National Resource Network Launches Massachusetts State Resource Network for Cities

MassDevelopment and the National Resource Network today announced the launch of the Massachusetts State Resource Network – the first of its kind in the nation.

MassDevelopment and the National Resource Network today announced the launch of the Massachusetts State Resource Network – the first of its kind in the nation. The Massachusetts network is a pilot partnership that will provide up to seven cities and at least three Transformative Development Initiative Districts facing economic challenges with comprehensive and cross-cutting technical assistance designed to increase their economic competitiveness.

“We’re pleased to partner with the National Resource Network, which has done so much good work with practical economic development solutions through the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Marty Jones. “This pilot program will provide a new resource for select Gateway Cities, and we hope our network will serve as a catalyst for economic growth and as a blueprint for other states to help to transform their cities.”

The National Resource Network, initially funded with $10 million from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, has partnered with 26 cities across the nation since it began in 2014.  National Resource Network projects have focused on a range of major challenges facing cities with high poverty, high unemployment or population decline including workforce development, downtown revitalization, community development and housing, education, public safety, municipal budgeting and operations.

“We are excited to work with MassDevelopment to expand this innovative program to the state level,” said David Eichenthal, executive director of the National Resource Network. “We believe that strong cities are the building blocks to American prosperity, and we are proud that we have been able to provide on-the-ground, practical solutions to help cities address their challenges. The chance to replicate this national model on a state level has the potential to establish a strong precedent for future partnerships across the nation in an effort to create stronger cities and communities.”

In Massachusetts, the State Resource Network will be supported by up to $1.2 million in federal, state and local funds – including $375,000 from MassDevelopment, making Massachusetts the first state to provide direct funding to the effort.

Through the Massachusetts State Resource Network, eligible Massachusetts cities – cities with TDI Districts and cities that meet the National Resource Network’s criteria – will be able to apply for assistance. Cities are eligible based on poverty levels, unemployment rate and population decline. Massachusetts cities eligible to participate in the program include:

  • Brockton

  • Everett

  • Fitchburg

  • Haverhill

  • Holyoke

  • Lawrence

  • Leominster

  • Lowell

  • Lynn

  • Malden

  • New Bedford

  • Peabody

  • Revere

  • Springfield

  • Worcester

Eligible and interested cities can learn more about the application process by visiting http://nationalresourcenetwork.org/en/solutions/rfa. Cities will be able to apply beginning in mid-February, and the National Resource Network and Massachusetts State Resource Network will begin following up with interested cities soon thereafter. Cities that are chosen for the program will then go through an assessment phase lasting three to six months and engagement phase lasting six to twelve months. 

About MassDevelopment

MassDevelopment, the state’s finance and development agency, works with businesses, nonprofits, financial institutions, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2015, MassDevelopment financed or managed 294 projects generating investment of more than $2.5 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are projected to create about 6,100 jobs and build or rehabilitate about 2,000 residential units.

About National Resource Network

The National Resource Network is a component of the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities Initiative, and is a $10 million technical assistance program funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Network is being implemented by a group of leading experts from the private and public sectors, including Enterprise Community Partners, Public Financial Management, HR&A Advisors, New York University's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service and the International City/County Management Association. The Network develops and delivers innovative solutions to American cities to help them address their toughest economic challenges. More information about the National Resource Network is available online at http://nationalresourcenetwork.org. You can also follow the National Resource Network on Twitter @NatlResourceNet

Check out this great article by the Sentinel & Enterprise and by Worcester Business Journal