City of South Bend Chosen by Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to Engage Community Stakeholders to Create Public Strategies that Prioritize Financial Mobility of Black Residents
May 12, 2022– Today the City of South Bend and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund) announced their selection to participate in the CityStart initiative with a focus on racial wealth equity. The CityStart initiative helps local leaders develop and implement proven strategies to help local families and communities become more financially stable. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative, whose mission is to accelerate the pace of Black wealth accumulation in the U.S., will advise the CFE Fund on the design and execution of the latest iteration of the CityStart program with a specific lens on racial wealth equity.
In this new equity-focused iteration of the seven-year-old CityStart, the CFE Fund will partner with three Mayors and their teams to help them address the financial empowerment needs of residents and the opportunities to meet those needs, prioritizing the financial stability needs of Black residents. South Bend will receive an intensive technical assistance engagement partnership, along with a $75,000 planning grant drawn from a previous $19 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
“The CityStart initiative will bolster our efforts toward financial empowerment and racial wealth equity through the creation of a comprehensive blueprint to guide our equity initiatives, said Mayor James Mueller. “I look forward to building on the work that our Diversity and Inclusion and Engagement and Economic Empowerment teams have done to help residents overcome financing barriers, open businesses, build vibrant neighborhoods, and engage our City team.”
The Mueller administration is committed to tackling racial disparities through equity initiatives that address and acknowledge systemic issues and their effects on wealth accumulation, home ownership, and other socioeconomic outcomes. The Engagement and Economic Empowerment team under the Department of Community Investment, as well as the Office of Diversity and Inclusion under the Mayor’s Office, were both created to make progress toward justice and opportunity for all.
“Across the nation, more and more local leaders are turning to innovative financial empowerment strategies to improve their residents’ financial stability. This new equity-focused iteration of CityStart gives local governments an opportunity to engage stakeholders to advise on blueprints to leverage policies, programs, and funding streams to transform residents’ financial lives,” said Jonathan Mintz, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund. “We congratulate South Bend Mayor James Mueller and look forward to working with him to harness the opportunities of financial empowerment work to benefit racial equity and wealth priorities in South Bend, and we thank Bloomberg Philanthropies for their longstanding partnership and investment in municipal financial empowerment.”
“The CFE Fund’s CityStart focus on helping define wealth creation and financial mobility strategies is essential for the stability of neighborhoods across the country,” said Garnesha Ezediaro, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Greenwood Initiative. “This partnership aligns with the mission of the Greenwood Initiative – to support Black families in earning more and passing wealth down to the next generation. We are excited to see these communities create a blueprint for cities prioritizing racial wealth equity in the future.”
South Bend will craft its municipal financial empowerment blueprint identifying actionable implementation steps based on the financial needs of residents, especially Black residents; key Administration priorities; and partnership opportunities. Development of the blueprint will be informed by a series of meetings with key stakeholder groups, with a specific focus centering the needs of Black residents and identifying opportunities to address the racial wealth and assets gap, facilitate intergenerational wealth transfer, and build resident, family, and community financial stability.
The City may use the renovated Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center as an anchor for implementing the findings of this CityStart and CFE Fund grant.
In addition to South Bend, other selected partners chosen through a competitive process include Cincinnati, OH and Mobile, AL.
About the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund (CFE Fund)
The CFE Fund supports municipal efforts to improve the financial stability of households by leveraging opportunities unique to local government. By translating cutting edge experience with large scale programs, research, and policy in cities of all sizes, the CFE Fund assists mayors and other local leaders in over 100 cities and counties to identify, develop, fund, implement, and research pilots and programs that help families build assets and make the most of their financial resources – including 29 local governments that have already completed the CityStart engagement. The CFE Fund has disbursed over $59 million in grant support to municipal partners. For more information, please visit www.cfefund.org or follow us on Twitter at @CFEFund.
About the City of South Bend
South Bend is a growing rust belt city in Northern Indiana with a population over 103,000 and seven area colleges and universities. Mayor James Mueller serves as the city’s 33rd chief executive and is responsible for a workforce of over 1,000 employees and an annual budget over $380 million. Mueller’s priorities include strengthening education from cradle to career to set up every child for success, reforming public safety systems to create a safe community for everyone, promoting shared growth and an economy that works for everyone, and rebuilding neighborhoods block by block. For more information, please visit www.southbendin.gov.