The Aspen Institute has announced a national initiative to scale strategies for cross-sector collaboratives working to tackle social and economic challenges at the community level.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates and Rockefeller foundations, and with additional support from the Knight and Annie E. Casey foundations, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Nancy and Miles Rubin, the Forum for Community Solutions will highlight communities in which engaged citizens, practitioners, and leaders are making significant progress in addressing local problems and sharing knowledge, tools, and resources.
Partners in the initiative also will create an Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund to bolster collaborative efforts that address the needs of disconnected youth, increase opportunities and improve outcomes for them, and generate knowledge for the broader field. The fund will provide grants of up to $500,000 to ten or more collaboratives, which will be required to raise matching funds from their respective communities. In addition, forum partners will invite mayors, community leaders, educators, and business and philanthropic leaders from around the country to explore and share successful strategies.
"The time is now to bring together leaders and advocates across party lines and all sectors — business, education, nonprofit, philanthropy, and government — to move the needle on the challenges facing our communities," said Melody C. Barnes, Forum for Community Solutions chair and former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council. "Cities and towns around the country are deploying this collaborative strategy successfully, and we're going to ensure others can do the same."