ARP: Boise Announced the Opening of the Boise Small Business Grant Program

Mayor Lauren Mclean announced the opening of the Boise Small Business Grant Program. Mayor McLean helped lead the effort to appropriate $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds for the program, which aims to support over 250 small businesses with $4,000 mini-grants. The city is partnering with the nonprofit United Way to strategically target small businesses that were directly impacted by the pandemic but had difficulty accessing other relief funds.

ARP: Birmingham spending plan for over $40 million approved by the City Council

Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin’s spending plan for over $40 million of American Rescue Plan funds was approved by the City Council. The city said the money will be used for an affordable housing trust fund, blight removal, healthy food initiatives, grant matches, and other projects.

As reported by ABC 30/40, “’These dollars will be transformational for our city,’ said Birmingham Mayor Woodfin. ‘Thanks to the support of our city council, we will be able to further build up our communities and support our residents and businesses in a number of ways.’”

ARP: Lansing MI, Approved Nearly $2 Million for Community Groups to Boost Their Impact

Lansing Mayor Andy Schor and the city council approved nearly $2 million in American Rescue Plan funds for community groups to boost their impact. Schor worked to ensure investments went to organizations providing services to diverse demographics and locations within the city, such as helping those experiencing housing and food insecurity, supporting initiatives for LGBTQ+ youth and other youth education programs, and improving access to health care. Mayor Schor hopes that this will be a step forward after the effects of COVID-19 as well as help the residents who use these organizations.

As reported by WILX, “These funds provided by the federal government through ARPA are going to help fund some great programs all across Lansing and for Lansing residents. This diverse group of organizations are doing great work in our community, especially after the effects of COVID on Lansing. Being able to help share this one-time funding to boost their programs as a result of the COVID pandemic is a fantastic step forward,” said Schor. 

ARP: Louisville KY, Pre-Apprenticeship Programs Provides Jobs in Financial Crisis

The White House touted Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s efforts on workforce training at a summit on the American Rescue Plan and the Workforce. With $40 million in ARPA funds set aside to support workforce development, the mayor spoke at the event about the growth of Kentuckiana Builds, a pre-apprenticeship program that teaches specialized construction skills. “What so many people need is just a little bit of help, but city governments are strapped financially and what the ARPA funds have been able to do is take our dreams and turn them into reality,” Fischer said. Mayor Fischer hopes the program will help fill the need for construction workers in Louisiana as well as support participants through the financial crisis. Fischer used ARPA funds to serve additional participants, including wraparound services for underinvested communities such as formerly incarcerated individuals.


Equity Initiative: Representative Fentrice Driskell Introduced Legislation to Uncover and Restore Forgotten African American Cemeteries

Florida House Minority Leader Fentrice Driskell introduced a bipartisan Abandoned African American Cemeteries bill that would help uncover, maintain, and record forgotten African American cemeteries in the state. She created the task force after learning of a forgotten cemetery in Tampa buried beneath a city-owned housing development and continued to learn of the historic disregard for Black cemeteries that were often unregulated and sold without regard to who was buried there. The bill gained growing support from both Democrats and Republicans. Despite its unanimous support in all of its House committees, HB 1215 did not advance out of the Senate. Driskell was able to secure $750,000 in funding to ensure the topic is taught throughout the state’s curriculum and pledged to continue advocating for and educating the public about abandoned Black cemeteries.


Equity Initiative: Representative Nima Kulkarni Introduces New Legislation to Advance Tenant Protections

Kentucky Representative Nima Kulkarni introduced three bills to enhance tenant protections. Responding to housing issues exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, Kulkarni introduced bills HB 159 that would expunge any history of eviction from a tenants’ record after one year, HB 160 that would require landlords to keep tenants’ possessions 21 days after an eviction, and HB 152 that would revise a 1970 law known as the Uniform Residential Landlord Tenant Act (URLTRA) and would establish consistent rules throughout the state for tenants and landlords. Kulkarni believes that the current version of URLTRA focuses on protecting landlords over tenants, an issue that was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. “We saw this narrative kind of brought up during the pandemic of you know, landlords versus tenants. And that’s not really how this works,” said Kulkarni. “Landlords need tenants, tenants need landlords, everybody has a duty of care to each other.”


