Strong Cities, Strong Communities White House Convening

March 19, 2012

Last week I attended an event at the White House focused on the Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) initiative that the Obama administration launched in July 2011. The program is a customized pilot initiative to strengthen local capacity and spark economic growth in local communities. To accomplish this, federal agencies provide experienced staff to work directly with six cities: Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; and New Orleans, LA. These teams will work with local governments, the private sector, and other institutions to leverage federal dollars and support the work being done at the local level to encourage economic growth community development.

The event last week brought together leaders in federal and local government, philanthropy, and public-private partnerships to highlight how SC2 is working to improve government coordination and create new public and private sector opportunities for investment. It was an opportunity to explore persistent challenges in SC2 cities and how to address them collaboratively.

During the event President Obama signed an Executive Order that will establish the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities. The Council will build on the SC2 pilot initiative launched last summer. The interagency Council will include 19 federal agencies and will:

  • Coordinate the implementation of SC2 and build a foundation for expanding the program to cities across the country
  • Recommend policies to the President for building local expertise in strengthening local economies
  • Changing Federal policies and programs to address issues to strengthen local capacity and spur economic growth

BCLC looks forward to following the progress of the SC2 program and the expansion to communities where our working group members operate.