We thank you for your interest in the Mobility Action Leadership Network. While the application period to apply for this opportunity is now closed, we encourage you to explore our website to access existing tools and resources for increasing upward mobility and racial equity. You can also register to receive updates on the project, including upcoming events and future training and technical assistance opportunities.
The Mobility Action Learning Network is an opportunity for up to 30 teams of local leaders across the United States to receive pro bono technical assistance from the Urban Institute for advancing locally driven programs, policies, and actions that boost upward mobility from poverty and racial equity. Urban’s assistance will be informed by the Upward Mobility Framework, the Planning Guide for Local Action, the Mobility Metrics, and local priorities and data.
The network is open to teams of local leaders that have existing upward mobility and racial equity efforts or that will form a new effort in response to this solicitation. Teams must include members from government agencies and nongovernment organizations capable of creating systems change and sustaining local actions.
The network will equip members with data, promising practices, and opportunities to learn from each other to address local challenges related to upward mobility and racial equity work. Network members will receive technical assistance for 12 months in the form of virtual workshops, peer-learning opportunities, and advisory support calls with Urban Institute experts. Urban will cover costs related to travel and accommodations associated with attending an in-person learning exchange.
Network members will leave the network with an increased capacity and understanding of how to apply the Upward Mobility Framework to address local challenges. They will also have connected with several peer communities working toward similar goals.
September 15, 2023
|Anticipated notice of decision|
November 2023 – November 2024
For most people experiencing poverty in the United States today, opportunities to achieve greater economic success, power, autonomy, and dignity are blocked by long-standing structural barriers. To address this problem, local leaders in government, community-based organizations, philanthropy, anchor institutions, and the private sector have taken on efforts to create and bolster conditions that both substantially boost upward mobility from poverty1 and narrow racial and ethnic inequities for people and their families.
The Urban Institute’s Upward Mobility Framework project provides a set of resources and guidance to support local leaders in informing, launching, and accelerating their upward mobility and racial equity efforts. In particular, the Planning Guide for Local Action demonstrates how to apply the Upward Mobility Framework and Mobility Metrics in a mobility planning process aiming to change the conditions that inhibit progress for people and communities.
To learn more about how leaders around the country are using the Upward Mobility Framework, see this video.
The Urban Institute is inviting teams of local leaders to join our new Mobility Action Learning Network. This network will leverage the resources of the Upward Mobility Framework for localities so they can better understand and develop solutions for local mobility challenges. Network members will receive pro bono technical assistance support from Urban Institute experts for 12 months.
The Mobility Action Learning Network is an opportunity for local leaders2 who already have begun creating and bolstering conditions for mobility and equity. To be considered for the network, you will need to apply as a local mobility action team.
A mobility action team should be made up of government and nongovernment organizations working together locally to foster systemic changes for people experiencing poverty. A team must include representation from local government (e.g., city, county, tribal, or town) and from at least one nongovernment organization (e.g., community-based organizations, philanthropy, collective-impact groups, academic institutions, private sector, and individual community members). We encourage existing partnerships (e.g., anti-poverty coalitions, workforce development partnerships, anti-racism coalitions, data action groups, collective impact initiatives) to consider joining the network. The network is open to local stakeholders coming together to form a new partnership for this opportunity, but preference will be given to mobility action teams with a track record of collaboration.
Network members will receive targeted training and tools as part of a technical assistance learn and share track. Within each track, Urban will host a series of workshops that will provide concrete tools and peer-learning opportunities to connect with other mobility action teams working toward similar goals. Workshops will have set topics and learning goals, and teams will receive coaching from an expert working in that topic area. All participants will begin by examining their local Mobility Metrics, before learning strategies to accelerate change that align with their local conditions. There will be four tracks available to choose from:
- Using data for decisionmaking: This track will build the capacity to gather, analyze, and visualize data to understand mobility challenges. Mobility action teams in this track will receive training on using the Mobility Metrics and advisory support on examining local data to improve mobility conditions and target solutions. As a result of participating in this track, teams will be able to use data to create a comprehensive set of insights about the conditions hindering mobility from poverty and equity in their community.
- Building coalitions: This track will guide mobility action teams on how to identify and engage with key mobility stakeholders and champions central to advancing upward mobility. Teams in this track will build on existing work to develop their local coalition while they learn to coordinate priorities for change and monitor progress toward goals. As a result of participating in this track, teams will know how to build a cross-sector coalition capable of creating systems changes and boosting mobility from poverty and equity in their community. Teams will also develop strategies for communicating the need for change at the local level.
- Empowering community partners: This track will build mobility action teams’ capacity to share power effectively and conduct deep and meaningful community engagement. Teams in this track will be exposed to several community engagement tools and approaches. As a result of participating in this track, teams will have a repository of community engagement methods for mobility action planning, learn how to assess power dynamics and power sharing, and understand how to build sustainable partnerships with community members to inform long-term work.
