Boston Fed names grant winners in effort to revitalize state’s mid-sized cities

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on Wednesday namedc the winners of $1.8 million competitive grants aimed at revitalizing mid-sized cities by fostering long-term collaboration between local government, business, and nonprofits.

The initiative, the first of its kind for the Boston Fed, seeks to build the civic leadership and institutions that will lead to long-term improvements in the state’s aging industrial cities, many struggling with high unemployment, low-student achievement, and entrenched poverty. If successful, Boston Fed officials hope to extend the program throughout New England and provide a community development model for the 11 other Federal Reserve banks across the country.

The winners of the three-year grants are:

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· Lawrence, which will receive $700,000 to change the way it’s school system interacts with the community by focusing on the correlation between student success rates and the employment and economic challenges of their families.

· Fitchburg, which will receive $400,000 for its eCarenomics Initiative, an effort that will used city data on housing units and crime data to help make the North of Main neighborhood a place where residents choose to live, work, and invest.

· Holyoke, which will receive $250,000 to help build a link between the city’s Latino population and its innovation economy through adult education and supportive services. The proposal includes a focus on social ventures and small business development.

· Chelsea, which will receive $225,000 for its Shurtleff-Bellingham Initiative, designed to engage public, private, and nonprofit sectors in an effort to reduce poverty and transient rates by 30 percent in this struggling neighborhood.

· Somerville:, which will receive $100,000 seed to reduce unemployment among low-income youth by creating new, targeted workforce development systems infused with mobile technology and social media.

· Salem, which will receive $100,000 to bring one low-income neighborhood’s economic indicators in line with rest of the city by focusing on four areas: economic development, small business development, workforce development, and leadership development.