Boone County has been named a finalist for the opportunity to be a part of the Urban
Institute’s Upward Mobility Cohort. The Urban Institute, with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates
Foundation, is looking to partner with a cohort of up to 8 counties to use metrics to inform local strategies to
boost economic and social mobility and narrow racial and ethnic equity gaps.
Upon learning of this opportunity, and of the quick turnaround required for applications, Commissioner
Janet Thompson convened a meeting of partners from throughout the community. In less than a week,
representatives from REDI, Cradle to Career, Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA), Women’s
Business Center (CMCA affiliated), City of Columbia Housing Programs Division, the Columbia/Boone
County Department of Public Health and Human Services (Steve Hollis), and the Boone County Community
Services Department collaborated to develop an initial response and submit it to the Urban Institute.
Boone County is one of 26 counties selected as finalists for this opportunity. From these finalists, eight
counties will be chosen to participate in the program, which will provide $125K and 18 months of tailored
technical assistance from experts at Urban. The support will help counties put the mobility metrics to use to
inform decision making, develop a cross-sector mobility coalition, and create a Mobility Action Plan that
identifies key local mobility challenges and presents actionable strategies to improve outcomes. Cohort
counties will also participate in peer-learning activities and provide feedback that informs future
improvements to the metrics.
Matt Jenne, Chair of the REDI Board, says, “As the chair of our county-wide economic development board,
I have called on our local leaders to strive for equality through economic opportunity. Our county will be able
to use this windfall to align our priorities to our equality goals and give us necessary tools and lessons learned
to get there quickly.”
Full proposals from the finalists are due on November 24, 2020. The selection of the cohort will be
announced by December 31, 2020.