A few months ago, we hosted the #TFN2022 post-conference event, Communities First: Ensuring Racial Equity in Infrastructure Spending  — setting the stage for future action, connection and collaboration.

We’re excited to share an update on these efforts to ensure federal infrastructure dollars flow equitably, smoothly and directly into BIPOC communities.

Where are we now

First, the Communities First Infrastructure Alliance is activated!

The Funders Network has joined with more than 50 valued-aligned partners committed to Communities First principles. The Communities First Infrastructure Alliance is working with technical assistance providers, frontline communities and government leaders to build just, equitable, and more resilient communities, using the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA) funds.

The Alliance is led by national equity-centered leadership groups including:

Other national, regional and local organizations involved in the Alliance include the Center for American ProgressNatural Resource Defense CouncilNew Urban Mobility (NUMO) AlliancePartnership for Southern EquityLocal Initiatives Support Coalition (LISC), Neighborhood Funders Group, Urban InstituteGreenlining Institute, Emerald Cities Collaborative and Smart Growth America, to name just a few.

The Communities First Infrastructure Alliance members will work collectively to support communities with the resources, capacity and technical assistance required to actualize community-centered plans, projects and visions to meet this moment for the movement.

Second, Communities First is in active conversations with representatives from USDA, EPA and DOT as they seek to identify demonstration sites in key geographic regions. Once these sites have been identified, we look forward to working with the agencies to maximize their impact of technical assistance support.
Finally, in partnership with Amalgamated Foundation, the Communities First team has outlined the design for the funding infrastructure necessary to build the capacity for the organizations on the ground, as well as planning grants, matching grants, bridge loans, and other sources of funds to ensure that the federal money can flow with racial equity at the center.

The amount of work these last few weeks has led to incredible progress. But there is still so much work to do.

It’s time to begin building the fund that can provide the capacity for the organizations on the ground, as well as planning grants, matching grants, bridge loans, and other sources of funds to ensure racial equity in federal infrastructure spending.

Read on for additional action items and resources and please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions.

We are all in this together.

Action Items

➡ Learn more and join the Communities First Infrastructure Alliance

➡ Fund Communities First to be the conduit of philanthropic support to frontline communities as they prepare to absorb federal funds in the future. Reach out to Helen Chin, helen@communitiesfirst.us to discuss procurement options.


White House Announcement

Read the May 18 White House Announcement highlighting philanthropic, nonprofit & labor organizations, including the Communities First Infrastructure Alliance White House Releases Technical Assistance Guide to Help Communities Unlock Resources From Bipartisan Infrastructure Law


Streetsblog | Episode 383: A Communities First Infrastructure Alliance

Research Pieces

PolicyLink | From ARPA to IIJA – Fulfilling the Promise of Equity
Communities First | ARPA Report 


ImpactAlpha Policy Corner | Keeping communities at the center of equitable infrastructure by reimagining risk, power and accountability

In solidarity,