Haverhill’s Mt. Washington Neighborhood Wins $500,000 Federal Reserve Grant

 In Chamber News

Mt WashingtonMayor James J. Fiorentini and State Representative Brian Dempsey announced that Haverhill along with four other Massachusetts cities will each receive $475,000 in the second round of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston’s Working Cities Challenge, a competition for smaller cities in New England focused on building collaborative leadership, which is shown to be a critical element in economic growth for struggling postindustrial cities.
The City of Haverhill, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and Community Action, Inc. are the lead organizations in the initiative. All five communities put forward initiatives focused on neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, and improving access to economic opportunity. The cities will work on these initiatives over a three-year period, accompanied by technical assistance and a learning community for best-practice sharing.
“As a former Mount Washington resident, I am thrilled that this unprecedented coalition has won this prestigious grant to improve the economic, educational, and social conditions of this gateway neighborhood,” stated Mayor Fiorentini. “Improving economic outcomes and expanding opportunities for residents of Mount Washington requires a multi-pronged, cross-sectoral approach. I am gratified that the Federal Reserve has recognized our efforts and approach by deciding to invest in our community. I am proud to be part of the Mt. Washington Alliance,” added the Mayor.

“I want to congratulate the winners of the Working Cities Challenge. Collaborative leadership is at the heart of this competition, and these five cities demonstrated significant capacity to reach across sectors and advance efforts on behalf of low-income residents in their communities,” said Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren. “I look forward to following the progress in the communities in the coming months and years.”

According to a statement from Fed President Rosengren, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said, “Together with our partners in the private, philanthropic, and non-profit sectors, we are proud to leverage greater resources to support and prepare communities for success. The Working Cities Challenge elevates local leadership, amplifying solutions from the community level to increase cross-sector collaboration and improve economic outcomes for low-income residents.” According to John Cuneo, Executive Director of Community Action, Inc. which will administer the grant, Haverhill’s initiative, a cross-sector partnership called the “Mt. Washington Alliance” will work to close the social and economic “opportunity gap” between the Mt. Washington neighborhood and the rest of the Haverhill community. The initiative will include efforts to improve employment, education, and an array of neighborhood conditions including housing, health, and safety. Residents will play a prominent role in shaping and evaluating the work of this Alliance. The Alliance’s core team includes: residents of Mt. Washington, the Mayor’s office, Haverhill Public Schools, Rehoboth Lighthouse Full Gospel Church, Northern Essex Community College, Fantini Baking Company, Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment Board, Merrimack Valley Music & Arts, Inc., Team Haverhill, Mann Consulting, Haverhill Bank, Pentucket Bank, POSE, Inc., Urban Kindness, Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, Emmaus, Inc., Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, St. James Church, Jaffarian Toyota, Tilton Elementary School, Haverhill YMCA, Girls Inc., the Haverhill City Council, Massachusetts 2020, and Community Action, Inc.

“This grant will enhance access to job opportunities and educational activities while improving neighborhood conditions in Haverhill’s Mount Washington District,” said State Rep. Brian Dempsey. “Bringing together a strong cross-section of partners through the Mt Washington Alliance, the Working Cities collaboration ensures a commitment to the Mt Washington District and its community.”

“This Working Cities Challenge grant is a testament to the strong public-private sector collaboration embodied in the Mt. Washington Alliance, which has worked diligently to produce an innovative plan to spark economic growth and provide greater opportunities for families in the Mt. Washington Neighborhood of Haverhill,” said State Senator Kathleen O’Connor Ives.

Funding for the competition is not provided by the Boston Fed, but by a consortium of partners including the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Competitive Partnership, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Kresge Foundation, the Barr Foundation, the Smith Family Foundation, and Living Cities. The winners of the competition were selected by an independent jury that does not include the Boston Fed. The other four winning cities are Lowell, Pittsfield, Springfield, and Worcester.

A celebration of these five cities’ initiatives will be held at the Boston Fed on July 18. For more information on the Working Cities Challenge, visit http://www.bostonfed.org/workingcities.
For more info about the Mount Washington Alliance, visit “Mt. Washington Alliance-Strengthening Community – Building Opportunity” on Facebook.

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