Danbury Wins Boston Fed’s Working Cities Challenge Competition

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

$450,000 multi-year grant to bolster economic equality in Connecticut’s smaller cities

DANBURY, CT -- Danbury has won the Working Cities Challenge put forth by the Boston Federal Reserve and been awarded $450,000 in a multi-year commitment to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income residents.

A collaborative of Danbury agencies and institutions has received the $450,000 grant to reduce the number of immigrants and people of color who are in poverty by 30 percent within 10 years. During the first three years, the initiative dubbed DanburyWORKS will address the barriers that prohibit or limit the identified population’s ability to participate in education and/or job training programs that increase wages. In the short-term, DanburyWORKS will focus on reducing those barriers by building trust among the diverse cultures in Danbury, improving proficiency of the English language, and increasing access to affordable childcare.

The collaborating agencies on this endeavor include: Age Well Community Council, City of Danbury, Community Action Agency of Western Connecticut, Danbury Promise for Children Partnership, Danbury Public Schools, Danbury Youth Services, Connecticut Institute for Families, Ecuadorian Civic Center of Greater Danbury, Ed Advance, Naugatuck Valley Community College, Regional YMCA, United Way of Western Connecticut, Western CT State University, Western CT Regional Adult and Continuing Education, and Western CT Health Network. Residents and business owners also participated in the grant process.

United Way of Western Connecticut has pledged an additional $540,000 towards the expansion of childcare within this initiative and will serve as the fiscal agent for the initiative.

“We are thrilled that Danbury has been selected as a winning city in such a worthwhile competition,” said Kimberly Morgan, CEO of United Way of Western Connecticut. “It’s going to be an exciting but challenging three years as we attempt to build the resources that low wage earners need in order to improve their education and employability skills and eventually move into more stable employment.”

Danbury was one of only five Connecticut communities to be awarded this funding after a competitive grant application process. East Hartford, Hartford, Middletown and Waterbury were the other communities selected. The Reserve Bank’s Working Cities Challenge officially launched in Connecticut in 2016 with state, private sector, and nonprofit support to improve the lives of low- and moderate-income residents.

“Congratulations to Danbury for putting together a thoughtful and comprehensive proposal designed to address significant needs within the community,” said Federal Reserve Bank of Boston President Eric Rosengren. “This is just the start of a lot of hard work on behalf of Danbury’s residents. I’m looking forward to following their progress over the coming years.”

Danbury’s project is set to commence in March, and the collaborative will issue yearly reports to the Boston Federal Reserve.

Working Cities Challenge
The Working Cities Challenge, launched in 2013 in Massachusetts, builds on Boston Fed research that identified cross-sector collaboration and leadership as the key ingredients in resurgent smaller cities across the country. The Working Cities Challenge in Connecticut builds upon the success of the initiative in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. In April 2017, ten Connecticut communities received $15,000 design grants to sharpen their proposals. After a six month design phase, the teams submitted implementation award applications to and were interviewed by an independent jury, which selected the winning cities in January 2018. Funding for the Working Cities Challenge is not provided by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, but by a collaboration of the state of Connecticut including the Malloy administration, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Kresge Foundation, Living Cities, NeighborWorks America, Avangrid Foundation, Stanley Black & Decker, Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals BI Cares Foundation, Eversource Energy, Hartford Foundation for Public Giving, Travelers Companies, Inc., Webster Bank, Liberty Bank Foundation, Bank of America, Barnes Group Foundation, Hartford HealthCare, Hoffman BMW of Watertown/Hoffman Auto Group, United Technologies, Charter Communications, Community Foundation of Northwest Connecticut, Community Foundation of Greater New Britain, Connecticut Community Foundation, Fairfield County's Community Foundation, Main Street Community Foundation, Thomaston Savings Bank, Ion Bank, Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, Valley Community Foundation, Jewish Community Foundation of Hartford, New Canaan Community Foundation, Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut, and the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation. For more on the Working Cities Challenge, visit www.bostonfed.org/WorkingCities

United Way of Western Connecticut
United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) helps residents across Northern Fairfield County, Southern Litchfield County and the City of Stamford by focusing on the vital building blocks for a good life: Education, Financial Stability and Health. Our mission is to improve lives by mobilizing the power of caring communities to create lasting change. We are committed to ensuring that every child enters school ready to learn, every family is financially stable, and every community we serve is healthy and strong. We are particularly focused on a population that United Way identifies as ALICE® (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) in our communities. A United Way report published in October 2016 revealed that in Connecticut, more than 1 in 4 households has earnings above the Federal Poverty Level, but below a basic cost-of-living threshold. Combined with those who are struggling below poverty level, 38% of all households in the state are experiencing financial hardship. By leveraging the collective power of the community, we are focused on creating an environment where individuals and families are self-sufficient and can achieve financial independence. For more information about United Way of Western Connecticut, please visit: www.uwwesternct.org. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Follow us on Instagram. Watch us on YouTube.



The City of Danbury
Austin Samuelson
(203) 797-4511

United Way of Western Connecticut
Sofia Dupi

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