PROJECTUpward Mobility Cohort RFI

The Upward Mobility Cohort RFI application period has ended. Applicants have been notified about whether they have been selected as finalists as of October 19, 2020.


The Urban Institute is excited to announce a new opportunity for up to eight counties to join an Upward Mobility Cohort. Selected counties will receive funding and 18 months of tailored technical assistance from experts at Urban to adopt and apply a set of mobility metrics to better understand and advance upward mobility in their communities. This Request for Information (RFI) invites county applicants to submit a letter of interest; 20–25 applicants will be selected as finalists and invited to submit full proposals to participate in the cohort.

As part of this technical assistance, Urban will 

  • work with county staff and cross-sector leaders to examine how each county’s mobility metrics compare to other jurisdictions;
  • analyze county mobility metrics and local administrative data to better understand any racial and ethnic disparities and help target strategies to places and people;
  • support each county in developing a “mobility action plan” that identifies key challenges across policy areas and devise strategies (including policies, programs, and investments) to improve local conditions for mobility and outcomes for residents;
  • help counties develop a cross-sector “mobility coalition” of local leaders and experts—or work with an existing local coalition with this focus—who will guide the development of the mobility action plan; and
  • bring together county cohort members for regular peer-learning opportunities where counties can share strategies to promote upward mobility and help develop best practices.

The full RFI can be accessed below. The RFI focuses on three main areas:

  • Commitment to mobility and equity. It is important that counties demonstrate commitment to upward mobility and racial equity and, ideally, a history of addressing these issues. In your response, include at least one example of a county project that sought to increase upward mobility and address racial inequities, and describe its impact.
    • What value would this engagement bring to your county and community?
    • How does your county and its leadership currently prioritize boosting the upward mobility of residents through your programs, policies, and investments?
    • Describe your county’s commitment to advancing racial equity and reducing disparities. Why is racial equity important to your county’s efforts to address upward mobility?
  • Cross-sector partnerships and community engagement. To engage effectively in this work to boost community-wide upward mobility, a county needs to have a strong set of partnerships, mechanisms for community engagement, and experience working across departments and sectors within and outside government. In your response, please include at least one example of a cross-sector partnership that your county has led, describing key goals, outcomes, and challenges of the partnership.
    • Describe your county’s existing partnerships with cities and towns around efforts that promote upward mobility.
    • Describe your existing mechanisms for soliciting feedback from and engaging with residents on important policy topics and strategies.
    • Describe your county’s existing partnerships with data partners (like universities or nonprofits) and other nonprofit, business, and philanthropic partners that will help support an effective engagement.
  • Capacity. This engagement will require a significant time commitment of staff across multiple departments representing a range of roles and skills. It is important for county staff engaged in the process to understand local data systems and be interested in and able to interpret data and apply it to strategic planning and decisionmaking. In your response, please include at least one example of an initiative demonstrating your county’s capacity to use data to inform decisionmaking and describe its impact.
    • Describe how you would staff the county project team that will partner with Urban. What key roles and skills will be needed?
    • Describe your county’s capacity to use data to inform policy and programmatic decisions (e.g., staff expertise, integrated data systems, experience with data-informed planning and policy).
    • What capacity challenges do you envision needing to address to successfully participate in this engagement?

Responses to the RFI are due by 11:59pm EDT on September 16, 2020. Selected applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal and will be notified of their selection by October 19, 2020.


Download the full RFI here (270.18 KB PDF)

Research Areas Economic mobility and inequality Wealth and financial well-being
Policy Centers Research to Action Lab