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August 24, 2015
In this Issue:
Convergence Partnership Welcomes the MacArthur Foundation to the National Steering Committee
In July 2015, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation officially joined the Convergence Partnership. With grants and program-related investments totaling $385 million, the MacArthur Foundation has a complementary mission: to support effective institutions committed to building a more just and peaceful world.
As one of the nation’s largest independent foundations, MacArthur has pursued a goal of access to stable, decent homes for the greatest number of low- and moderate-income American families through more balanced national, state, and local housing policy. The foundation also supports a research initiative called How Housing Matters to Families and Communities, which explores the notion that affordable housing may be an essential “platform” that promotes positive outcomes in education, employment, and physical and mental health, among other areas.
The MacArthur Foundation brings a wealth of knowledge and learning related to affordable housing to the Partnership’s resilient equitable development portfolio, and will provide an opportunity for the foundation to have a greater impact on policy and environmental change at the federal, state, and local level through the Partnership’s comprehensive healthy people, healthy places agenda. Learn more about the foundation and their housing work.
In the News
Senate Passes Three-Month Highway Spending Bill
Last month, the Senate cleared a three-month extension of the highway spending bill that allows Congress to avoid a cutoff of transportation funds and gives lawmakers time to develop a multiyear package they haven’t been able to pass in years. The extension is the 34th short-term extension that Congress has passed since 2009.
At the same time, the Senate passed its long-term highway bill that would authorize the Highway Trust Fund for six years but only provides funding for the first three years. The bill, called the DRIVE Act, takes a few positive steps toward improving the nation’s transportation infrastructure, such as including a national passenger rail policy in the surface transportation program for the first time ever, as well as preserving funding for the Transportation Alternatives Program that includes a Safe Streets Act provision that ensures a more comprehensive approach to road design and safety. However, the bill fails to bring more dollars, control, and accountability closer to the local level, reducing the overall amount of funding for local communities by nearly $200 million in the first year compared to the 2012 (MAP-21) reauthorization.
When lawmakers return from recess, the question will be whether the two chambers, which have taken sharply different approaches, can work out a multiyear package by the end of October, when the three-month patch would expire. Despite the challenges ahead, leaders in both chambers are projecting optimism that a conference committee can work out differences in the competing highway plans.
For more information and the latest news, go to Transportation Equity Caucus.
Healthy Futures Fund Announces a $34 million Investment in Development Project
Last month, the Healthy Futures Fund — supported by Local Initiatives Support Corporation, Morgan Stanley, and The Kresge Foundation — announced a $34 million investment in The Conway Center in Washington, DC. This $90 million project in the Benning Heights neighborhood will include 202 apartments for low-income residents, a health center, a job-training center, office space, and shops. This is the largest investment the fund has made to date and is the first time the fund has used both its housing and health capital in the same project.
The Healthy Futures Fund is a first-of-its kind $100 million investment fund that is connecting health care and affordable housing for low-income residents. The fund uses a unique financing structure that leverages new markets tax credits, low income housing tax credits, and grants and loans to help new developments get off the ground and to connect existing housing and health services to each other.
Michigan Good Food Fund Increases Access to Healthy Food and Drives Economic Development
The Michigan Good Food Fund is a public-private loan and grant fund created to increase access to healthy food and drive economic development and job creation to grow Michigan’s economy. The fund provides flexible capital and grants to food enterprises often overlooked by traditional banking institutions. The Fund is supported with a federal grant from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI) and Michigan partners — Fair Food Network, W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Michigan Food Policy Council, Michigan State University’s Center for Regional Food Systems, AFPD, Growing Hope, and MOSES. Capital Impact, a community development financial institution, manages the Fund.
Unlike other healthy food financing efforts that are primarily focused on retail, the Michigan Good Food Fund supports projects across the food value chain including healthy food production, distribution, processing, and retail that benefits underserved communities across the state. By investing in projects like these, the Michigan Good Food Fund will help ensure equitable access to food, jobs, and flexible investment capital; encourage sustainable environmental practices; and increase the sourcing supply of locally grown and regionally produced foods in underserved areas of Michigan.
Local Foods, Local Places Offering Direct Technical Assistance Support
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Appalachian Regional Commission, the Delta Regional Authority, and the White House Rural Council, has invited communities to apply for technical assistance through a new round of Local Foods, Local Places. This grant program helps communities create walkable, healthy, economically vibrant neighborhoods through the development of local food systems. Additionally, the grant program supports the White House Rural Council to improve quality of life for rural communities.
Grantees will receive direct technical support, including assistance developing strategic action plans and coordinating community workshops that bring stakeholders together to develop shared goals. The partners are investing $800,000 in this round of Local Foods, Local Places. Applications are due September 15, 2015. Learn more about this opportunity and apply.
The Rockefeller Foundation Announces the Third Annual “100 Resilient Cities Challenge”
In late July, the Rockefeller Foundation launched its third partner city challenge and made an additional commitment of $64 million to the 100 Resilient Cities (100RC) Network.
This cohort of participating cities will be selected based on their commitment to building resilience into urbanization, globalization, and climate change efforts and their commitment to the 100RC network. Each city in the 100RC Network receives financial and technical guidance for establishing a chief resilience officer, support in developing a robust resilience strategy, membership in a global network, and much more. To date, 67 cities have been selected through two challenge rounds. Applications for the third and final round will be accepted through November 24, 2015. Learn more about the 100RC Network and apply.