The U.S. Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo Announce Winners of 2017 CommunityWINS Monetary Grants

Washington, District of Columbia, UNITED STATES

Miami Beach, FL, June 25, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Mayors Edwin Lee of San Francisco (CA), Jorge O. Elorza of Providence (RI) and J. Richard Gray of Lancaster (PA) have been recognized with top honors in the 2017 CommunityWINS -- Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization -- Grant Program, administered by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and funded by the Wells Fargo Foundation.

Presented at Conference’s 85th Annual Meeting in Miami Beach, the awards include monetary grants to city-based non-profit organizations and recognize mayors for exemplary leadership in developing local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents in three categories: neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and job creation.

An independent panel of judges, selected by The U.S. Conference of Mayors, determined the winning cities from a pool of 245 applicantse in three populations groups -- small, medium and large.

Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors commented, “Our 2017 CommunityWINS Grant Program gives the Conference an opportunity to showcase positive change happening now in our cities to make a difference in the lives of residents. We are grateful to Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the CommunityWINS Program, which also highlights the talent and commitment of mayors and city governments.”

  • San Francisco Mayor Edwin Lee was presented $300,000 on behalf of Main Street Launch for its work with Chinatown Initiative for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovation -- a collaborative effort to utilize three key strategies to support neighborhood stabilization, economic development and job creation in San Francisco's Chinatown.

  • Providence Mayor Jorge O. Elorza was presented $150,000 on behalf of Farm Fresh Rhode Island for its unique -- Harvest Kitchen Program – funds will be used to plan, construct and fit out a new state-of-the-art Harvest Kitchen to be located at the Rhode Island Food Hub, a 3.2 acre site located in the midst of a neighborhood that was once the heart of Rhode Island manufacturing and industry.

  • Lancaster Mayor J. Richard Gray was presented $150,000 on behalf of the Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County in support of the CAPital Workforce Program, an ex offender construction training initiative focused on alleviating lead paint hazards in home-based daycares in Lancaster City.

Additional Outstanding Achievement awards were also presented to: Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed on behalf of 3Star Community Corporation ($75,000); Santa Fe Mayor Javier Gonzales on behalf of MAKE Santa Fe ($50,000); and Ithaca (NY) Mayor Svante L. Myrick on behalf of Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District ($50,000).

The Grants were presented by Scott Coble, Florida Lead Region President, Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo’s support makes the CommunityWINS Program possible. ”Wells Fargo is delighted to collaborate with the US Conference of Mayors to make these grants available for nonprofits and enable them to make vital improvements in their cities,” said Coble “Wells Fargo cares about the communities we serve and we’re awed by the tremendous interest in the inaugural CommunityWINS grant program that will add up to make a big difference in helping revitalize neighborhoods.”

Following are brief descriptions of the winning programs and grant amounts for each:


San Francisco - $300,000 to Main Street Launch

One challenge San Francisco's Chinatown faces as the oldest Chinatown in the country is the steady phase-out of small businesses that have been institutions in the community for 20 or more years. These legacy small business owners are finding that their children do not wish to take over the family business or do not have the adequate business acumen to run the business. Many owners end up closing their businesses, leaving vacancies across the neighborhood, which results in lost revenue for the city, decreased earning potential for residents and the loss of a community landmark and asset. The Chinatown Initiative for Entrepreneurial Spirit and Innovation will employ three strategies to support neighborhood stabilization, economic development and job creation in San Francisco. Chinatown’s emerging and legacy business owners will be strategically engaged in Technical assistance, marketing will also be included in a business directory. The businesses will also have access to data collection and analysis.  (250,000+ population)

Providence, RI - $150,000 to Farm Fresh Rhode Island

Farm Fresh Rhode Island, is in the midst of developing the Rhode Island Food Hub, a 3.2 acre site located in the midst of a neighborhood that was once the heart of Rhode Island manufacturing and industry. CommunityWINS grant funds will be used to plan, construct and fit out a new state-of-the-art Harvest Kitchen to be located at the Hub. Over the last 50 years, however, the area has suffered from considerable disinvestment and vacancy. The Hub will serve as a Food and Agriculture Center where all of Farm Fresh's programs can be situated, and the location will connect farmers, eaters and attract other food and agriculture related businesses to co-locate on the same site. Harvest Kitchen provides food industry job training and employment for young people aged 16-20 who are recruited in partnership with the Office of Juvenile Probation at the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families. In 2016, the Kitchen turned out 26 different product lines totaling more than 1,000 cases of product. (75,000-250,000 population)

