City Accelerator Initiative Receives 2021 HUD Secretary's Award for Public-Private Partnerships

PITTSBURGH, PA (July 15, 2021) The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Council on Foundations have recognized the Citi Foundation and Living Cities for the 2021 Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships for launching the “City Accelerator” initiative. The City of Pittsburgh is one of the U.S. cities participating in the City Accelerator.  

The City Accelerator initiative competitively selects cities to receive flexible financial resources and technical expertise to test specific administrative, financial, political or cultural innovation efforts that produce stronger outcomes for residents and help cities run more efficiently, effectively, and equitably. 

The City of Pittsburgh is one of 10 U.S. cities participating in the inclusive procurement cohort and one of 27 U.S. cities that have been selected to participate in the City Accelerator since it started in 2014. Through its participation in the City Accelerator for inclusive procurement, the City has changed its procurement systems to better meet the needs of local businesses owned by women and people of color when they do business with the City. The City has:  

  • Implemented a 12-month procurement forecasting system called the Buying Plan so small businesses can view upcoming contracting opportunities from all city departments and authorities in one centralized place and have more time to prepare or plan their proposals. 

  • Shortened the time between when a contract is awarded and executed, which further helps small businesses plan for income from contracts and the labor and other costs they would need to complete their work.

  • Launched “Contract Connections: Bids for PGH,” a remote training series to help local, diverse small businesses learn how to participate in the City and other agencies’ procurement processes. 

“I’d like to congratulate the Citi Foundation and Living Cities for this well-deserved recognition for helping cities create systems and processes that promote equity and efficiency across the nation,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Pittsburgh has benefitted from the opportunity to change our procurement systems to meet the needs of our minority- and women-owned businesses. When minority- and women-owned businesses can get city contracts, our money is invested equitably into our communities and strengthens our local economy.” 

If the racial wealth gap were eliminated, it is estimated that tax revenues could increase by up to $325 billion for state and local governments, and the national GDP could rise by 22 percent. Government contracts have long served as a springboard for business growth for white owned businesses – including some leading U.S. businesses – and over the past fifty years, government procurement has evolved as a critical tool in addressing our nation’s history of economic exclusion by promoting diverse business formation and growth across the United States.  

“This award is a testament to our collective responsiveness to the needs of cities. As the City Accelerator expanded to 20 more cities in 2016, we learned that cities could not achieve improved economic opportunity for all without applying a racial equity lens to our work, ” said Living Cities CEO and President Ben Hecht.  

The Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships recognizes excellence in partnerships that have both transformed the relationships between the government and philanthropy sectors and led to measurable benefits in housing and community development, including increased economic development, health, safety, and education for low-income families across the country. This award is a testament to the cross-sector relationships developed through the City Accelerator between 27 unique U.S. cities, Living Cities, and Citi Foundation. 



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Molly Onufer
Communications Director
Mayor's Office