Earlier this week the White House opened its doors to community leaders from across the country for a Forum on Urban Innovation. The event brought Obama Administration officials together with an invited group of innovators to share best practices, talk through some of the challenges in the field, and discuss how the federal government can better support community-based efforts. The event also featured panels showcasing several successful local efforts, including the following:
- Neighborhood Centers, Inc., an UNCA member that was awarded a planning grant from the Department of Education for Houston’s Gulfton Promise Neighborhood.
- The City of Hartford, whose mayor presented on Opportunities Hartford, a citywide effort to expand existing educational, job and income opportunities in the city.
- Venture Philanthropy Partners, a DC-based philanthropic investment organization whose YouthCONNECT resource on disconnected youth received a Social Innovation Fund grant.
- IBM, whose Smarter Cities Initiative provides participating municipalities with a team of fellows to help tackle unique urban challenges.
- The City of New York, where the Mayor’s Office has created a digital roadmap to connect jobseekers with employment.
- McCormack Baron Salazar, an urban real estate development firm working as part of a HOPE SF, a Choice Neighborhoods implementation site in San Francisco.
- The City of Pittsburgh, which is celebrating its “Third Renaissance” as it has diversified its economy with burgeoning employment fields and comprehensive community development efforts.
- 100,000 Homes, a national movement of communities working together to find permanent homes for vulnerable and chronically homeless individuals and families.
- The Jacobs Family Foundation, which showcased Market Creek Plaza, its community-owned commercial development in San Diego that utilized a community development IPO.
Participants had the opportunity to engage with other community-based practitioners and share candid feedback with Administration officials on a variety of key issues. Overall, the summit highlighted promising practices and saw a robust discussion of targeted solutions working on the neighborhood level. As attendees were encouraged to spread the word and engage in conversation online, talking points and follow up can be found on Twitter at #WHInnovation.