Fueling Cities as Economic Engines for Region
October 21, 2002 | Press Release | Community & Economic Development

MacArthur announces a grant of $750,000 over three years to the Boston-based CEOs for Cities, a national membership organization of political, corporate, academic, and nonprofit leaders committed to advancing a view of cities as vibrant centers of commerce and opportunity. Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley will announce the grant at CEOs' semi-annual membership meeting in Chicago on Monday, October 21, 2002, at 7 p.m., at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine Alumni Faculty Lounge.

The grant will be used for research on urban land use reform and to help develop materials for Congress about new trends and opportunities in urban areas. The support will also help expand the geographic scope of CEOs for Cities' membership. 

Founded three years ago as a forum to capture and share the unexpected and largely unheralded progress cities had made in the 1990s, CEOs for Cities is built around a membership network composed of government, corporate, university and nonprofit executives from major U.S. cities. The members meet twice a year to discuss research commissioned by the organization on such topics as the impact of information technology on urban economies and to share best practices and innovative efforts to improve urban economic competitiveness. The current co-chairs of CEOs for Cities are Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, and Charles Ratner, CEO of Forest City Enterprises, Cleveland. 

To harness the potential of the public, private and nonprofit sectors, members are recruited in groups that include the mayor, a corporate CEO, a university or college president, and a nonprofit leader from each member city. In Chicago, for example, members include Mayor Daley; President of the University of Chicago, Don M. Randel; Ronald Grzywinski, chairman of Shorebank; Wayne Watson, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago; Sylvia Manning, Chancellor of the University of Illinois at Chicago; and Mel Bergstein, CEO of DiamondCluster International. 

"By strengthening cities we are increasing the competitiveness of regions and enhancing the economic health of the nation," said Jonathan F. Fanton, President of the MacArthur Foundation. "Using market-based reasoning to attract investment, CEOs for Cities is helping to change public perceptions of inner cities. They are harnessing the efforts and 
interests of public, private and nonprofit leaders, all of whom have a stake in increasing the vitality of inner cities, to help reveal the vast resources and untapped markets of the nation's urban centers. This means positive change for some the country's most underdeveloped neighborhoods."

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