In the past year, the COVID-19 pandemic has wrought havoc on local economics and endangered the financial stability of many families across the country. The disproportionate impact of the pandemic on people of color, has also exacerbated already existing inequities among residents.

To recover and rebuild equitably, cities will need to ensure economic mobility is possible for all residents. Economic mobility is the ability of an individual or a family to improve their financial circumstances over a period of time. The National League of Cities (NLC) defines economic mobility as a continuum starting with economic stability (ability to meet basic needs), progressing to economic security (stable employment and ability to cover expenses) and ultimately to wealth building (ability to save for self and family’s future).


NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families is launching the Equitable Economic Mobility Initiative (EEMI) to support local leaders in their efforts to grow economic mobility in their communities and help cities recover equitably from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eight cities will be selected to work with NLC staff and field experts, learn best practices from peer learning networks, and receive grants (for up to $100,000) for planning and implementation of economic mobility strategies that will be grounded in racial equity.

The initiative comes at a crucial time as both cities and families work to recover and rebuild after the devastating economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and as new opportunities emerge from federal recovery packages such as the American Rescue Plan Act (ARP).

This initiative is supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


  • Applicants must be city government entities.
  • Cities of all sizes are encouraged to apply.
  • NLC member cities will be prioritized for selection.


  1. City Team Summary
  2. Project Narrative
  3. Planning Grant Budget (see: EEMI Budget Template)
  4. Supporting Documents


  • Thursday May 6, 2021 3:00 PM ET: Virtual Information Session. Register here.
  • Wednesday May 26, 2021 12:00 PM ET: Deadline to Submit Application
  • Week of June 7-11, 2021: Follow-Up Interviews
  • Wednesday June 23, 2021: Notice of Selection

Apply Today

To apply, download the RFP and submit all application components to Courtney Coffin at by Wednesday May 26 at noon ET.