Press Release
October 28, 2010
5 minute read


Investment is part of the Living Cities Integration Initiative to support ‘game changing’ innovations for urban areas
DETROIT, M.I. (October 28, 2010) – Living Cities, a collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions, announced today that Newark is one of five cities chosen as winners in the new Integration Initiative, which supports game-changing innovations that will address intractable problems affecting the lives of low-income people.
In Newark and other urban communities, low-income residents cannot afford to live in a healthful environment, and the costs of unhealthy living further destabilize families and entrench people in poverty. Newark’s Strong Healthy Communities Initiative will address these unequal conditions through integrated investments in housing, public safety, access to healthcare, green space, fresh and healthy foods and employment.  Newark’s initiative will leverage cross-sector collaboration throughout Newark and maximize returns on economic development investment by linking those efforts to education transformation and workforce development. 
Through the Integration Initiative, Newark is eligible for up to $15 million in grants, commercial loans and Program-Related Investments (PRIs) to support its efforts. PRIs are flexible, low-cost loans provided at below-market rates to support charitable activity.
“We are honored to be only of one of five cities across the nation to receive this prestigious award,” said Newark Mayor Cory Booker. “Thanks to the leadership of the Center for Collaborative Change and Prudential, this philanthropic investment will strengthen Newark’s Strong Healthy Communities Initiative which will empower our most vulnerable residents by providing them with the resources they need to overcome significant challenges. Together with our community partners, the neighborhood revitalization we achieve as a result of this initiative will help us continue to build a stronger, safer, and prouder Newark.”
The Integration Initiative will leverage the financial investment, influence and leadership of Living Cities members to create a new framework for solving complex problems. It encourages local leaders to work together to challenge obsolete conventional wisdom, “rewire” the systems that are critical to making our cities places of opportunity for low income people, and drive the private market to work on their behalf.  The Integration Initiative seeks to institutionalize these changes through a focus on changing local, state and federal policy. The support to Newark is part of up to $80 million that will be invested in five metropolitan areas.
As part of its application, Newark’s public, private, philanthropic and non-profit sectors have agreed to work as true partners on the initiative. The Center for Collaborative Change coordinated the application and will lead the initiative with Prudential and the City of Newark. The Center for Collaborative Change is a community-based non-profit that brokers collaborative solutions to make Newark thrive. Partners of the Strong Healthy Communities Initiative include City of Newark’s Department of Economic and Housing Development and Department of Child and Family Well-Being, Brick City Development Corporation, New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, Newark Public Schools, members of the Newark Funders Group (a consortium within the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers), the Healthcare Foundation of New Jersey, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Other partners include the Jewish Renaissance Medical Center, the Greater Newark Conservancy, Newark Now, LISC Greater Newark & Jersey City, New Jersey Community Capital, New York University, the Newark Alliance, B.R.I.C.K (Building Responsible Intelligent and Creative Kids), the Newark Police Department, the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, Lotus in Action, Newark Rx, Newark Health Plus, and a growing list of other supporting partners who share a commitment to the initiative’s vision.
“We are excited about the opportunity to invest in Newark,” said Pablo Farias, Chairman of the Living Cities Board of Directors and Vice-President of Economic Opportunity and Assets at the Ford Foundation. “Throughout America, our cities are facing significant challenges, each of which is too large to be addressed by a single approach. Through this integrative approach, the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors can work together to make our cities places of opportunity for low-income people.”
The Strong Healthy Communities Initiative will transform three Newark neighborhoods centered around Sussex Avenue School, Avon Avenue School, and Thirteenth Avenue School. In each neighborhood, the initiative will drive a comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy focused on alleviating the environmental conditions that create barriers to the educational and economic advancement of residents.
 “This selection represents a continuation of our relationship with Newark,” said Living Cities CEO Ben Hecht. “Since 1991, we have invested $13 million in affordable housing and other community initiatives, which has been leveraged to $115 million. In addition, senior mayoral appointees have taken part in our Project on Municipal Innovation, which is held in partnership with the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government to help support public sector leaders at the municipal level. We look forward to working with this community create enhanced opportunities for low-income residents through the Integration Initiative.”
The five winners announced today were selected after a comprehensive competitive process. Other cities chosen for the Integration Initiative are Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit and the Twin Cities region of Minneapolis/St. Paul. The announcement was made during a launch event at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit.
The following is an overview of the initiatives to be undertaken in the other four cities.
Baltimore – Together with anchor institutions such as Johns Hopkins University, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, city and state government and non-profit partners, the Baltimore Integration Partnership will focus on creating job opportunities and improving neighborhoods in Central and East Baltimore, while preparing residents for opportunities created by the construction of the Red Line, a 14-mile east-west transit line.
Cleveland – The initiative will work with nationally significant institutions including the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University  to implement procurement, hiring, employee incentives and capital investment programs that develop local jobs and businesses that benefit low-income people in the region.
Detroit – By focusing on the Woodward Corridor, home to Detroit’s major universities and hospitals, the initiative will create a model for older industrial cities of concentrating population and activity in sustainable corridors, expanding opportunity for low-income residents, and reusing vacant land.
Twin Cities – The initiative takes advantage of substantial investments in three regional transit lines to create a model of how development of transit can expand opportunity for low-income people.  The initiative brings together leaders from local, regional and state government, along with the private, philanthropic and not-for-profit sectors to develop frameworks to create and preserve transit-accessible affordable housing and mixed-use, mixed-income developments; to help small, often minority- or immigrant-owned businesses weather transit corridor construction; and to forge planning and investment strategies that catalyze neighborhood-led development, link residents with job opportunities, and establish a more appealing private investment environment in transit corridors.
About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a unique philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. Over the past 19 years, Living Cities has invested more than $1 billion in American cities-leveraged into $16 billion and making a demonstrable difference in neighborhoods throughout the nation. Our members are not simply funders. They participate at the senior management level on the Living Cities Board of Directors and contribute the time of 80+ expert staff toward crafting and implementing an agenda that is squarely focused on improving the lives of low-income people and the urban areas in which they live.

Living Cities Members: AARP Foundation, AXA Equitable, Bank of America, The Annie E. Casey Foundation, Citi Foundation, J.P. Morgan Chase & Company, Deutsche Bank, Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The McKnight Foundation, MetLife, Inc., Morgan Stanley, Prudential Financial, The Rockefeller Foundation, Surdna Foundation Affiliate Members: The Cleveland Foundation, The Skillman Foundation
A PDF of the press release can be found on our website