February 15, 2017

Investing in Equitable Opportunities with SPARCC

Los Angeles Skyline

Announcing the First Six SPARCC Communities

In Atlanta, economic prosperity has, historically, traveled along the city’s Interstate 20. Investment and growth favored communities to the north, while poverty and disinvestment concentrated to the south. Policies, plans and public investments made in the past still reverberate today, contributing to a stark economic and racial divide. Eighty percent of black children, 43 percent of Latino children and 4 percent of white children live in communities with high concentrations of poverty.1 People of color have higher exposure to air pollution.2

Across the country over the next decade, trillions of dollars in public and private sector funding will fuel new investments in infrastructure. That’s why a partnership of leading nonprofits and foundations is supporting the work of local collaborations – to ensure that everyone will benefit, especially low-income communities and people of color.

The Strong, Prosperous, And Resilient Communities Challenge – or SPARCC – is excited to announce its initial cohort of six sites: Atlanta, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Memphis and the San Francisco Bay Area. SPARCC is a three-year, $90 million initiative to amplify locally driven efforts to ensure that major new infrastructure investments lead to equitable and healthy opportunities for everyone. The initiative invests in the ideas, energy and momentum of local networks to positively shape our cities and regions for generations.

In each region, SPARCC work will be led by multidisciplinary groups bringing together residents and the public and private sectors to make sure that their communities are places where everyone thrives. These localities will each receive $1 million in combined grant and technical assistance funds over the next three years to support their local efforts. The sites will also have access to an estimated pool of $70 million in financing capital, as well as $14 million in programmatic support.

Just a few examples:

  • The TransFormation Alliance is leading the efforts to ensure an equitable planning process in metro Atlanta, where over the next decade $3 billion will be spent on transit and infrastructure, fueling investments and driving changes in housing, health and the built environment.
  • L-Evated Chicago is committed to transforming the half-mile radius around transit stations and views them as the optimal locations for planning, programming, urban design and development to address the region’s deeply rooted disparities in racial equity, public health and climate resiliency.
  • In Denver, Mile High Connects will build and strengthen resident engagement in redevelopment efforts, drive investments in catalytic projects in West Denver and Adams County and advocate for policies related to land use, anti-displacement, community stability and equitable access to green infrastructure and newly expanded transit system.

Read more about the first six communities on the SPARCC site.

Each year a child spends in a high-poverty neighborhood decreases her chances of going to college, decreases her expected earnings as an adult and even reduces her life expectancy. SPARCC sites are working to reverse this outcome by building more diverse, equitable, healthy and resilient communities.

Learn more about the SPARCC initiative and sign up for SPARCC news.  

SPARCC is an initiative of Enterprise Community Partners, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, the Low Income Investment Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council, with funding support from the Ford Foundation, The JPB Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The California Endowment.

1 http://www.aecf.org/blog/as-atlantas-economy-thrives-many-residents-of-color-are-left-behind/

2 Atlanta Data Profile

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