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Bowser Administration Announces New Partnership to Boost Upward Mobility and Address Racial Inequities in Economic Outcomes

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

(WASHINGTON, DC) – Today, the Bowser Administration, led by the DC Office of Planning (OP) and the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) and in partnership with the Urban Institute and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, announced a new program to address racial inequities in economic outcomes, specifically by boosting upward mobility. The partnership will focus on better aligning and targeting District programs, integrating data on racial and geographic inequities into program evaluation, and proposing new approaches to support economic and social mobility for Black residents and other residents of color.

“With new COVID-19 recovery investments and continued leadership from Mayor Bowser to boldly tackle complex challenges such as affordable housing, we have a rare opportunity to make substantial progress on improving opportunities for economic mobility,” said Andrew Trueblood, Director of OP. “This valuable collaboration with the Urban Institute and the Gates Foundation is a critical opportunity for the District to coordinate, align, and evaluate existing and new programs to address longstanding economic and social inequities that impact our residents and our communities.”

The partnership, which will be led by OP and DMPED, with support from the Mayor’s Office of Policy, will convene an interagency group as well as work with community organizations and impacted residents. The collaboration will build on recent efforts to target racial inequities. Last week, Mayor Bowser kicked off a citywide disparity study to examine the availability and utilization of minority- and women-owned business under DC procurement and contracting activities. In 2020, the Mayor announced a new strategy for enhancing equity and making DC’s prosperity more inclusive: an equity inclusion prioritization in Request for Proposals (RFP) that will increase access to development opportunities for entities or organizations that are owned or majority controlled by individuals determined to be part of a socially disadvantaged population.

DC is one of eight jurisdictions across the country receiving targeted technical assistance from the Urban Institute and limited funding from the Gates Foundation to promote upward mobility, address racial inequities in economic outcomes, and build healthier and more resilient neighborhoods. The other communities participating in the cohort include Alameda, California; Boone, Missouri; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Ramsey, Minnesota; Riverside, California; St. Lucie, Florida; and Summit, Ohio.

For more information on the Upward Mobility program, visit http://urbn.is/mobilitycohort. For more information about the DC Office of Planning, visit our home page at planning.dc.gov.