Our Impact in 2021
We know the pandemic has continued to take a toll on city leaders, both personally and professionally. It’s an honor to have worked with more than 173 mayors and city leaders— representing 128 cities—providing valuable peer learning experiences, leadership development opportunities, and policy resources that advance equity, sustainability, and democracy in cities across the country. Here are some highlights from 2021:
Equipping a New Class of Mayors
Fifteen mayors participated in our 2021 New Mayors Cohort, developing a network of peer support and tools to advance work in their new roles. Most of the mayors were “firsts” in their roles in their cities–first Black mayor, first LGBTQ mayor, and/or first woman-identified mayor.
Participants delved into topics like how to demonstrate effective and equitable leadership, using social media to communicate your message, bringing a trauma-informed lens to leadership, and more. Participants included:
- Rita Ali , Peoria, IL
- Lacey Beaty, Beaverton, OR
- Nathaniel Booker, Maywood, IL
- Felicia Brunson, West Park, FL
- Kate Colin, San Rafael, CA
- Waylyn Hobbs Jr., Hempstead, NY
- Farrah Khan, Irvine, CA
- Nikylan Knapper, Maplewood, MO
- Tishaura Jones, St. Louis, MO
- Michelle Nelson, Flossmoor, IL
- Sangeetha Rayapati, Moline, IL
- Katie Rosenberg, Wausau, WI
- Vicki Scaman, Oak Park, IL
- Emma Sharif, Compton, CA
- Eddie Sundquist, Jamestown, NY
“The wealth of insight provided by being in this position was worth it. Just to be able to glean from others, share experiences and hear solutions to common issues was a blessing to me!”Mayor Felicia Brunson, West Park, FL
Mayors Innovative Design Cohort
In partnership with:
This year we launched the Mayors Innovative Design Cohort. Our inaugural city cohort of Eastpointe, MI; Clarksville, TN; and Blacksburg, VA are working to address the climate crisis while creating equitable, inclusive public spaces in their communities. Each city is receiving technical assistance for a project with final written recommendations from an architect, funds to support an inclusive design process, and more.
Affordable Water as a Human Right
In partnership with:
Several cities and utilities announced major reforms to their water systems this year. In partnership with the Water Center at Penn, we convened two more editions of our acclaimed Water Affordability Academy. This series brought together 40 water utility leaders to help them build sustainable, equitable, and affordable systems.
Months after participating in the Fall 2020 Academy and/or receiving ongoing assistance from us:
- Toledo, OH (Fall 2021) announced a series of sweeping new water affordability initiatives.
- South Bend, IN (Jan 2021) is addressing equity through a new water customer assistance program.
- Oakland County, MI (March 2021) received an Affordability and Planning Grant to create water affordability programs for the City of Pontiac and the Royal Oak Township system.
- Burlington, VT’s (July 2021) affordability program and rate restructure was passed by council.
New federal funding available for water infrastructure makes this work even more critical—and possible—going forward.
Reducing Neurotoxic Exposure in Children
In partnership with:
Five US cities–Duluth MN, Grand Rapids MI, Madison WI, Pine Bluff AR, and San Rafael CA–have are improving health and equity outcomes for children through our Healthy Babies Initiative. Projects funded in 2021 will improve children’s health and create replicable models for other cities in the areas of city purchasing policies, lead and mold hazard remediation, safe soils and food safety and access.
Supporting Women-identified Mayors
In partnership with Equity Agenda, we have continued to support the needs and interests of women-identified mayors through the Women Mayors Network (WMN). Discussion topics this year have included online privacy and security, the challenges women electeds and candidates face, and more. WMN has also sponsored content available to the whole network, including online forums on finance strategy and ways cities can support reproductive freedom. WMN is open to all women-identifying mayors. Learn more & join.
Thank you for building this network with us.
Berwyn Heights, MD
Chapel Hill, NC
Grand Rapids, MI*
Gray Court, SC
Hastings on Hudson, NY
Highland Park, IL
Key West, FL
Mount Vernon, NY
Mountain View, CA*
National City, CA
New Britain, CT
New Orleans, LA
New York, NY
North Little Rock, AR
Oak Park, IL
Rhinelander City, WI
River Forest, IL*
Rochester Hills, MI
Salt Lake City, UT
Salt Lake County, UT
San Rafael, CA
Santa Fe, NM
South Barrington, IL
South Jordan, UT
St. Louis, MO
St. Paul, MN*
State College, PA
Steven’s Point, WI
Suisun City, CA
Takoma Park, MD
Union Township, NJ
West Palm Beach, FL*
West Park, FL