17 Fellows Selected for Inaugural Strong Cities Strong Communities Fellowship
Mid-career professionals will provide seven cities with technical assistance and project expertise
WASHINGTON – The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), Cleveland State University (CSU), and the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) launched the Strong Cities Strong Communities (SC2) Fellowship Program with the selection and placement of 17 fellows working to build local capacity in seven SC2 pilot communities: Chester, PA; Cleveland, OH; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; and Youngstown, OH.
The fellows have varied backgrounds, ranging from planning and economic development to workforce development and program management. Over the next two years, they will work on a variety of high priority projects in each of the communities, including small business development, grant writing, vacant property management, and the creation of data-driven economic strategies. A full list of fellows can be found here.
“GMF is pleased to be working with such a talented and committed group of fellows to support innovation in the seven pilot communities,” said GMF President Craig Kennedy. “We are sure that the on-the-ground results will be concrete and positive, and we look forward to sharing the lessons learned from their projects and from the fellowship program more broadly through our practitioner networks in the United States and abroad.”
The fellowship program is one of four components of the multi-agency SC2 initiative created by U.S. President Barack Obama to help economically distressed cities by creating long-lasting partnerships with local governments, philanthropies, academic institutions, business, and non-profits, as well as harnessing the resources of federal and local governments to help communities revitalize their local economies. GMF, in partnership with CSU and Virginia Tech, was selected by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in late 2011 to lead the fellowship program. Initial funding for the fellowship program was provided through a $2.5 million donation from the Rockefeller oundation.
“The SC2 Fellowship Program is about embedding highly skilled mid-career professionals into cities that have asked for the administration’s support in their efforts to reinvent their economies. The fellows posses a unique set of skills and have a deep understand of the economic challenges faced by these cities and will work with city leadership to help plan and implement socioeconomic policies that will make them more competitive and improve the quality of life for residents,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
SC2 is focused on helping cities, towns, and regions strengthen the foundation for economic growth by building more diversified, resilient, and competitive local and regional economies. Moving away from business as usual in Washington, this collaborative capacity-building effort is helping break the federal government out of its traditional silos, allowing it to work more effectively with localities that have faced significant long-term challenges in developing and implementing their economic strategies to become more competitive, sustainable, and inclusive.
Funded by a generous $2.5 million donation from the Rockefeller Foundation, the SC2 fellowship program places highly qualified fellows in the seven SC2 pilot communities for a period of two years with the aim of building local capacity and supporting the development of transformative local plans and projects.
“We’re excited about the new energy and innovation these seventeen fellows will bring to these cities,” said Judith Rodin, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. “The fellows, and the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative, will help build long-term economic resilience to the kinds of daunting challenges communities are facing.”
As of October 2012, GMF and its partners have selected and placed an initial class of 17 highly qualified fellows in the pilot communities to work on a wide range of projects, each of which will have a direct impact on the economic resilience and strength of these communities. In addition, the fellows and other local leaders will receive intensive training and mentoring throughout the fellowship period with the goal of fostering strong local networks of city and civic leaders who have the tools, the knowledge, and the authority to effectively craft long-term solutions to their cities’ economic challenges.
The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) is a non-partisan American public policy and grantmaking institution dedicated to promoting better understanding and cooperation between North America and Europe on transatlantic and global issues.
GMF does this by supporting individuals and institutions working in the transatlantic sphere, by convening leaders and members of the policy and business communities, by contributing research and analysis on transatlantic topics, and by providing exchange opportunities to foster renewed commitment to the transatlantic relationship. In addition, GMF supports a number of initiatives to strengthen democracies.
Founded in 1972 through a gift from Germany as a permanent memorial to Marshall Plan assistance, GMF maintains a strong presence on both sides of the Atlantic. In addition to its headquarters in Washington, DC, GMF has seven offices in Europe: Berlin, Paris, Brussels, Belgrade, Ankara, Bucharest, and Warsaw. GMF also has smaller representations in Bratislava, Turin, and Stockholm.