Mayor Levar Stoney: Mayor’s Alliance to End Childhood Hunger

NewDEAL Leader Richmond, VA Mayor Levar Stoney is chairing the new Mayors Alliance to End Childhood Hunger, launched this week, with more than 50 other mayors already signed on, including 14 other NewDEALers. The Alliance seeks individual and collective leadership from cities nationwide to take meaningful action against childhood hunger, including publicly speaking on hunger issues, expansion of SNAP and P-EBT opportunities, and providing better financial assistance for school meals. Read more about the Alliance, or check out their one-pager on actions mayors can take.

Mayor Zeb Smathers: Federal Funds Help Shape the Hometown of Tomorrow

This week, the Canton, NC governing board, led by NewDEAL Leader Mayor Zeb Smathers, met to map the town’s recovery from a devastating flood last year that wreaked havoc on homes and businesses, using this moment of tragedy as a catalyst for more transformative change. Mayor Smathers is now considering multiple federal funding streams that have the potential to transform his town and ensure it embodies, as Smathers puts it, “the hometown of tomorrow.” For example, the governing board is considering selling riverfront land to FEMA as part of the agency’s buyout program. The land, if sold, could be turned into a park system for residents. Other rebuilding projects include an all-abilities playground, a dog park, and an aquatics center. Read this article for more on how Canton is turning tragedy into opportunity, and listen to our recent podcast interview with Mayor Smathers to hear him discuss the flood and how his town is building back.

Senator Sarah McBride: Paid Leave Becomes Law in Delaware

Delaware Governor John Carney has signed the Healthy Delaware Families Act, sponsored and championed by NewDEAL Leader Senator Sarah McBride. The law, which passed the legislature with bipartisan support, creates a statewide paid family and medical leave program that will provide workers with up to 12 weeks of paid leave, including to care for a new child, deal with a chronic medical condition, support a family member with a health issue, or address the impact of a family member’s military deployment. “Through collaboration and compassion, we have shown that small states can do big things for the people we represent,” Senator McBride said. Read more here about the legislation, which takes full effect on January 1, 2025, and can serve as a model for other policymakers.

ARPA: Phoenix AZ, Resilient Food System Providing Healthy Meals for Families

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego has utilized American Rescue Plan funds to create one of the city’s most impactful programs, Feed Phoenix Food Program. The funding allocation through the Phoenix Resilient Food System is distributed to a series of related programs with the goal of developing more sustainable food options for Phoenix residents. This effort includes funding that will provide resources to local and neighborhood food banks, food kitchens, and investments to address food deserts and help support existing and new businesses providing healthy food to the community. The impact has been significant, including:

  • Collectively the various programs delivered over 264,000 meals
  • Funding to community food pantries has helped serve nearly 2 million pounds of food to 169,000 individuals and families.
  • The various programs have created 17 jobs and 7 Urban Agriculture Fellowship
  • Backyard Food Production Pilot installed 53 garden systems, helping develop gardens and train residents located in food deserts.

ARPA: Scranton PA, Creates Community Wellness Programs and Invests in Community Programs

Scranton received $68.7 million in ARPA funds, and Mayor Paige Cognetti work to ensure the funding is invested to give people access to resources, rebuild the infrastructure systems that impact their everyday lives, and foster equitable wealth generation that targets the needs of Scranton residents. As of February 2023, Scranton awarded $1 million in grants to nearly 50 nonprofit organizations in need of financial recovery. Another $950,000 helped the support and creation of community wellness programs, including projects focused on behavioral health and mental wellness, drug overdose  prevention, and violence prevention. 

“Supporting a city that only recently shed its status as a financially distressed municipality is no easy  task,” Mayor Cognetti said. “This once-in-a-lifetime ARPA funding is helping us to accelerate progress and promote the people and organizations that make Scranton a wonderful place to live and  work.” 

