Release Date: July 8,2021

City of Akron Partners with the National League of Cities to Help Build Equitable Economic Mobility for All Akron Residents

$100,000 grant will help Akron and partners expand the Full Term First Birthday Greater Akron infant vitality initiative with workforce development program

Akron, Ohio, July 7, 2021 — Mayor Horrigan is proud to announce the City of Akron’s selection to the Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative (EEMI).  The EEMI is a 15-month technical assistance and grant project led by the National League of Cities (NLC) aimed at boosting economic mobility for residents while addressing long-standing racial inequalities. The City will receive a $100,000 grant from the NLC as part of the Initiative.

"The pandemic was hard on everyone, but it exacerbated and put a spotlight on the disparities that already existed in our communities especially for people of color," said Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan. "This partnership with the National League of Cities will help us to further address those disparities through our Full Term First Birthday Greater Akron initiative focusing on the social determinants of health."

Far beyond any previous recession, the economic fallout from COVID-19 decimated many families' financial stability and economic security while upending many community norms. What's more, health and economic indicators point to the pandemic's disproportionate impact on people of color, worsening existing inequalities.

The City of Akron was selected for the Initiative because of the local government's demonstrated commitment to racial equity and resident economic mobility, along with the strong existing partnerships and the City’s capacity for data collection and analysis. Akron is one of seven other cities from across the country to receive technical assistance and support from NLC's expert staff to help advance the City's efforts in promoting economic mobility for all residents.

Through this $100,000 NLC EEMI grant award, Akron, in partnership with Summit County Public Health and The Well Community Development Corporation, will build upon the existing Full Term First Birthday Greater Akron infant vitality initiative and help implement a workforce development program for mothers in our community to bridge the gaps between unemployment, childcare/motherhood, and health. 

In the months ahead, EEMI cities will explore finding culturally appropriate ways to engage with residents with the ultimate goal of moving more residents towards building wealth.  “This grant will help us financially empower all residents, especially women of color who have for too long been denied an equal opportunity to build wealth for themselves and their families,” Akron City Council President Margo Sommerville said.

The legislation formally authorizing the grant-funded work will be presented to Akron City Council this month.  Several members of Akron City Council are active members of the NLC, including Ward 5 Councilwoman Tara Samples who serves on the Board of Directors, and Ward 4 Councilman Russ Neal who serves as President of the National Black Caucus of Locally Elected Officials (NBC-LEO).

“Many local governments are investing in programs that help people meet their basic needs, but few examine how existing systems can be improved to help families build wealth,” said Dr. Robert Blaine, Senior Executive and Director of the Institute for Youth, Education and Families at the National League of Cities. “The National League of Cities is proud to work with the City of Akron in its efforts to address long-standing racial inequality and help promote the inherent dignity of each of its residents by expanding opportunities for economic mobility within the community.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation generously supports the Equitability Economic Mobility Initiative.

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About National League of Cities
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America's cities, towns and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram.