Three decades of growth and transformation

Like any living organism, Living Cities has evolved over our three decades. But in every stage of our journey, we have remained committed to improving the lives of people in US cities and accelerating practices that create dignified and abundant lives.

Explore Our History

Our Mission Living Cities harnesses the collective power of philanthropy, financial institutions and local governments to close racial income and wealth gaps in American cities.
Our Vision All people in U.S. cities are economically secure, building wealth, and living abundant, dignified and connected lives.

We Are Value-Driven

Living Cities’ core values – those we believe are fundamental to the organization’s success in achieving its mission – are collaboration, innovation, leadership, impact, and racial equity and inclusion. These organizational values guide our everyday decisions about how, why and what we do. Align with our values
As a partnership of foundations and financial institutions, collaboration is at the core of our work.
Changing broken systems and closing racial gaps requires disrupting the status quo and elevating and sustaining successful ideas from communities,
We continually ask difficult questions, engage in uncomfortable conversations, challenge obsolete assumptions, and support others to do the same in an effort to close racial gaps – in our institutions and across systems.
We are committed to the economic security of all people in U.S. cities by undoing racist systems that create disparities for people of color.
Racial Equity and Inclusion
We rely on each other to hold the organization accountable to moving the needle on racial equity and inclusion by living the following cultural norms: work to understand history and the ongoing legacy of racism, interrogate our own biases, extend mutual acknowledgement and respect, challenge damaging power norms, be open to vulnerability and risk.
Alyssa Smaldino Senior Associate, Living Cities
Shannon Jordy Senior Associate, Living Cities
Demetric Duckett Managing Director, Living Cities
Ellen Ward Chief of Staff, Living Cities
Ben Hecht President & CEO, Living Cities
Elizabeth Reynoso Associate Director of Public Sector Innovation, Living Cities

The people behind Living Cities

In addition to our staff, the foundations and financial institutions that fund Living Cities are critical partners in our efforts to close racial income and wealth gaps. Our member institutions are some of the world’s most influential philanthropic organizations, foundations and financial institutions. And like us, they know that no one institution or even sector can undo racial inequity alone, and a consistent focus on racism as a root cause of today’s inequities is imperative Meet Our People
Latest Blog

Dr. King’s Dream Keepers

MLK’s efforts and legacy is common knowledge. One of the greatest ways to appreciate his work is to “keep the dream alive.” Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a truth speaker, a constant organizer, a strong listener and a…

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Want to join the team?

Our employees are the lifeblood of our mission, and at Living Cities, we are committed to providing our staff with a warm, friendly and supportive team environment that starts with a shared respect for everyone. See where you fit in. See our open positions