About Living Cities
Founded in 1991, Living Cities is an innovative philanthropic collaborative of 22 of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions. Our members are not simply funders. They participate at the senior management level on the Living Cities Board of Directors and contribute the time of 80+ expert staff toward crafting and implementing our agenda, which is focused on improving the lives of low-income people and the urban areas in which they live.
What We Do
Historically, challenges faced by our nation's cities have been addressed using a "squeaky wheel" approach—moving from one critical issue to another but never addressing the whole. Today there is a general recognition that we need to treat our cities' problems comprehensively. We must take an integrative approach, simultaneously strengthening neighborhood institutions from the bottom up and reengineering, from the top down, the public systems that fail to create adequate opportunities. We must align local, state and federal policies to effectively address the issues surrounding jobs, housing, climate change, asset building and health care. We must leverage the collective power of the public, private and philanthropic sectors especially through new and innovative ways of aggregating capital. Over the past 18 years, Living Cities' members have collectively invested over $600 million which has, in turn, leveraged more than $16 billion in tangible community assets—a remarkable leverage ratio of 29:1. Our funding has helped build homes, stores, schools, child care, health care and job-training centers and other community assets.