Lancaster, PA - $150,000 to Community Action Partnership (CAP) of Lancaster County

CAPital Workforce is a construction training initiative focused on renovating distressed homes in primarily high-poverty neighborhoods in Lancaster City. CAP hires workers that have barriers to employment, such as a criminal background, and provides them with on-the-job training. Grant funding through CommunityWINS will be used to alleviate lead paint hazards in home-based daycares in Lancaster City. It is anticipated that over the course of the year-long grant round, CAPital Workforce will make ten to twelve daycares lead safe; and, in the process, crew members will become skilled in building trades and will be qualified to secure living wage employment. There are now over 130 home-based daycares in the city. The primary source of lead in Lancaster is lead paint and lead contaminated dust that is found in buildings constructed prior to 1978. The vast majority, 82 percent, of the housing units in the city were built prior to 1960. (75,000 population)


Atlanta - $75,000 to 3Star Community Corporation

The Affordable Housing and Healthy Communities Project is a collaborative effort with the City of Atlanta the 3Star Community Corporation, which includes Atlanta Public schools, Morehouse College of Medicine, Emory School of Public Health, The Westside Future Fund and many non-profits to stabilize a two-square mile neighborhood west of downtown Atlanta known as Historic West Atlanta. 3Star purchases and renovates historic small abandoned/blighted 4-16 unit apartment communities built between 1956 and 1965 in the West Atlanta area. The local elementary school that serves the West Atlanta families is Bethune Elementary and it is one of the worst performing schools in Georgia (ranked 1224/1233 of Georgia Elementary Schools). The Star-C service model of community stabilization through interconnecting affordable housing preservation, public health and education includes: free after-school and summer camps, affordable dental/primary physician care, and gardening plots for the resident families. CommunityWINS funding will help purchase vacant and abandoned apartment communities and renovate them into safe and decent affordable housing for the working families in the neighborhood. The initiative will include renovation components including code compliance and energy efficiency for 100 units. (250,000+ population)

Santa Fe/MAKE Santa Fe ($50,000)

The DigiFab Youth Lab provides training in advanced manufacturing and digital fabrication techniques for underserved youth. This program empowers them to be smart, skilled workers for the next phase of American manufacturing and entrepreneurship. Funds will be used to extend the pilot curriculum in the local makerspace into a program that is capable of serving multiple cohorts simultaneously and can be replicated and adapted to other communities. Participants who complete the 12-week course of nearly 200 hours of training are ready for employment with businesses that use additive, extractive and CNC based equipment or related software and processes. Such employers range from small, bespoke manufacturers and artisans to large, established factories. Graduates of the program also learn design thinking, teamwork, emotional intelligence and other key soft skills that allow them to excel in the workplace, as well as in the larger community. (75,000-250,000 population)

Ithaca/Ithaca Downtown Business Improvement District ($50,000)

"Pay It Forward Ithaca" is a community partnership program that enables persons in need to easily access food, toiletries, and personal supplies on the street. A person in need simply goes to one of eight (8) participating Downtown businesses and can each day pull from a bulletin board a note tag that is redeemable for food, batteries and other supplies, or toiletry items. "Pay It Forward" brings together interested merchants, the donating public, nonprofit providers, and the local Community Outreach Worker program. There is no red tape and no means testing- the sole criteria is individual need. CommunityWINS will help provide funds for replenishing bulletin boards at the participating businesses and marketing materials aimed at downtown workers and visitors. The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) has purchased three money collection kiosks, where the public can make personal donations with all proceeds also going toward providing items on the business bulletin boards. (75,000 population)

About The United States Conference of Mayors -- The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter at


A photo accompanying this announcement is available at


Contact Data