Evanston is one of six communities nationwide selected to participate in the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education, and Families Cities of Opportunity Initiative.

Cities of Opportunity, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is a 12-month technical assistance initiative aimed at helping cities make transformative policies and systems change to promote healthy people and thriving communities.

“Evanston is committed to advancing equity and opportunity in our community,” said Interim Director of Health & Human Services Ike Ogbo. “The Cities of Opportunity Initiative will allow City leaders, staff and community partners to engage more deeply with each other and with other leading cities to find solutions and advance policies that improve the health and well-being of our most vulnerable residents.”

Evanston’s Cities of Opportunity team will focus on affordable housing and health. Team members include Alderman Robin Rue Simmons, 5th Ward, staff from the health and community development departments, and an external partner, the Evanston Development Cooperative.

Other communities selected to participate in this year’s cohort through the competitive application process include Dubuque, Iowa; Duluth, Minnesota; Las Vegas, Nevada; Napa, California; and South Fulton, Georgia.

The NLC defines Cities of Opportunity as places where all residents can reach their full potential and live healthy, productive and fulfilling lives as part of a thriving community. In these cities, all residents—regardless of geography, race/ethnicity, age, background, gender or wealth—have access to:

  • Opportunities to learn and grow, from early childhood through postsecondary education
  • Affordable, safe and healthy housing
  • Economic opportunities, including family-supporting jobs and essential income supports
  • Transportation and social networks that connect them to jobs, schools and community resources
  • Safe neighborhoods that include accessible places to play and maintain active lifestyles
  • Affordable, healthy foods and other community and family necessities

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