FutureWorks, Mt. Auburn Associates, and Prosperity Partners (with support from the Council on Competitiveness) have organized an action-learning network as a first step in what we see as a longer-term project focused on rebuilding regional prosperity. (Learn more about the partners). The focus of the project is on developing new regional partnerships, policies, and strategies that intentionally and systematically promote both growth and opportunity in ways that are mutually reinforcing.
With initial funding from the Surdna Foundation, we have brought together leaders from 10 regions that are in the forefront of building broad-based prosperity through economic growth. Those regions are:
Central New York State - The CenterState Corporation for Economic Opportunity
Durham, NC - Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce
Hartford, CT - Connecticut Association of Human Services
Kansas City, MO - Mid-America Regional Council
Milwaukee, WI - Greater Milwaukee Committee
Northeast Ohio - Fund for Our Economic Future
Philadelphia, PA - Economy League of Greater Philadelphia
Portland, OR - Portland State University Office of Strategic Partnerships
San Joaquin Valley, CA - California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley
Greater Toronto, Ontario - Greater Toronto Civic Action Alliance
The regions participating in this network serve as “learning labs” to identify what’s working and what’s getting in the way of effectively linking regional economic growth and opportunity, as well as what innovations and investments actually make the biggest difference. The network is designed to strengthen the innovative, regional efforts that are already under way, to link them together, to capture their lessons learned, to make those practical lessons available to other regions, and to reshape public policies.
Network participants will meet four times over two years to take an in-depth look at what’s happening in the host region to link growth and opportunity, drawing other key actors from the host region into the discussion, and take a deep dive into particular issues of common concern among the participating regions. Those issues will be framed in advance in a discussion paper that draws on relevant research and experience in participating and other regions, then the meeting discussion will be summarized in an issue paper that can be distributed more broadly.
After the network has been in operation for two years, we plan to organize a national summit of regional leaders, policymakers, foundations, and other organizations doing similar work. The summit will highlight the research findings, lessons learned, and insights generated by the network, providing inspiration and guidance to other regions moving in this direction, and informing the work of policymakers and others looking for the most effective ways to sustain, strengthen and expand these efforts.
Regional Prosperity Project Summary
Linking Growth and Opportunity: Findings from the Front