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HUD Announces Intent to Fund A Cooperative Agreement to Support "Strong Cities, Strong Communities National Resource Network"
Nov 30, 2012

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has announced the availability of funding for the Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) National Resource Network. HUD intends to award approximately $10 million to a single grantee (that may be comprised of a single entity or a consortium) through the form of a cooperative agreement to administer, manage and implement the Network.

The SC2 Network will "offer a centralized portal to connect America's most economically distressed communities to national and local experts with wide-ranging expertise and skills. The focus of the SC2 Network will be to strengthen the foundation for economic growth and resiliency in these communities—namely, local technical capacity, comprehensive planning, and regional collaboration."

Applications from eligible applicants are due by January 28, 2013. Eligible applicants include the following entities: Nonprofit organizations, foundations, anchor institutions, for-profit companies, or a consortium of these entities with demonstrated ability to raise philanthropic support.

Full background and application requirements can be found on grants.gov through HUD selection or at http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do;jsessionid=gJYMQ3fNpsJq1hJnKkyLq4dRc2y3W3BmQQJ5hnKL8JgFyMpXyGJw!1382532130?oppId=208514&mode=VIEW

HUD notes there are four major components to SC2: The Community Solutions Teams (CSTs), Fellowship Program, Economic Visioning Challenge and the SC2 Network. At present, the CSTs and Fellowship Program operate in six pilot locations that were selected to participate in SC2 following a rigorous city assessment: Chester, PA; Detroit, MI; Fresno, CA; Memphis, TN; New Orleans, LA; and the Northeast Ohio region of Cleveland and Youngstown. While the CSTs and Fellows are currently engaged in these six locations, the Economic Visioning Challenge and SC2 Network will focus on additional economically distressed cities. The four components are described below:

  • SC2 Community Solutions Teams (CST). Since summer 2011, CSTs comprised of federal employees from numerous federal agencies have been working directly with cities to support the mayors in the six pilot locations. Embedded in city hall, CSTs assist cities with issues mayors have identified as vital to their economic strategies, including but not limited to efforts to build on local assets, strengthen regional economies, develop transportation infrastructure, improve job-training programs and support comprehensive community revitalization.
  • SC2 Fellowship Program. Operating in the SC2 pilot locations, the fellowship program has selected, trained, and placed early- to mid-career professionals in local government positions to serve two-year terms and build additional local capacity. Through a competitive process, the German Marshall Fund was selected in December 2011 to administer the fellowship program. Fellows were deployed in September 2012. The program is funded by the Rockefeller Foundation, which donated $2.5 million in initial funding to HUD.
  • SC2 Economic Visioning Challenge. In addition to the SC2 pilot locations, the Economic Development Administration (EDA) has launched an Economic Visioning Challenge designed to help additional cities develop economic blueprints. This national grant competition will enable cities to adopt and implement innovative economic development strategies to support comprehensive city and regional planning efforts. Cities have been competitively selected to receive a grant of approximately $1 million that they will use to administer an "X-prize style" competition, whereby they will challenge multi-disciplinary teams of experts to develop comprehensive economic and land use proposals for their city.
  • SC2 National Resource Network (SC2 Network). The SC2 Network—the subject of the November 28, 2012 NOFA—will amplify the model of SC2 to a broader array of local governments, offering a single portal to a wide range of technical experts for shorter-term engagements. The extent of each engagement will be scaled to ensure a measurable impact, both for the community's growth and resilience and the efficiency of public funds, particularly the federal funding streams they already receive.