NSCC, City of Lynn & Partners Awarded $15K Working Cities Grant

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L-r, Joanne Sullivan, NSCC, Kathleen McDonald, LEO, Inc., Mark Reimer, NSCC, Birgitta Damon, LEO, Inc., Georgia Katsoulomitis, MLRI, Patricia A. Gentile, NSCC, Donald Walker, Lynn Community Development, Norman Cole, LHAND, Jeffrey Weeden and Jon Thibault, LHAND.

North Shore Community College, the city of Lynn and a collaboration of 9 community partners have been awarded a $15,000 Working Cities Challenge planning grant from the Boston Federal Reserve.

The Working Cities Challenge is designed to support cross-sector, collaborative leadership and ambitious work to improve the lives of low-income people in smaller cities in Massachusetts. NSCC’s project in Lynn focuses on the extension of an existing formal partnership called CommUniverCity at Lynn, and includes education, financial stability and workforce development components.

The CommUniverCity at Lynn is an urban education-workforce development collaboration that will provide effective and affordable educational pathways from preschool to graduate school and into the workforce.

The Working Cities Challenge, launched in 2013 in Massachusetts and now in its second round, builds on Boston Fed research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the country. These $15,000 awards provide resources to cities to further develop their initial application and collaborative during a 6-month planning phase, with the goal of submitting a robust bid in May 2016 for a multiyear $300,000 – $500,000 award. Up to five winning teams will receive an implementation award to strengthen and leverage additional support for their plans to improve the lives of low-income residents.

NSCC President Patricia A. Gentile said, “Building on the hard work of the One Lynn collaboration, this group’s focus is the specific neighborhoods of high poverty in Lynn. The team proposes to raise the level of household mean income to meet the city average through strategies enhancing education levels, language skills, financial literacy, and work/career/entrepreneurial opportunities leading to family self-sufficiency and a higher quality of neighborhood life.”

“We are thrilled to have been awarded this grant and look forward to continuing our work in helping to improve the lives of our residents,” said Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy. “This is one more step in establishing Lynn as a viable place to work, live and raise a family with a sense of financial security.”

Nine other cities, including Brockton, Haverhill, Lowell, New Bedford, Pittsfield, Revere, Salem, Springfield, and Worcester were also selected to receive a design grant award. The awards were officially recognized at an event at the Massachusetts State House with Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren on November 5.

“On behalf of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, it is my pleasure to congratulate Lynn for being chosen by our independent selection committee to receive a Working Cities Challenge design grant,” said Fed President Rosengren. “Thank you for the hard work your team will continue to undertake on behalf of your community’s low-income residents.”

The community development function of the Boston Fed is to promote economic growth in New England’s low-income communities, which is linked to the Federal Reserve System’s overarching goal of achieving maximum employment.

The Lynn Working Cities team is an outgrowth from existing CommUniverCity and One Lynn initiatives. NSCC was the lead applicant under the direction of President Gentile, with co-lead  Judith Flanagan Kennedy, Mayor, City of Lynn, in partnership with: Patricia Meservey, President, Salem State University; Leslie Gould, President/CEO, Lynn Area Chamber of Commerce; Lori Abrams Berry, CEO, Lynn Community Health Inc.; Charles Gaeta, Executive Director, Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development (LHAND); Catherine Latham, Superintendent, Lynn Public Schools; Georgia Katsoulomitis, Executive Director, Massachusetts Law Reform Institute; Mary Sarris, Executive Director, North Shore Workforce Investment Board; Edward Tirrell, Executive Director, Operation Bootstrap; Sarah Link, Vice President of Community Impact, United Way of Mass Bay and Merrimack Valley. The design phase will include additional partners.

For more information on The CommUniverCity at Lynn see http://www.northshore.edu/communivercity/.

For more on the Working Cities Challenge, visit  http://bostonfed.org/workingcities/.

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