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Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Looking for Progress in America's Smaller Legacy Cities: A Report for Place-based Funders
Susan Longworth

Place-based funders2 can play an important role in connecting economic growth to economic opportunity. Looking for Progress in America's Smaller Legacy Cities describes a study tour undertaken by representatives from four Federal Reserve Banks and more than two dozen place-based funders, under the auspices of the Funders’ Network-Federal Reserve Philanthropy Initiative. What began as an inquiry into four small legacy cities – Chattanooga, TN; Cedar Rapids, IA; Rochester, NY; and Grand Rapids, MI – that appeared to have experienced some measure of revitalization in the post Great Recession environment evolved into an understanding that revitalization in these places is moving along two distinct paths: an “arc of growth” and an “arc of opportunity.” In the context of these small legacy cities, growth and opportunity is unfolding separately along these two long-term “arcs,” leading to the conclusion that broad community prosperity lies in: 1) recognizing that growth alone does not naturally lead to opportunity; and 2) advancing deliberate policies, investments, and programs that connect growth to opportunity. Tour participants observed that without the action of organizations like placed-based funders, that connection rarely occurs.

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Susan Longworth, "Looking for Progress in America's Smaller Legacy Cities: A Report for Place-based Funders" , Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, Profitwise, issue 3, pages 21-28, 2017.
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Keywords: Community development; economic development; population; poverty; unemployment
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