Equity Initiative: County Executive Alsobrooks Works to Address Historical Discrimination Against Minority/Women-owned Business

County Executive Angela Alsobrooks made it a priority of her administration to investigate any discriminatory practices in awarding county contracts to minority and women-owned businesses. In October 2022, she released the results of Prince George’s County’s Utilization and Availability Study, also known as the Disparity Study which reported the historical disparities in the use of Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE) and their availability in the marketplace. This study found historical disparity in the use of certain Minority/Women-owned Business Enterprises and this concrete evidence allows the County to move forward with legislation to “[ensures] minority-and women-owned businesses have equal opportunity to provide goods and services to [the] County,” added Alsobrooks. The County will set regulations requiring potential new businesses to subcontract to a percentage of historically underutilized businesses, with the goal of making small and minority-owned businesses the backbone of the local economy. In addition, Alsobrooks points to the potential for families to build generational wealth in the County with thriving businesses.

ARP: Richmond VA, Investing in Equity Agenda to help Children and Families Thrive

With an eye toward a more inclusive future, Richmond, Virginia is centering an infusion of federal funds on advancing its equity agenda. In this agenda, which the City Council passed unanimously in May 2021, equity is defined as, “empower[ing] people and communities that have experienced past injustices by removing barriers to access and opportunity.” 

Led by Mayor Levar Stoney, Richmond is leveraging $155 million from the American Rescue Plan to embrace and advance the city’s commitment to equity. 

Children and Families

The city’s largest investment – $78 million – is focused on children and families. More specifically, much of the funding will go towards community centers, walking trails, and access to green spaces. In fact, the new and refurbished community centers will be within a ten minute walk of 100,000 residents who previously lacked access to such spaces so close to their homes. 

During outreach conversations, community centers were a major desire of Richmond residents. And not just buildings, but spaces that incorporate multi-generational opportunities for all residents. Places where children could play sports during the day, families could receive assistance applying for benefits, and senior citizens could learn computer skills or play Bingo in the evening. 

While looking to the future, Stoney and his team are not neglecting the difficulties some residents continue to face in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to help families with needs such as child care, food, housing costs, or transportation, the city is providing Visa gift cards to families experiencing hardships through a second iteration of the Family Crisis Fund. The direct cash infusion allows families to use the funds on what they need most. 

In order to lift up the struggling child care sector, Richmond once again turned to its equity agenda for guidance. The city will invest $1 million in the stabilization and expansion of high-quality child care programs and preschools. Of this, $500,000 will be made available to eligible nonprofit and charitable organizations through direct grants from the Office of Children and Families; an additional $500,000 will be disbursed by Smart Beginnings of Greater Richmond in order to support private businesses like family day homes that offer these services but are ineligible for grants from the city.


Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney celebrated the opening of a new child care facility, made possible by $300,000 in American Rescue Plan funds. The new center will serve children between the ages of two months and five years, giving Richmond families another option for high-quality care. Overall, Stoney has invested more than $600,000 in federal funding for new child care facilities, allowing more than 200 Richmond families to have access to affordable childcare. Mayor Stoney added, “Every Richmond family with children under 5 deserves to have access to preschool programs that meet their unique needs, including full-day, full-year programs like Sprout School.”



Stoney is also using ARP funds to renovate and improve two of the city’s public housing complexes. The city will spend $6.8 million to redevelop the 68-year-old Creighton Court public housing community, replacing 504 existing units with up to 700 new apartments and homes. This investment will greatly benefit the East End community, and continue the new construction of quality, affordable housing for over 500 families

Another $5.5 million will go towards redeveloping the Highland Grove Redevelopment Project in North Richmond. These dollars will allow for the first phase of this redevelopment – which will ultimately results in 122 new for-sale homes.

ARP: Richmond Invests in Health Care Equity

Mayor Levar Stoney proposed a bold Equity Agenda for the city’s American Rescue Plan allocation and over the summer put these funds into action through the Health Equity Fund and Positive Youth Development Fund. The Health Equity Fund awarded $230,000 in its first round of grants to programs serving vulnerable residents and that also fill in gaps of service, such as providing clinical mental health services in satellite centers directly in the community. In June, the city announced partnerships with 37 youth organizations that will receive grants from the Positive Youth Development Fund to provide positive youth development and youth violence prevention opportunities.

ARP: St. Louis MO, Youth Engagement & Violence Prevention

Mayor Jones invested $5.5 million of American Rescue Plan funds to invest in community organizations working to interrupt cycles of violence through prevention and intervention. In addition to providing employment services, housing, and mental health resources to individuals with justice system involvement, the city also invested in youth violence prevention programs. A portion of the funds will be invested in Project Haki, a violence prevention program that began in the city’s 22nd ward. With the additional funding, Project Haki will be able to support initiatives such as summer programs for children in the community and the reclamation of local parks that have been hot spots for crime and drug use. Additionally, the funds will connect citizens with employment services, mental health resources, and drug rehab centers.