Ford Foundation Working with Visionaries on the Frontlines of Social Change Worldwide
Metropolitan Opportunity

Connecting People to Opportunity

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The goal of this work is to connect low-income people to affordable housing, good jobs and transportation through smart regional planning.

The Challenge

Geographic isolation and the concentration of low-income people in low-opportunity areas of the United States have worsened dramatically over the past two decades. The dispersion of jobs, services and other opportunities to higher-opportunity suburban and exurban areas has exacerbated the situation.

Gaining access to opportunities—especially for African Americans and Latinos—increasingly requires long commutes and high transportation costs. Meanwhile, state and federal budget priorities run counter to the needs of low-income workers, with three times as much funding invested in highways as in public transportation.

Smarter regional development strategies that expand and connect decent employment opportunities with affordable housing along regional public transportation corridors can reduce concentrated poverty and help regions grow in healthy ways.

What We're Doing

At the national level, we support research and advocacy that makes the case for prioritizing public transit funding over financing for roads and bridges. We also advocate for more public policy attention to the full cost of housing for low- and moderate-income families—including transportation and energy expenditures—in the calculation of housing cost burdens.

At the local and regional levels, we support advocacy groups and coalitions that promote sustainable economic development practices that ensure that planning decisions and infrastructure investments are made in the public interest and benefit the working poor. In addition, we support regional efforts to link housing and workforce development programs to transportation planning so that transit-dependent populations are assured access to sustainable-wage employment and lifeline services.

Learn more about how our strategies and approaches shape our grant making.

What We're Following




  • Don Chen
  • Lisa  Davis
  • Amy Kenyon
  • Jerry Maldonado

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