- Measuring impact: This track will demonstrate how to use program assessment tools to measure progress toward upward mobility and equity goals. To join this track, mobility action teams will need to have an established program or project with strategic actions designed to boost upward mobility and equity. Teams in this track will receive guidance on ensuring accountability, planning for continuous learning, and monitoring outcomes and impact. As a result of participating in this track, teams will have better understanding of program assessment tools and measurement plans that focus on systems change and benchmarks for impact.
In addition to the learn and share tracks, mobility action teams will have access to the following technical assistance:
- Trainings on the Upward Mobility Framework (virtual)
Urban will offer network-wide core trainings on topics critical to boosting upward mobility and advancing racial equity work. These include the three-part definition of mobility from poverty, the Upward Mobility Framework, the Mobility Metrics, and how to advance racial equity through mobility work.
- One-on-one advisory support calls (virtual)
Urban will hold meetings for mobility action teams to connect with experts and receive advisory support. This is where teams can receive feedback as they apply the lessons from workshops, discuss roadblocks, and get resources and guidance on ways to accelerate local efforts to advance mobility.
- All-network learning exchange (in-person)
Network members will be invited to participate in an in-person learning exchange in Washington, DC, on January 24 and 25, 2024. At this event, teams will get an opportunity to meet others in the network, receive trainings on the Upward Mobility Framework, and connect with experts in the field. Travel and accommodation costs for attendance will be covered for up to three members of each mobility action team.
Expectations for the Mobility Action Learning Network
By joining the network, teams will have the opportunity to receive specific guidance on the Upward Mobility Framework, learn from experts, and connect with peers. To enhance this experience, we ask that teams commit to taking the following steps:
- Understand and apply the Upward Mobility Framework to address local upward mobility and equity challenges. The efforts of the network will be focused on these themes, and we encourage all members to use the resources of the Planning Guide for Local Action and the Mobility Metrics as guides for developing strategies that can be built into local programs, policies, and investments.
- Surface existing local efforts targeting upward mobility and racial equity and strengthen their work as part of the network. Mobility action teams will elevate a key local challenge or priority through engagement in this network.
- Collaborate as a mobility action team comprised of government and nongovernment organizations committed to working together to advance upward mobility and racial equity. All partnerships must include at least one government and one nongovernment partner to ensure that there is multi-sector stakeholder engagement and local buy-in. Each team must identify a lead organization with a project coordinator who will coordinate with the Urban Institute.3
- Demonstrate capacity to engage with the Urban Institute for the 12-month implementation period (November 2023–November 2024). We are looking for teams that are able to sustain involvement and actively participate in trainings, workshops, and calls as well as attend the in-person exchange event.
- Act as ambassadors and share lessons learned locally. The network will tackle systemic changes through local action, and teams will be given the necessary support and tools to move this knowledge forward in their community.
Below is a summary of the expected time and effort required for participating in the network:
- Trainings on the Upward Mobility Framework: 2 hours per month, October 2023–January 2024
- Learn and share track workshops: 1.5 hours every other month, beginning January 2024
- Advisory support calls: 1 hour every other month, beginning December 2023
- Network learning exchange: January 24–25, 2024
This does not include time it would take to complete workshop assignments.
How to Apply
Submission instructions: Mobility action teams may apply for this opportunity through the following: https://urban.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_0lesyQWSZtdd8l8. Applications are due by September 15, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. PST. (You can find the FAQ about this solicitation on the project website.)
Selection criteria: Mobility action teams will be selected based on their commitment to upward mobility and racial equity and their demonstration of how local priorities align with these goals. Consideration will be given to the relevance of local challenges for achieving upward mobility, geographic and population diversity of the network for peer learning potential, as well as capacity to apply learnings and sustain efforts after participating in the network.
Urban is not obligated to award an agreement based on this solicitation, and it will not pay any costs incurred for preparing and submitting an application.
1 Boosting upward mobility from poverty means giving people and families experiencing poverty the ability to achieve and sustain increased economic success, power and autonomy, and a sense of being valued in their community. To learn more, see Urban’s report “Boosting Upward Mobility: Metrics to Inform Local Action.”
2 City-level mobility metrics are not available for localities with a population under 75,000 because of data quality and availability limitations. If you represent a community with fewer than 75,000 people and would like to apply, use county-level mobility metrics coupled with any local data you have collected. See the FAQ for more details.
3 The lead organization will be required to sign a partnership agreement with the Urban Institute, which details the expectations for participating in the technical assistance activities for 12 months. The project coordinator will be the chief point of contact between Urban and the mobility action team.