The Gateway Cities Journal
News and information for leaders who care about Gateway Cities


The Engagement Challenge in Gateway Cities


How comfortable would you be expressing the views and opinions of everyone in this country who shares your last name? Sometimes the blanket categories and stereotypes used in cross-sector partnership building efforts are just as arbitrary and counter-productive.



The private sector is not a monolith; rather businesses can be large or small, international or local, service or product oriented. The community includes individuals and families that will be affected by the initiative, but who are not usually considered to have active leadership roles in creating community solutions. Successful engagement isn't just about bringing money to the table or checking a box for participation. It means intentionally including the people who need to be there for enduring change to become possible. Paul Born, President of the Tamarack Institute for Community Engagement, said it best: "the actual process of bringing the power and the grassroots together is what changes the conversation."


Our work with The Integration Initiative and the Working Cities Challenge has highlighted a few basic questions that may be helpful when building your cross-sector partnership:


1. What does success look like?  Defining your partnership's shared result is the critical first step and the more specific the better. Many of our sites started out with general goals like "increase jobs for our residents." More specific shared results (e.g. 90% of our labor force is employed) help the partnership build feedback loops to measure progress.


2. How does success become a lifestyle change for your community? In 2007, Oklahoma City was named one of the most overweight cities in the country. They set a goal of losing 1,000,000 pounds, and five years later, with approximately a third of overweight citizens participating, they actually did it! Now comes the hard part... how do they maintain their healthy lifestyles? Whether your cross-sector partnership is dealing with public safety, education, or economic development, it is not enough to achieve your shared result. Success must become a lifestyle change for your communities. At Living Cities, we believe communities must change ways of working, shift programs and policies, and realign funding streams in order to achieve results that endure. 


3. Who do we need at our table to achieve enduring results?  Steps one and two push cross-sector partnerships to reflect on both the short and long term drivers of success. Once you have figured out where you need to go, you can much more effectively choose the people you will need on your team in order to get there. And chances are that once your team is assembled, you will circle back to question one because new perspectives help challenge old assumptions. The most effective cross-sector partnerships are flexible and dynamic. The Twin Cities Integration Initiative partnership initially focused on equitable transit-oriented development. Now that the project has succeeded, a subset of the group is focused on workforce issues. Both transportation and jobs are critical to their shared result, but the players at the table have changed as they transitioned their focus and efforts.


These guiding questions provide a starting point for developing your cross-sector partnership and engagement strategies. To learn more and join the conversation, register here for the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston's Working Cities Challenge Learning Community on September 30th.


-Tynesia Boyea-Robinson Director of Collective Impact, Living Cities



Gateway Cities Innovation Awards and Summit 2014


Come celebrate the innovative spirit of the Commonwealth's Gateway Cities on November 13th at UMass Boston. This year's luncheon fundraiser will honor Gateway City innovators in public education. New for 2014, the lunch will be accompanied by a full day Gateway Cities Summit that is free and open to the public. The Summit will include a morning session hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, followed by two concurrent afternoon panels. RSVP here and follow the event on twitter at #GCAwards2014.




The Executive Office of Education issues an RFP for the Early College High School Grant. The grant was part of economic development legislation passed in July. The expansion of early college is a major component of the Gateway Cities Education Vision.


The turnaround of the Lawrence public schools gets high marks from US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, the Eagle-Tribune reports. The Globe also looks at the Lawrence turnaround effort. For the most comprehensive account of the Lawrence plan, check out this CommonWealth feature.


The Worcester Telegram reports that Worcester will soon kick off a community-wide literacy initiative called "Worcester: The City That Reads" campaign. This campaign's motto is "20 minutes, every child, every day", and is based off of "research that shows reading proficiency by third grade is a predictor of academic success and, ultimately, high school graduation".


Brockton School Superintendent Kathleen Smith was given high marks by the School Committee for her first year on the job and awarded a 2 percent pay raise -- which she immediately gave back to the city to "put to better use."


Housing & Economic Development


Quincy takes advantage of empty lot to open a food production facility, creating jobs and business opportunities for the city.


The Springfield Business Improvement District and DevelopSpringfield light up eight buildings in down town Springfield with a $400,000 architectural lighting program.


Holyoke and Chicopee politicians express frustration over the state's homeless-in-hotels housing policy.


Metro Credit Union, in conjunction with MassHousing and the City of Lawrence, has announced the "At Home in Lawrence" Program, which is a new mortgage loan program focused on the financing of property purchases, property refinancing and property rehabilitation exclusively for Lawrence.




Gubernatorial candidate Charlie Baker unveils an economic development plan. The blueprint specifically highlights investment in the Gateway Cities to help spur growth. We give the plan mixed grades in our blog.


Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch endorses Baker; Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera backs Coakley.


Looks like Ed Augustus will be staying on as Worcester city manager.


Creative Placemaking


The Fall River Art Association is trying to rebrand Fall River as an art hub and began that process by opening up the Cherry and Webb Gallery to promote the work of local artists.


Local organizations have joined forces to seek state approval of a new Armory Cultural District in Springfield.


ArtPlace America opens the application process for its fifth round of national grants.


The Massachusetts Community Development Corporation Annual Summit on October 25th will include a conversation about the role of arts in community development.




The newly formed Rail to Boston coalition holds a rally to further promote the proposed rail extension plan that would link the commuter rail to New Bedford, Taunton, and Fall River.


Fitchburg Municipal Airport wins a $700,000 federal grant to help build a new runway, the Telegram & Gazette reports.


Health/Public Safety


Pittsfield's Community Connection, a comprehensive grant-funded program to address the causes of youth violence and gang activity, is likely to continue into 2015 thanks to a $100,000 Shannon Grant to the city.




Cape Wind officially enters into a lease agreement with the City of New Bedford to use the South Terminal facility, still under construction, to build their offshore project. South Terminal construction has since accelerated in order to accommodate new deadlines for operation.


Brockton Mayor William Carpenter instructs city attorneys to engage in settlement talks in a $68 million suit by the owners of a controversial planned power plant that has been blocked by the City Council and prior administrations.


The Kinder Morgan natural gas pipeline begins its trek through the federal regulatory process, the Lowell Sun reports. A Sun guest columnist says the need for the pipeline is nonexistent.




In the battle for the Greater Boston casino license, Wynn Resorts beat out Mohegan Sun's proposal by a 3-1 vote on Tuesday afternoon. Wynn's Everett casino will need to delay construction until after voters have decided the fate of the gambling law in the November election.


Malden officials are excited by the decision to award Wynn Resorts the Greater Boston license as their Neighboring Communities Agreement with the company went into effect immediately.  The city will be awarded $1 million upon the awarding of the license to Wynn.



For a full list of Massachusetts Gateway Cities, click here. The Gateway Cities Journal is a weekly news publication of MassINC. If you would like to unsubscribe to The Journal but would still like to hear from MassINC, please let us know. If you are not yet on our list and would like to sign up, click here. To contribute news or comments, please email MassINC.



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