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Toledo selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies program

Downtown Toledo skyline at dusk.
Downtown Toledo skyline at dusk.(WTVG)
Published: Oct. 14, 2020 at 1:05 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Toledo is one of three cities in Ohio and 30 nationwide who have been selected to participate in a Bloomberg Philanthropies program to help cities confront budget crises while strengthening their commitment to equity in the wake of COVID-19.

The program will help cities develop and implement plans to drive financial recovery while ensuring their budget crisis don’t disproportionately harm low-income residents and communities of color. It will also allow city leaders to network for problem solving ideas.

Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015, What Works Cities gives local leaders the tools to replicate successful programs and engage the public, fund and improve services, and evaluate progress. Through the City Budgeting for Equity and Recovery program, What Works Cities will support mayors, chief financial officers, and budget directors to use data-driven best practices as they continue to manage their pandemic responses.

“Since the beginning of my administration, we have focused on the fiscal health of the city, with a strong consideration toward providing equitable city services,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said. “While there are things we have put in place to ensure greater equity in our service delivery and workplace culture, we are focused on turning over every stone to make sure we are providing adequate services to all of our residents regardless of socio-economic status, and making sure that we create a place of belonging for all of our employees.”

The program will cover challenges most pressing to budget leaders including:

• Understanding, accessing and spending COVID relief funds.

• Financing that enables strong budget health.

• Increasing revenues in a way that doesn’t disproportionately impact low-income families.

• Incorporating an equity analysis into major budget decisions, including cuts.

Program participants will receive guidance from finance experts in the public, private, and academic sectors; engage with their peers in interactive workshops; and receive customized support and technical assistance, valued at over $100,000 per city.

What Works Cities will share the learnings and resources developed during the program publicly to ensure that cities everywhere are able to apply them to their local budgeting process.

The 30 cities that have been selected to participate in the program, which will run through December 2021, are: Akron, Columbus, and Toledo in Ohio; Austin, Texas; Birmingham, Ala.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Chula Vista, Calif.; Columbia, S.C.; Denver, Colo.; Durham, N.C.; Fort Collins, Colo.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Lincoln, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; New Orleans; Oakland, Calif.; Peoria, Ill; Philadelphia; Providence, R.I.; Pueblo, Colo.; Rochester, N.Y.; Salt Lake City, Utah; Savannah, Ga.; Seattle; Springfield, Ill.; Stockton, Calif.; Syracuse, N.Y.; Tacoma, Wash.; Tampa, Fla., and West Palm Beach, Fla.

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