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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies choose Lansing for economic mobility grant

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WEDNESDAY, June 26 — Money from some of the world’s biggest philanthropies will be spent on addressing greater economic mobility for Lansing residents. Lansing was selected as one of the 10 cities nationwide to participate in the initiative.

The cities will share funding from a grant of $12 million donated in partnership by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Ballmer Group.

According to a press release by Mayor Andy Schor, the next 18 months will see Lansing increase access for residents to financial empowerment tools lead by the City of Lansing Office of Financial Empowerment with the funding.

“Lansing has developed its Office of Financial Empowerment (OFE) to provide opportunities for economic mobility for our residents,” Mayor Schor said in a press release.

“OFE provides free one-on-one financial counseling for residents, collaborates with MSUFCU and the Lansing School District to provide the Lansing SAVE program, houses the Offenders Success Program for re-entry citizens and advocates for access to safe, affordable banking products.”

Work at the OFE increased residents’ savings, decreased debt and created pathways to financial success, he added.

Lansing will also use the funding to pilot and measure the results of a Mobile Future Center, which will streamline several programs into one location for easier access, including Lansing SAVE and Lansing Promise among others, the press release said.

According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, its strategy on economic mobility grants aims to “systematically engage local leaders to find out what works and what gets in the way when tackling poverty.”

In 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $767 million in pro bono grants around the world.

The 10 cities participating in the grant are Albuquerque, New Mexico; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; Lansing, Michigan; New Orleans, Louisiana; Newark, New Jersey; Racine, Wisconsin; Rochester, New York; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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