In collaboration with municipal leaders in a small group of cities, NLC has launched an innovative, two-year pilot program called Local Interventions for Financial Empowerment through Utility Payments (LIFT-UP) that seeks to help low-income families pay their utility bills and achieve financial stability.
With a $3.25 million grant provided by The Atlantic Philanthropies through its national KidsWell Initiative, NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families has launched a new, three-year project to help municipal leaders increase children's access to health insurance coverage. Competitively selected cities will have the opportunity to receive pass-through funding and technical assistance as they lead local efforts to boost children's enrollment in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
With a $1.5 million grant from The Walmart Foundation and in partnership with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), NLC's Institute for Youth, Education and Families has launched the second phase of a national initiative to reduce childhood hunger by expanding participation in federally-subsidized afterschool and summer meals programs.
As part of a $1 million initiative supported by The Walmart Foundation, NLC will partner with the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) to host two leadership academies that will help city leaders learn how to combat child hunger by increasing participation in the newly-expanded federal Afterschool Meal Program. These convenings will be held May 2-3 in Washington, D.C., and May 22-23 in Chicago, Ill.
Five cities - Houston, Louisville, San Francisco, Savannah, Ga., and Seattle - will receive technical assistance and $5,000 mini-grants to support the collection of data on residents' access to mainstream financial services. Supported by the Ford Foundation, the project will address key barriers to evaluating the progress of local "Bank On" programs, which connect residents to low-cost bank accounts, financial education and other asset-building opportunities.
Through the Bank On Cities Campaign, the YEF Institute provided intensive technical assistance to 18 cities as they sought to replicate Bank On San Francisco, which connects low- and moderate-income families to mainstream financial services and products. As this model has rapidly spread to cities around the country, the YEF Institute has provided assistance to many additional cities beyond this initial cohort and continues to serve as a resource for municipal leaders interested in launching similar programs in their own cities.
This project helped municipal leaders take action to helping low-income, working families build assets. In phase one of the project, selected cities visited Phoenix, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Miami, and San Francisco, which already had asset-building strategies in place, in order to develop local asset-building action plans. Phase one project cities included Burlington, Vt.; Durham, N.C.; Grayson, Okla.; Itta Bena, Miss.; Louisville; Milwaukee; Orlando; Savannah, Ga.; and Seattle. In phase two of the project, six cities were selected to receive customized technical assistance to help them implement their local action plans: Burlington, Itta Bena, Louisville, Orlando, Savannah, and Seattle.
In partnership with the National Transitional Jobs Network, the Center for Employment Opportunities, and the Transitional Work Corporation, the YEF Institute helped seven cities design transitional jobs programs. The project was funded by the Joyce Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, Annie E. Casey Foundation and Pew Charitable Trusts.
In 2004, the YEF Institute provided technical assistance to six cities to help them design or enhance outreach strategies to connect working families to multiple state and federal benefits, such as the Earned Income Tax Credit, food stamps, and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Project cities included Cleveland, Ohio; Memphis, Tenn.; Milwaukee, Wis.; New Haven, Conn.; Oakland, Calif.; and Seattle, Wash.
Supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Joyce Foundation, this project helped 10 cities establish transitional jobs programs for hard-to-employ individuals. Lessons from these cities' initiatives are available in the YEF Institute report below.