Communities First is leveraging the Biden Administration’s readiness to direct funds to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color and low-wealth communities by advancing investments and partnerships in service of community plans, solutions, priorities, needs, and visions for a thriving future. Our activities will include:
- Establishing a community-centered accountability framework to guide federal agencies’ relationships with impacted communities.
- Convening cross-sectors leaders, investors, and experts to support communities in stewarding resources in ways that honor community leadership, plans, and priorities.
- Working with community anchoring institutions to identify how the federal grant process should be improved in service of community applicants.
- Counseling key federal agencies on developing new criteria for grant programs that support racial equity outcomes.
- Designing and overseeing a Infrastructure and Innovation Learning Labs providing a forum for government agency staff and community anchoring institutions to build relationships and collaborate on projects aimed at advancing the federal racial equity commitment.
- Conducting research and creating resources to provide BIPOC communities clear pathways to access the flow of discretionary capital from American Rescue Plan and Justice40.
Through these activities, Communities First aims to achieve the following goals:
1. Direct COVID-19 Economic Recovery and Justice40 money and resources to support greater economic vitality and resilience of under-invested communities.
2. Facilitate the adoption of a just racial equity lens across multiple federal agencies and their grant programs at all levels.
3. Ensure Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities have the local investment infrastructure necessary to attract philanthropic, public, and private capital to support building community assets.
4. Integrate Black, Indigenous, and People of Color leaders into decision-making positions within regional, local economic development networks/ecosystems.