CORRIDORS OF OPPORTUNITY
Revitalizing neighborhoods and communities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a collective of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. The organization primarily works to improve the lives of low-income people and their immediate neighborhoods by strengthening transit, education, housing, health care and jobs.
Building upon its experience at the neighborhood level, Living Cities launched the Integration Initiative in 2010. The Integration Initiative supports cities that are harnessing momentum and leadership for change, and fundamentally reshaping their communities and policies to meet the needs of low-income residents. The Twin Cities is one of five urban regions selected for the Initiative.
How Corridors of Opportunity Makes a Difference
The initiative is providing $80 million in grants, loans and program-related investments to the five participating regions that are challenging traditional ways of doing business. The Twin Cities, through the Corridors of Opportunity, is using its mix of funding to preserve and create affordable housing near transit lines, improve access to employment and education, and stabilize small businesses affected by the light rail construction.
Ultimately, Corridors of Opportunity aims to create a new framework for solving complex problems. Another underpinning of this work is the belief that transit can create opportunities for low-income residents rather than displace them. The anticipated result is 400 to 600 units of affordable housing that are created or preserved. Small businesses along the new transit lines will receive technical assistance and loans to support their work during construction. New strategies for transit-oriented development will emerge, as will new community leaders from previously underrepresented populations.
The Role of The Saint Paul Foundation
Corridors of Opportunity in the Twin Cities is coordinated by the McKnight Foundation and The Saint Paul Foundation and supported by scores of other partners from the public and nonprofit sectors. The Saint Paul Foundation also manages the Initiative staff and serves as fiscal manager for the project.
"The unique combination of funding that Living Cities has assembled is game changing. It is exciting for us and our partners to be figuring out how we can blend private capital with other funds to expand the resources available for building more affordable and livable communities."
Mayor Chris Coleman, Saint Paul