With support from the Surdna Foundation and the Council on Competitiveness, Mt. Auburn and FutureWorks have led an action-learning network of regional leaders working to link economic growth to expanding economic opportunity for low-income individuals and communities, as part of a unified regional growth strategy. The network is strengthening the innovative efforts that are already underway in 10 regions, captures lessons coming out of the work, and is helping apply them to other regions across the US.
In response to the development of the Surdna Foundation’s new mission in 2009, the future of manufacturing in the U.S. emerged as an area of potential promise that could unite common goals and strategies across the foundation. As a result, the foundation became interested in developing a more comprehensive strategy to advance America’s manufacturing sector. To further its understanding of what a strategy to support manufacturing might encompass, the foundation asked Mt. Auburn Associates to help plan and facilitate a Manufacturing Roundtable in January 2010. This roundtable was comprised of 17 national experts, including local practitioners, policymakers, academics, and individuals representing the unions and the manufacturing business community. The purpose of the roundtable was to provide an opportunity for Surdna to learn from local and national experts about the challenges and opportunities for American manufacturing and to explore whether and how the foundation could expand its support in this area. Mt. Auburn authored a white paper that summarized the key findings of the Roundtable. The paper is available on the Surdna Foundation website.
In October 2009, the Surdna Foundation announced new programs to support its mission to help create just and sustainable communities. The work of what had been the Community Revitalization Program was refocused towards building “strong local economies.” As part of its process for thinking about its approach to building strong local economies, the foundation commissioned Mt. Auburn Associates to prepare a white paper on the structure and challenges of the nation’s workforce and economic development systems. This paper was originally presented as part of a November 9-10, 2009 Board of Trustees meeting.