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Sustainable Cities

The Citi Foundation supports initiatives aimed at building vibrant, sustainable cities that offer economic opportunities for low-income residents. We support partnerships among local governments, community-based organizations, the private sector, and research institutions that are tackling the challenges faced by cities to improve municipal effectiveness and infrastructure, create affordable housing, promote environmental sustainability, and offer more economic opportunities and better services to low-income residents. We encourage the use of data and technology to understand challenges and gaps, identify opportunities for improvements in cities, and direct the use of limited resources to maximize impact.

Impact Target

Increases in urban-focused initiatives that contribute to the economic progress and/or environmental sustainability of low-income individuals and communities.


Program Examples:

There is a gap between the growing demand for sustainable urban services and cities’ ability to develop and finance innovative solutions. Alternative ways of providing infrastructure and financing public services do exist. However, although cities worldwide are experimenting with sustainable solutions, successes often remain isolated and do not result in scalable and replicable change. Financing Sustainable Cities is an initiative of the WRI Ross Center for Sustainable Cities and C40 Cities, funded by the Citi Foundation, focused on helping cities develop business models that can accelerate the implementation of sustainable urban solutions. The collaboration leverages the international experience and the complementary capabilities of each partner: WRI’s analytical and research competencies and long-term engagement with cities, the high-level connection with city leaders of C40 and the Citi Foundation’s urban economic progress agenda. The Initiative consists of three key components: the development of a learning community, the provision of technical assistance, and the delivery of a web-based engagement platform. Through these activities, the partners hope to accelerate the financing and implementation of sustainable urban projects that will improve the quality of life for residents in cities across the world.

To learn more, visit the Financing Sustainable Cities Initiative website.

The Citi Foundation and Living Cities launched the City Accelerator in March 2014 to foster innovation and promote collaboration between urban leaders to tackle some of their cities' most pressing issues. The City Accelerator has selected 17 U.S. cities to pilot innovative efforts that generate economic opportunities for low-income populations and help municipalities run more effectively. Participating cities also benefit from ongoing interaction with leading practitioners from around the country and share lessons learned to help other cities advance similar work. The City Accelerator builds on the Project on Municipal Innovation (PMI), a collaboration between Living Cities and Harvard's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, which brings together mayoral chiefs-of-staff and policy directors from 35 cities across the U.S. to discuss challenges facing their municipalities, including inefficiency in city government and inequality. The City Accelerator helps translate dialogue into action by giving cities seed funding to adopt many of the ideas discussed during the PMI sessions.

To learn more, visit the City Accelerator website.

To search for a full listing of grants in the Sustainable Cities portfolio, click here.

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