Equality Indicators is Expanding to Five Cities Across the Country!

CUNY ISLG is Working with Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Tulsa to Measure and Track Equality Among Residents


The CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance (ISLG), in partnership with The Rockefeller Foundation and 100 Resilient Cities (100RC), announced the selection of five cities to receive support to develop a tool to track progress towards equality, helping decision makers craft more effective policies to assist communities in each city. This work will build on the model developed by ISLG to measure equality among diverse groups (e.g., racial and ethnic minorities, immigrants, individuals with disabilities) in New York City. The NYC model measures equality across six broad areas, including economy, education, health, housing, justice, and services.


The selected cities—Dallas, Oakland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, and Tulsa—will each work with ISLG to build a tool that prioritizes the needs of each city and will complement the comprehensive Resilience Strategies being developed or implemented as member cities of 100RC.


The tool will include a number of specific indicators to measure disparities across various sectors and groups that will be identified by each site. ISLG will work with each city and the local community to solidify their priorities and determine which broad areas to focus on. ISLG and the partner cities will then determine a list of final indicators drawing from local data in each of these areas, and together, these indicators will provide practical means to assess progress—or lack of progress—over time and connect it to policy development.


ISLG Executive Director Michael Jacobson said, “We’re proud to expand our work with The Rockefeller Foundation to measure equality in five diverse cities across the country. At this critical time when there is increased scrutiny of local government policies and practices, it’s important for jurisdictions look closely at the data they have to really understand what’s going on, what’s working, and where improvement needs to be made. This work will go a long way towards helping jurisdictions do this in a thoughtful and transparent way.”


“Achieving greater equality within our cities has been one of the defining challenges of the last few years,” said Peter Madonia, Chief Operating Officer, The Rockefeller Foundation. “Policy makers are committed to addressing these disparities through public programs, but traditionally lack the data that allows them to better identify the problems and ultimately the most effective solutions. The Rockefeller Foundation is proud to support CUNY in its efforts to help cities navigate the realities of these disparities so they can work towards policies that offer the greatest impact to achieving equality.”


Otis Rolley, North America Regional Director for 100 Resilient Cities said, “Our cities agree that increasing equity is key to building resilience, and this tool will be critical in helping them understand where they need to focus their efforts. If cities better understand where they’re equitable and where they’re not, their leaders both inside and outside government can tailor programs and initiatives in the most efficient and effective way possible. The selected cities will not only work to improve equity in their cities, but by developing and piloting this tool, will be helping cities all over the world address this critical challenge.”


Dallas City Manager T.C. Broadnax said, “Notwithstanding the tremendous wealth and prosperity that Dallas has long enjoyed, many of our residents continue to struggle to provide for themselves and their families. If Dallas is to achieve her highest potential as a truly resilient 21st century city, we must strive to expand this abundance of opportunity to our most vulnerable residents. Through the good work of this partnership and the knowledge that we gain, Dallas will endeavor to build an equitable and just city that supports all of our residents in their success and nurtures our children to thrive.”


“The City of Oakland is excited to be part of this cohort of cities working alongside Rockefeller to ensure we are measuring equity outcomes, particularly around our housing and economic security work which are key pillars of our Resilient Oakland playbook,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “True equity is when our entire community has equal access to opportunities that enable them to attain their full potential. Resilience in the face of chronic stresses, such as housing affordability or long-term unemployment, cannot be achieved until we focus on building this equity.”


“Participating in this selected cohort of the Equality Indicators Project is a great opportunity to tie together many of the leading efforts locally to build equity across the City. Using CUNY’s framework will allow us to tailor a Pittsburgh based equity measurement tool,” said Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto.


“August of 2014 has become a defining moment for both St. Louis and our nation,” said Mayor Lyda Krewson of the City of Saint Louis. “The protests that began in Ferguson marched down the streets of nearly every major American city. As a result, St. Louis now stands at the forefront of the national conversation about equity and the debilitating racial disparities across our communities. What we’ve learned through this conversation is that real equity cannot be defined by merely one indicator, but rather many, and it is something that we have to work toward continuously and with intention. The CUNY Equality Indicators grant and our partnership with 100 Resilient Cities presents St. Louis with an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate with other leading cities and experts in order to better inform our local decisions and utilize data to drive the policies that will close our equity gaps.”


“This grant is another important national partnership for Tulsa as we work to ensure that no matter what area of town you live in, everyone has the same access to education and health needs that are vital to the quality of life of Tulsans,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “This grant will be an initial step in the use of data to address racial disparities that exist in Tulsa today.”