77th Annual Meeting


WHEREAS, in recent decades, our nation has made great progress in improving the health and living conditions of urban poor across the United States; and

WHEREAS, as poverty persists, it is critical that we develop methods that can more effectively help families climb the economic ladder; and

WHEREAS, city governments are experimenting with new ways to engage disconnected youth, incentivize work, build human capital, and end cyclical poverty; and

WHEREAS, many of these local ventures have yielded promising early results, but there is no national infrastructure to ensure that these local efforts build upon one another, nor are there sufficient city resources to pilot and evaluate many of the most promising ideas; and

WHEREAS, President Obama has expressed his commitment to addressing urban poverty and to fostering innovation, we urge his Administration to create a Federal Urban Innovation Fund (the Fund) to fight poverty; and

WHEREAS, the Fund would invest in new and innovative anti-poverty initiatives in cities across the country, and rigorously evaluate the outcomes of these new investments to determine which are beneficial and cost-effective. Initiatives that are proven successful would be replicated; those that are not would be terminated; and

WHEREAS, this strategy will create an evidence-based foundation from which we can build the next-generation of government-funded, anti-poverty policies; and

WHEREAS, poverty reduction has historically, and mistakenly, been approached from traditional silos within government. To ensure a more collaborative effort, we believe that the Fund should be administered by the White House, which has the unique capability to encourage holistic and comprehensive approaches to combating poverty; and

WHEREAS, placement in the White House will increase the visibility and political will of the Administration's innovative anti-poverty work, and provide an opportunity for the Administration to demonstrate measurable progress against poverty; and

WHEREAS, we are pleased and encouraged by the focus on innovation, including the inclusion of several Innovation Funds, in the FY10 budget outline. While we are very supportive of these initiatives, we believe there remains a need for a complementary and comprehensive Fund dedicated to identifying how government can best use its limited resources to combat urban poverty; and

WHEREAS, though the cities we represent are distinct from each other in geography and in population, we share a commitment to improving the lives of our most vulnerable constituents.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the United States Conference of Mayors urges the White House to create an Urban Innovation Fund to address poverty in cities.