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Group Donates $80 Million To Help 5 Struggling U.S. Cities

Twin Cities

First Posted: 10/27/10 10:42 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:10 PM ET

More than $80 million in grants, loans and investments were awarded Thursday to fund five U.S. cities' initiatives to help low-income communities, reports USA Today.

The cities -- Baltimore, Cleveland, Detroit, Newark and Minneapolis-St. Paul -- competed among 19 urban centers for the awards. Each were asked to propose long-term strategies for specific projects to help develop the cities' communities.

Living Cities, a philanthropic group comprises 22 foundations and financial institutions worldwide, funded the project. Ben Hecht, the company's CEO, said the effort is a collaborative process:

"The underlying principle of our initiative is that to do this work, you have to have the public sector, the private sector, local philanthropies and the non-profit community all at the same table talking about solving the problem...None of those, on their own, will make a long-term change."

Baltimore won $19 million for its proposition to create jobs, construct housing and add a new rail line, reports The Baltimore Sun. In the Twin Cities, $16 million will be directed toward the protection and creation of affordable housing, the construction of a new transit line and marketing assistance for local businesses, according to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal. The collaborative announced $15 million for Newark, $17 million for Detroit and $15 million for Cleveland. Each submitted equally inventive projects to revive low-income residents.

Hecht hopes the initiative will inspire others to help, so the efforts last after the funds run out, he told The Baltimore Sun:

"This chunk of money will hopefully accelerate what they want to do and actually give people confidence to be even more ambitious...We think we can help cities catalyze change and attack long-term problems."

Read more about the donations at USA Today.

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Filed by Lauren Sullivan  |