Each year, city leaders and their partners who’ve taken part in the Cities of Opportunity initiative come together at the Solutions Forum to celebrate their transformative progress, share tools, and highlight the sustainable changes they are making to systems that impact health and racial disparities in their cities. Doing so, they demonstrate to peer city leaders that change is possible and happening, and future efforts can be informed by best practices.

The 2024 Cities of Opportunity Solutions Forum will take place on the afternoon of Wednesday, May 8, 2024. It will be a half-day hybrid event featuring panel discussions with mayors, city, county, and philanthropic leaders.

Virtual attendees are invited to download the official Solutions Forum Watch Party Guide and host a watch party with colleagues and friends.

Panel Highlights

Mayoral Leadership: Catalyst for Community Health and Racial Equity

Hear directly from mayors how their participation in Cities of Opportunity programs empowered them to leverage their leadership to inspire change and reinforce commitment to transformative work that positively impacts communities. Join us in exploring the critical intersection of mayoral influence, equity, and systems change through insightful discussions and case studies


  • Mayor Steve Williams, Huntington, WV
  • Mayor Shawyn Patterson Howard, Mount Vernon, NY
  • Mayor Kim Norton, Rochester, MN
  • Mayor Travis Stovall, Gresham, OR
Building Capacities for Action: A Citywide Approach to Health and Racial Equity

Hear perspectives from a range of city staff on the importance of cross-city alignment and shifting narratives to advance health and well-being through addressing a range of pressing issues, from advancing environmental justice to creating jobs and affordable housing.


  • Hope Velarde, Analyst, City Manager’s Office, Rancho Cucamonga, CA
  • Ali Abazeed, Chief Public Health Officer, Dearborn, MI
  • Meredith Jennings, Senior Program Manager, Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC), Houston, TX
  • Jeff Williams, Director, City Planning and Development, Kansas City, MO
The Future of Cities and Well-being

How can the National League of Cities, national partners and other investors broaden the support cities need to advance health and equity as they tackle current issues and plan for emerging challenges and opportunities? This panel will explore NLC’s commitment to expanding the reach of the Cities of Opportunity model of supporting cities as they build the core capacities needed to make real change in health and racial equity at the local level and shape new, equitable futures for all city residents.


  • Dr. Robert Blaine, Director, Center for Leadership, Education, Advancement and Development, NLC
  • Lourdes Aceves, Director, Health & Well-being, NLC
  • Sarah Weller-Pegna, Program Manager, NLC