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City of Savannah Marketing and Communications

Posted on: February 25, 2022

City of Savannah selected to participate in a National League of Cities’ Economic Project

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City of Savannah selected to participate in a National League of Cities’ project to boost economic inclusion for residents and businesses


SAVANNAH (Feb. 25) – Mayor Van R. Johnson, II is proud to join a new initiative led by the National League of Cities (NLC) and commit to increasing economic inclusion and resilience for communities of color. Savannah joins fifteen other cities in the Southeast U.S. to receive up to $30,000 in grant funding and opportunities to learn from national experts and other cities. 

The Southern Cities Economic Inclusion initiative is a partnership between NLC and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta. Other cities selected to participate in the 20-month project include: Other cities selected to participate in the 20-month project include: Baton Rouge, La; Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; College Park, Ga.; Danville, Va.; Jackson, Miss.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Mobile, Ala.; Montgomery, Ala.; New Orleans, La.; Nashville, Tenn.; Norfolk, Va.; Patterson, La.; Saint Petersburg, Fla.; and Tallahassee, Fla. 

“I’m thrilled to have Savannah selected to participate in this project with so many other great cities as we work to become the Beloved Community I know we can be,” said Mayor Van R. Johnson, II. “I’m grateful to staff, especially my Deputy Assistant Marty Johnston, who went after this opportunity for our City. Efforts like this one will make Savannah increasingly more equitable and just.” 

Deep and persistent inequities in small business growth, access to jobs, and affordable housing are exacerbated by decades of structural racism and exclusionary practices and policies that have marginalized communities of color, particularly Black families and businesses. Economic inclusion strategies –the intentional engagement by communities to implement strategies that expand the participation of businesses and residents of color in the economy –are shown to be the superior growth model for communities because they harness untapped talent and economic potential. SCEI offers an opportunity for cities to invest funding from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and other federal sources in economic inclusion strategies toward a growth model that offers cities, their residents and businesses, greater economic prosperity.  


 “Every day we learn more about the pandemic’s devastating toll on cities and how it has underscored systemic racial disparities,” said Dr Robert Blaine, Senior Executive Director of NLC’s Institute for Youth, Education and Families. “Intentional economic inclusion strategies are critical to building resiliency across our communities. There is an enormous opportunity for Southern cities to model and implement strategies that ensure equity and growth for BlPOC communities and businesses. Solutions for the south must be driven by cities in the south.  NLC is committed to working alongside the SCEI cities to drive economic progress now and for future generations.”


The Southern Cities for Economic Inclusion initiative runs from March 2022 through November 2023 and is generously supported by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and the Annie E. Casey Foundation You can learn more at: https://www.nlc.org/initiative/southern-cities-economic-inclusion-scei-expanding-capacity-building-resilience/

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