‘Working Cities Competition’ Brings Together Reserve Bank Presidents & Avangrid Foundation, for a Better New England


Avangrid Foundation Director, Nicole Licata Grant, was an invited guest of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, selected to join a meeting of the Conference of Federal Reserve Bank Presidents from around the country. The Presidents  assembled for their semi-annual meeting, which included a visit to Lowell, Massachusetts, a Working Cities Challenge winner.

The Working Cities Challenge (WCC) is part of a series of funding competitions offered to qualifying communities in New England by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. To date, WCC has provided millions in multi-year funding to cities in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island through a framework of collaborative engagement aimed at long-term systems change, which brings leaders from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to tackle a subset of the complex challenges faced by post-industrial communities. Under the WCC framework, these diverse stakeholders work together to impact sustainable development, increase economic opportunities, reduce poverty and achieve  better social outcomes for residents in a given target community or area, especially low-income persons and communities of color.


Lowell, a former mill town north of Boston, was one of the cities selected to receive a three-year grant lead by a diverse cohort of funders in an early round of the WCC. In Lowell, the assembled group heard from the local consortium - including representatives from the city, state and local housing coalition - on the revitalization of the Acre neighborhood, and how their effort might translate to other communities across America as they work toward helping Acre families and individuals living in subsidized housing make progress toward breaking the cycle of multi-generational poverty.

Nicole, who also sits on the Steering Committee for the Connecticut competition – where AVANGRID is headquartered – helped award grants to five cities in early 2018. She also joined the Fed presidents to speak about the private sector experience in supporting WCC and advocated for support in expanding WCC beyond New England, where the Boston Fed has jurisdiction. In addition to Connecticut, the Avangrid Foundation is the first corporate partner to commit to expansion of the WCC program to Northern New England, starting in 2019.

The future of AVANGRID is inseparably tied to “working communities” in the northeast and beyond. Our customers rely on the vitality of cities that are transforming themselves through collaborative partnerships, like that of the WCC.The Avangrid Foundation is committed to investing in sustainable communities and improving quality of life in the communities we operate in, inspired in part by the United Nations Sustainability Goals. The 17th Goal is “Partnerships for the Goals” - and the Working Cities Challenge is a great example of the vital role of interdisciplinary collaboration in solving the most pressing issues facing the world today.

Additional Links:

Boston Fed president, Vermont Governor announce collaborative effort to strengthen state’s rural towns, smaller cities

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AVANGRID supports all of the communities where we live and work growing sustainably. The WCC brings together the diverse community members necessary to drive financial, social, and environmental progress. Together, we can make a brighter future for these cities that are primed for a renaissance.