The Melville Trust’s vision is that all Black, Indigenous and Latino/a/x people with extremely low incomes will live in safe, stable, affordable housing in neighborhoods that allow them to thrive. To make this vision a reality and to fully embrace the power of our new grantmaking strategy, we collaborate with other partners and funders who share our focus on racial equity.
For the Trust, that means working with organizations that have a clear commitment to improving the lives of people who have been most excluded from economic stability and wealth-building, particularly Black, Indigenous and Latino/a/x people with extremely low incomes.
One such partnership is through Living Cities, which the Trust joined in June of this year.
Living Cities is a collaborative of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions working to close racial income and wealth gaps in American cities. Living Cities has a well-established and recognized anti-racist approach that addresses decades of structural racism and racist policies, which have denied investment and stripped wealth from Black, Indigenous and Latino/a/x communities. By leveraging their network of leaders across the public, private, and philanthropic sectors, the organization aims to advance anti-racist policies and practices that address the root causes of systemic inequity and undo the legacy of racism in communities most harmed by racial inequality.
Through the Capital for the New Majority, Living Cities increases direct investments in funds managed by Black, Indigenous and People of Color and funds that embed equity considerations into their practices and underwriting. By shifting the way capital flows into communities, these investments are community driven, achieve community priorities, and repair the harms of structural racism.
Our engagement with Living Cities will help us align our actions with other foundations and financial institutions to advance more equitable outcomes for those experiencing housing instability and homelessness. Together, we can work to repair the harms of structural racism and increase opportunity and wealth for these communities.Alyia Gaskins, Senior Program Officer at the Melville Trust
Part of our grant support will go to Living Cities’ Closing the Gaps Network to help build an analysis of the housing and entrepreneurship ecosystems in six cities – Albuquerque, NM; Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN; and Rochester, NY. This analysis includes an exploration of the historical, political, and cultural issues affecting the network’s efforts to advance racial equity. Community members including Black, Indigenous and Latino/a/x residents seeking more stable or permanent housing will be actively engaged in the process to develop a local workplan.
We know that we will learn a lot from our partnership, and, like all good partnerships, it will inform other areas of our work including our newly launched Partnership for Equitable and Resilient Communities. As PERC communities create equitable development plans and build their capacity to absorb and deploy federal funds in ways that benefit neighborhoods that have had little say in what gets created, we expect to apply what we learn from Living Cities.
Focusing on the populations most impacted, addressing systemic barriers and working collaboratively with people closest to the issues are at the heart of the Trust’s grantmaking and we are excited to expand this work through our partnership with Living Cities.