ARP: Oakland County MI, Invests in Food Assistance Programs

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter announced $950,000 American Rescue Plan funds for food assistance grants to help eligible residents met their basic needs and access nutritious food. In response to rising inflation, Coulter goal is to reach any Oakland County resident struggling with food insecurity. The county will help expand the impact of existing food assistance programs and encourage residents to use the support for fresh produce at local farmers’ markets. Additionally, Coulter announced that the county is partnering with the Poverty Solutions Initiative at the University of Michigan to conduct an extensive healthy food system landscape study that will examine how transportation routes affect peoples’ access to nutritious sources of food. “In the wealthiest county in Michigan, more than 11% of our children are listed as food insecure, up from 8% before the pandemic, and it’s not just in the cities with greater poverty numbers that are affected,” Coulter said. “We don’t want our families to scrimp on other essentials, like rent or utilities or medicines, so they can make sure they don’t go hungry.”


ARP: Sonoma County CA, Invests in Equity Programs

Sonoma County Board Chair James Gore approved $39.2 million in American Rescue Plan funds to invest in the county’s Community Resilience Fund to assist those who felt the greatest economic and health disparities during the pandemic. Projects range from training childcare workers to the Small Business Equity & Recovery program, which is targeted at minority-owned businesses. Project proposals must address one of ten identified priority areas, including educational disparities, food assistance, and mental health. The county is encouraging proposals from businesses or nonprofits to promote collaboration, and prioritizing projects that seek to address gaps in education, health, and wealth across racial, ethnic, gender, or geographic lines. A current project making use of the funds is expanding rural broadband to address the disparity in access felt by low-income students.



ARP: Louisville KY, Invests in Families

Mayor Greg Fischer announced that Louisville will spend $87.4 million of ARP funding to invest in childcare, parks, pools, and public health. The city will also fund improvements to the library system, including by opening up two new branches. Fischer believes that the investments will benefit every part of the community, especially those most in need of support.

ARP: Boise ID, Looks to Reduce Obstacles for Child Care Workers

Through a combination of regulatory changes and funds from the American Rescue Plan, Boise Mayor Lauren McLean is making it easier for child care facilities to operate. The city recently approved an ordinance change, allowing for temporary licenses for workers when they pass local and state background checks, permitting folks to start work before federal background checks are complete. 

City officials noted that it is rare for someone to pass the first two checks and fail the last one. Additionally, for the next two years, the city is footing the bill for license application fees for all new child care workers. Prior to the change, workers paid more than $80 for a license application as well as up to $50 for a First Aid and CPR class.

Recognizing that addressing the child care crisis is beyond a single solution, Boise plans to use ARP funds to invest in child care infrastructure on multiple fronts. Child care was identified as one of five top areas of need by community groups and residents during the city’s ARP community engagement sessions. While ARP investment details will not be finalized until the city’s grant application process is closed, the city expects to allocate funds for the physical development of child care facility space, in addition to further reducing barriers to employment for child care workers.


Mayor McLean announced that Boise will use $3 million of ARP funds to provide one time payments of $1,500 to two thousand childcare providers and workers. In the first 24 hours that the Childcare Incentive Pay Program application was open, it received over 440 applications.

ARP: Michigan Invests Billions to Ensuring Access to Child Care for Working Families

Through grants to child care programs, bonuses to child care professionals, and other initiatives, the State of Michigan invested $1.4 billion to expand access to quality, affordable child care for more working families. A crucial portion of the funding to ensure the child care industry can recover from pandemic hardships has come from the American Rescue Plan. 

The state approved nearly 6,000 applications for aid from child care centers programs, totaling more than $350 million. The average grant to a licensed child care center was more than $100,000. 

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist know that child care professionals need additional assistance too. The state is spending $30 million to provide bonuses of up to $1,000 to more than 38,000 child care workers.


Michigan recently completed its second round of grant distribution. So far, the state has awarded over $370 million to more than 5,500 child care centers, group homes, and tribal centers. Additionally, 38,000 full- and part-time child care professionals have received up to $1,000 in bonuses. Lt. Gov. Gilchrist has also helped advance the “Caring for Mi Future” plan, which will invest $100 million to open 1,000 new child care programs by the end of 2024. The program is set to release its first round of grants at the end of the summer.

Building on the success of these program, Governor Whitmer announced as part of her Lowering MI Costs initiative, a new Pre-K For All program to ensure every 4-year-old in Michigan can free, public preschool education. Highlights of this new initiative include: $73 million to open additional slots to serve more kids; $103 million to help more families enroll with an outreach campaign, covering transportation, and providing year-round options; $50 million in start up grants for 2,000 new classrooms.