Resolution of the Board of Directors of the National League of Cities in Memory of the late Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino

Press Release
Press Release

WHEREAS, Thomas M. Menino was elected five times to the Boston City Council and then five times as Boston's mayor, becoming the longest serving and most recognizable mayor in the city's history;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino dedicated his three decades of public service to making Boston a better place - for children, for families, for all of its residents - and he succeeded, leaving Boston a better place for generations to come;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino made Boston a better place not with skyscrapers or big projects but through small things that made a big impact and by paying attention to details, an approach that resulted in him being known as the "Urban Mechanic;"

WHEREAS, under Mayor Menino's leadership, the city of Boston underwent a dramatic renaissance, transformed from a community that endured decades of urban renewal and racial violence into a thriving economic and cultural center and a magnet for innovation;

WHEREAS, he championed issues ranging from Main Streets and neighborhood revitalization to education and school improvements, from public health to public housing, and from youth violence prevention to groundbreaking efforts to celebrate diversity and welcome new residents;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino, with fierce moral clarity, demanded equality and diversity in the City - including equal opportunity for immigrants, equal pay for women, and equal rights for all;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino also emerged as a strong national leader and spokesperson on behalf of cities, serving as the founder and co-chair of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and a leader on issues of education and housing;

WHEREAS, in his city's darkest hour - the horrific Boston Marathon Bombings - Mayor Menino, despite his own physical challenges, stood up and calmed residents and then rallied the city as it recovered;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino's innovative and effective work to address the needs of children, youth, and families in Boston attracted widespread national attention early in his tenure as mayor, prompting growing numbers of other city leaders to seek his advice and guidance;

WHEREAS, the increasingly overwhelming volume of requests for such assistance inspired Mayor Menino to create the vision of an Institute housed at the National League of Cities, that would be an "action tank" rather than a "think tank," providing practical help and advice to mayors all across America;
WHEREAS, Mayor Menino pursued that vision with several years of dedicated time to develop the concept, leading an NLC task force on the topic that defined the Institute's mission and personally raising start-up funds to help get it off the ground;

WHEREAS, the NLC Institute for Youth, Education, and Families (YEF Institute) was formally launched in December 2000 at the NLC Congress of Cities in Boston with the support of a newly formed Council on Youth, Education, and Families chaired by Mayor Menino;

WHEREAS, the YEF Institute has grown and developed beyond all expectations, with a 15-year track record that includes in-depth technical assistance to hundreds of cities, $25 million in pass-through grants and associated funding for city-led initiatives, ongoing peer learning opportunities for elected officials and senior staff, and a wealth of new tools and resources in five core program areas;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino's vision has also generated nearly $50 million in private foundation support for NLC's best practice work, which now includes a total of 25 staff within the YEF Institute and more than 20 current projects focusing on key city priorities related to children, youth, and families;

WHEREAS, Mayor Menino continued to support the YEF Institute throughout his time in office, providing ongoing and invaluable guidance, helping to formulate the Mayors' Action Challenge for Children and Families that elicited commitments from 100 mayors throughout the nation, and hosting the 2009 National Summit on Your City's Families in Boston to showcase the YEF Institute's progress and diverse offerings; and

WHEREAS, following his decision not to run for re-election in 2013 and a courageous struggle against cancer, Mayor Menino passed away on October 30, 2014, unleashing a deep sense of loss and an outpouring of affection for him and praise for his leadership and caring ways among the residents of Boston as well as city and national leaders across the country;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National League of Cities expresses its gratitude for Mayor Menino's leadership and vision in the creation of its Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and conveys its deepest sympathies to his family, friends, colleagues and the residents of the city of Boston for their profound loss; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the National League of Cities Board of Directors instructs NLC staff to pursue options for the establishment of a permanent Thomas M. Menino Fellowship or other internship structure in recognition of Mayor Menino's many contributions to NLC and as a lasting tribute to his commitment to children, youth, and families in Boston and across America, including the exploration of possible partnerships with one or more institutions of higher education in the Boston area.

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