First of Its Kind Program Helps Cities Navigate Federal Recovery Funding Maze with Guidance from a Team of Experts
New York, NY and Washington, DC: Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) today announced a new partnership to support mayors across the country identify, obtain and retain billions in federal recovery dollars. Cities are struggling to navigate rules associated with multiple federal funding streams, including the American Rescue Plan, and need support to properly maximize and hold on to response and recovery funds for their cities.
The new COVID Federal Assistance e311 program provides U.S. cities a free searchable website to find answers on the rules and regulations governing the use of federal funds. The program leverages philanthropy to provide access to a team of experts from some of the leading emergency management firms in the country to answer questions from cities to help expedite the flow of resources to them.
“Mayors have been on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic since day one, and now they’re working to lead the economic recovery, too,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, Bloomberg LP and the 108th Mayor of New York City. “But to access the federal funding that is available to them, they’ll need to navigate a complicated maze of regulations and paperwork. To help mayors stay focused on the crisis at hand, our team will support city halls across the country as they go through the process of applying for and securing federal funds. And by helping mayors unlock these critical resources, we can help accelerate our national recovery.”
“Mayors want to invest these much-needed federal dollars in rebuilding their communities and creating an equitable economic recovery,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “This e311 service will help mayors follow the rules and make sure they keep every federal dollar they receive. We’re grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for giving mayors this powerful resource to guide their spending of federal funds.”
“The e311 program has been a valued resource for the City of Lincoln – helping us navigate the complicated rules governing procurement and workforce development projects,” said Gaylor Baird, Mayor of Lincoln, Nebraska. “Our service to small businesses and workers has moved forward more quickly and effectively due to the expertise of the e311 project team.”
Experts have already provided guidance on a range of topics from how federal funds can be used to support vaccination efforts, economic assistance to underinvested households, and expansion of broadband availability, to the safeguards cities should implement to prevent fraud, waste and abuse of federal funds. The program is also hosting workshops on challenging topics such as calculating revenue loss and complying with complex federal reporting requirements.
When one city asks a question, all other cities can benefit from the response to that question – making the process more cost and time efficient. Cities are under enormous pressure to allocate federal funds quickly and to alleviate suffering in their communities. By sharing actionable guidance one city receives with all cities, this program is helping all cities recover more quickly.
The program was created leveraging the expertise of Bloomberg Associates, the pro bono philanthropic consulting arm of Bloomberg Philanthropies, who helped establish the e311 program and brought in leading emergency management firms to support cities’ efforts to speed up their recoveries.
As part of its COVID-19 Local Response Initiative, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the USCM have hosted over a dozen webinars attended by more than 2,400 municipal officials to discuss how to access, spend, and retain federal funding for COVID response and recovery as part of their City Fiscal Tracking and Federal Reimbursement Initiative.