Philadelphia Among 27 U.S. Cities Participating in ‘City Accelerator’ Initiative, Receives the 2021 HUD Secretary’s Award for Public-Private Partnerships

City Accelerator Initiative Led by Citi Foundation and National Nonprofit Living Cities

PHILADELPHIA — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Council on Foundations recently recognized the Citi Foundation and Living Cities for the 2021 Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships. The award honored the Citi Foundation and Living Cities for launching the “City Accelerator” initiative, which competitively selects cities to receive flexible financial resources and technical expertise to test specific administrative, financial, political, or cultural innovation efforts that produce stronger outcomes for residents and help cities run more efficiently, effectively, and equitably.

The City of Philadelphia is one of 27 U.S. cities that have been selected to participate in the City Accelerator initiative since it started in 2014. Through its participation in the City Accelerator initiative, Philadelphia has issued an executive order to provide guidance and accountability measures for substantial improvement in departmental management of diverse participation in city contracts, established a Local Business Purchasing Initiative to improve access to opportunities and reinvest locally, streamlined the bidding process, added external support for underutilized businesses, and supported a community of anchor institutions to advise and help cultivate more inclusive procurement outcomes.

“It is a great honor that Philadelphia participated in the City Accelerator cohort, and its focus on the adoption of equitable procurement strategies to promote economic equity aligns perfectly with many efforts being undertaken by our administration,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “As part of our work to improve equitable economic outcomes, we are advancing targeted and intentional strategies aimed at making City procurement processes more equitable, expanding financial access and business supports to increase diverse business inclusion, and ensuring public private partnerships to help deliver on the vision, commitment, and strategies we have laid out. We are grateful for the technical assistance and support provided by the Citi Foundation, Living Cities and its partners.”

The Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships recognizes excellence in partnerships that have both transformed the relationships between the government and philanthropy sectors and led to measurable benefits in housing and community development, including increased economic development, health, safety, and education for low-income families across the country.

“This award is a testament to our collective responsiveness to the needs of cities. As the City Accelerator expanded to 20 more cities in 2016, we learned that cities could not achieve improved economic opportunity for all without applying a racial equity lens to our work,” said CEO and President Ben Hecht.

The City Accelerator has shown that leaders can build on the foundation of what has been developed and continue to establish new approaches to achieve better outcomes in the future. This award is a testament to the cross-sector relationships developed through the City Accelerator between 27 unique U.S. cities, Living Cities, and Citi Foundation. Many of the cities that began their relationships with Living Cities and Citi Foundation through City Accelerator are extending their engagement through participation in the Closing the Gaps Network (CTG). CTG brings together leaders from cities across the country who are committed to playing an important role in building an antiracist society through the transformation of government policies, practices, and operations.

If the racial wealth gap were eliminated, it is estimated that tax revenues could increase by up to $325 billion for state and local governments, and the national GDP could rise by 22 percent. Government contracts have long served as a springboard for business growth for white owned businesses – including some leading U.S. businesses – and over the past fifty years, government procurement has evolved as a critical tool in addressing our nation’s history of economic exclusion by promoting diverse business formation and growth across the United States.