PROJECTUsing Federal Economic Recovery Funds to Advance Local Inclusive Recovery Goals

The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives in the US and disrupted millions of jobs, but these consequences have not been borne equally across American society. Households earning low incomes and communities of color have disproportionately shouldered the brunt of the pandemic’s health and economic effects, and this has worsened existing inequities. As the economy begins to recover, ensuring these communities share equitably in the recovery is critical.

Federal pandemic-response packages have provided an unprecedented amount of aid to state and local governments, including $800 billion that can be used flexibly to promote an inclusive recovery. These resources create an unparalleled opportunity for advocates and local decisionmakers to ensure that federal funds reach communities that need them most, close equity gaps exacerbated by the pandemic, and address the root causes of inequities. To take advantage of this opportunity, local leaders need timely data and evidence to ensure funds are used effectively and equitably.

Supported with a grant from the Kresge Foundation through the Shared Prosperity Partnership, the Urban Institute aims to help meet these data and evidence needs through the following activities:

  • Conducting research to draw lessons from previous federal recovery efforts
  • Identifying, quantifying, and understanding federal economic recovery funds that can be used for inclusive recovery efforts
  • Collaborating with local partners in three cities—the Chicago Community Trust in Chicago, IL; Innovate Memphis in Memphis, TN; and the Rochester Area Community FoundationLeading with Our Values, and the North Star Coalition in Rochester, NY—to support efforts that align federal economic recovery funds with local inclusive recovery goals
  • Sharing lessons with other local leaders and federal policymakers to shed light on what it takes to ensure equitable and effective use of federal funds.

As we conduct this work, we will continue to share resources and lessons here.


Lessons from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for an Inclusive Recovery from the Pandemic (brief)

Lessons from the 2009 Recovery Act for an Inclusive Recovery from the Pandemic (blog post)

How Equity Helps Lift All Boats (fact sheet)

Tracking Federal Economic Recovery Funds to Communities (guide)

City Specific Resources:

Rochester, NY

A Coalition in Rochester, New York, Shows How Local Groups Can Encourage Cities to Promote an Inclusive Recovery (blog post)

Harnessing Federal Funds for Inclusive Recovery in Rochester, NY (fact sheet)

Aligning the Use of Recovery Funds with Community Goals in Rochester, New York (fact sheet)

What Policies and Programs Can Support an Inclusive Recovery in Rochester, New York? (fact sheet)

Memphis, TN

Harnessing Federal Funds for Inclusive Recovery in Memphis, Tennessee (fact sheet)

Chicago, IL

Harnessing Federal Funds for Inclusive Recovery in Chicago (fact sheet)


The Shared Prosperity Partnership—a collaboration of the Urban Institute, the Kresge Foundation, the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program, and Living Cities—convenes local leaders in select communities across the United States to discuss challenges to inclusive growth and provide data, research, and access to national experts, networks, and financial resources.

Tags Inclusive recovery
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