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Communities in hunt for ‘Working Cities’ grants

The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston hosted the kickoff of a “Working Cities” challenge Friday, a prize competition in which 20 Massachusetts cities and towns will vie for grants to help with long-term economic development goals.

Prizes will range from $50,000 to a top payout of $700,000 for a half-dozen cities.

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The program is funded by Living Cities, a New York collaboration of large nonprofit foundations and financial institutions, and the state of Massachusetts and various state agencies.

“Boston Fed researchers have compared cities across the country and identified collaborative leadership — the ability to work together across sectors over a sustained period with a shared vision – as a crucial factor driving the economic recovery of smaller cities,” Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren said in a statement.

The goal is to help create cooperation between public and private sectors to help cities that were once manufacturing centers find new ways to achieve economic prosperity.

Cities competing in the program include Worcester, Springfield, Brockton, Chelsea, Somerville, and New Bedford, among others.

Beth Healy can be reached at bhealy@globe.com.
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