implementing a Health Equity Task Force to tackle public health disparities and a Fare Free Bus Pilot to help all residents access public transit. Kansas City used a community engagement process to inform its allocation of ARPA funds, which included establishing a Housing Trust Fund to ensure affordable housing for all families and the Rebuild KC program to enable community members to direct the implementation of neighborhood-based projects. Read about more of these mayor-led efforts in the full report.

“Thanks to ARPA funds, America’s mayors have been able to equitably invest in our communities and address systemic inequities that the pandemic only worsened. In Columbus, we collaborated with community leaders and businesses to help keep residents in their homes, train individuals to re-enter the workforce, and keep our youth safe,” said Andrew J. Ginther, Mayor of Columbus (OH) and Chair of the Council on Metro Economies and the New American City. “We’re grateful to the Kresge Foundation for their partnership and help highlighting the work mayors are doing to make their cities more equitable. Cities have been at the forefront of our nation’s economic recovery, and as we continue to move ahead, we will take lessons learned and share best practices so that all cities can promote equity for years to come.”

“Cities have an unprecedented opportunity to put solutions in place to problems that have compounded over decades and that COVID-19 laid bare,” said report co-author Lourdes Germán, a senior advisor to the Social Investment Practice and American Cities Program at Kresge. “But without centering equity explicitly, cities can easily exacerbate disparities. Partnering with the community, especially deeply rooted nonprofits, is a crucial way cities can position ARPA work for success, and these case studies from equity-minded cities provide blueprints for other municipalities to learn from and emulate.”

“Real change is going to come city by city, community by community,” said Mayor of Montgomery (AL) Steven Reed, who helped present the findings of the report at the USCM Annual Meeting. “The pandemic underscored deep inequity in the American economy, and mayors have not been content to simply return to normal. This report offers a powerful narrative of how mayors are using federal resources to generate opportunities locally. Despite these efforts, we have a long way to go to deliver real equity and inclusion in America, but mayors are committed to this mission now and for the long haul.”

About the United States Conference of Mayors The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter.

About The Kresge Foundation — The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in America’s cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice.

Report for download

The American Rescue Plan Act: Promoting Equity Through ARPA Implementation

Download the full report here