Bloomberg Philanthropies, in Partnership with National League of Cities, Results for America, and US Conference of Mayors, Announces First Webinar and Launches Interactive Tools to Help Cities Navigate Funding Opportunities
The Ballmer Group Announces a $5 Million Gift to Support the Initiative
New York, NY — Bloomberg Philanthropies yesterday released the first wave of programming from the Local Infrastructure Hub: Support for U.S. Cities and Towns to Put Federal Funding to Work for Residents, a national program to ensure that all cities and towns can access federal infrastructure funding to drive local recovery, improve communities, and deliver results for residents. The Hub yesterday rolled out an in-depth online resource center, a national grant opportunity finder, and a calendar of virtual convenings with experts to help guide cities through accessing funding from the $1 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
Michael R. Bloomberg was joined yesterday by Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors; Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator; Eric Adams, Mayor of New York City; Janette Sadik-Khan Principal of Transportation, Bloomberg Associates and former New York City Department of Transportation Commissioner; and Andrew Ginther, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio, to kick off the inaugural virtual convening for the nearly 600 attendees, representing more than 370 cities and including 182 mayors. The convening covered a range of topics including how mayors can overcome leadership challenges to take advantage of this unique opportunity; how the Local Infrastructure Hub can support cities to advance racial wealth equity and climate goals; and strategies to develop strong applications for the Safe Streets and Roads for All program.
During the convening, Bloomberg urged mayors to step up and take advantage of this “really critical moment for American cities and towns.” He continued, “After many years of inaction, Congress finally stepped up and passed a large infrastructure bill. Now, it’s up to mayors to responsibly use it and deliver projects on time and on budget. And more importantly, to dream big and make sure we are building more sustainable, healthy, and vibrant communities – with more options for walking, biking, taking mass transit, and charging electric cars.”
Tom Cochran commented on the remarkable moment and the opportunity for cities of all sizes, saying, “at the end of last year, President Biden and Congressional leaders came together and passed a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—something we thought might never happen—and cities today now have a real law with real money–$1.2 trillion. Through his leadership and vision, Mike Bloomberg, along with Bloomberg Philanthropies have created the Local Infrastructure HUB to help cities access these funds. And by assembling a team of funders including Ballmer, Emerson, Ford and Kresge, we now have the resources needed to help cities of all sizes benefit from the Infrastructure Law.”
Mitch Landrieu affirmed the Biden Administration’s commitment to working with mayors, saying, “the White House [is] trying to help them do what mayors do best which is solve problems.” Coordinator Landrieu also laid out the Administration’s vision for the infrastructure grants, saying that these investments are meant to “build a better America, make sure that nobody’s left behind, so that we include everybody– with equity being at the front of what we do.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams commented on the importance of the Local Infrastructure Hub, saying that without “the technical know-how to draw down on those dollars to put a shovel in the ground and get these projects, moving forward,” cities would miss out on the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to improve local communities. Finally, he emphasized the importance of putting equity front and center, saying, “infrastructure is more than just repairing our roads and bridges — it’s about addressing America’s built environment with equity in mind.”
Janette Sadik-Khan focused in on the specific opportunities to make streets safer in cities and provided specific guidance on how to develop strong grant applications for the Safe Streets and Road for All Program. She said, “The bill is massive with dozens of new grant opportunities that continue to come online. But at the top of that list is safe streets for all, one of the largest pots of money to date and it’s an unprecedented funding source that goes directly to cities, instead of states. The program gives you the power and resources to design safer streets and now is the time to act to make that happen.”
Mayor Andrew Ginther, of Columbus Ohio, said, “after working decades for the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure law mayors and our partners are ready to implement. The Local Infrastructure Hub will provide a truly unique opportunity for mayors across the country to get the understanding and support, we need to fully and strategically take advantage of the infrastructure law.”
The Local Infrastructure Hub website also launched several tools to help cities access the billions of dollars of federal funding now available to them. This includes the Opportunity Finder, a federal grant navigation tool powered by eCivis that will allow cities to easily search for infrastructure grant opportunities that align with their city’s priorities. Cities will also be able to apply for technical assistance through the site beginning August 12.
A Content Calendar for future convenings is also now live on the Hub. Over the coming months a variety of virtual convenings will be hosted for mayors and city leaders that include:
- Big Grant Opportunity Sessions: convenings that will feature expert speakers to give mayors an overview of the most important infrastructure funding opportunity to focus on that month.
- Delivering Results Workshops that will focus on how mayors can deliver real results for residents on racial wealth equity, climate, and other policy areas aligned with community goals. Federal agency officials will highlight how equity impacts will be evaluated in the funding application review.
- Tech and Innovation Center sessions that will help ensure city leaders understand how technology has changed the infrastructure landscape and to be savvy consumers as they aim to incorporate new technologies into their project plans and applications.
The Ballmer Group also announced $5 million of support to the Local Infrastructure Hub, joining Bloomberg Philanthropies, Emerson Collective, Ford Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation in this significant philanthropic mobilization around congressional legislation. Together, these philanthropic leaders have contributed $55 million to helping cities capitalize on federal infrastructure funding.
“We are proud to support local communities in this exceptional moment, so that they can access federal funding to create systemic, long-term improvements,” said Terri Ludwig, President of Ballmer Group Philanthropy. “We at Ballmer Group see this as a unique opportunity for philanthropy to partner with government at all levels to reduce inequities and increase economic opportunity for families.”
The Hub is delivered by U.S. Conference of Mayors, National League of Cities, and Results for America. The National League of Cities will offer technical assistance to help small towns and mid-size cities develop strong applications that are grounded in data, feature detailed project plans, and include relevant policy objectives. The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Results for America will lead webinars to help cities identify the grant opportunities that align with community needs, get guidance about application criteria and timeframes, and learn about infrastructure innovations and emerging best practices.
Organizations including the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, National Association of City Transportation Officials, African American Mayors Association, and the National Urban League will partner to contribute additional content, expertise, and support to communities through the effort. These organizations will help cities think ambitiously about how to spend these grants on opportunities to advance innovative solutions to problems that are increasingly urgent in American cities, especially narrowing racial wealth disparities and cutting the pollution that causes climate change.
U.S. cities of all sizes can access the Local Infrastructure Hub here.