LOUISVILLE, Ky. (May 27, 2020) – Mayor Greg Fischer today announced next steps in his Build Back Better, Together initiative as the city works to ensure a “robust, equitable and resilient recovery” from the COVID-19 pandemic, including creation of a steering committee and focus area teams in seven key categories.
“From the devastating impact of the lives lost to the incredible economic damage on economies across the world, COVID-19 has delivered a wake-up call, revealing the need for the intentional, systemic investment that’s necessary to ensure our people and our institutions are robust, equitable and resilient,” the Mayor said. “We have an historic opportunity to seize this moment to make our city, our citizens, our economy, and our environment stronger than ever.”
Build Back Better, Together (BBBT) is meant to tackle the needs of today and plan for a more prosperous future by turning creative, innovative ideas and projects into solutions to challenges presented or exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Mayor stressed a sense of urgency for this effort, charging the steering committee with recommending near term action items and policies, along with actions that can be taken over the next few months and long-term actions with an eye toward the last half of the year and beyond.
“COVID-19 has impacted every area of our lives, from the way we work and shop to the way we play and pray. Our healthcare system has been stretched and tested. Our store clerks have found themselves on the frontline against an enemy none of us saw coming. As much as this has upended our lives, we also see this as an opportunity to improve,” said Metro Council President David James. “We are setting up a team to Build Back Better, Together, and I am proud to be part of that. We are resilient, and we will come through this together as a stronger, more equitable community.”
As Louisville shifts to a more equitable and sustainable model for creating long-term economic benefits and stability, the BBBT steering committee and focus area teams will build upon existing plans, including Vision Louisville, Resilient Louisville, Fund for the Art’s Imagine Greater Louisville 2020, Prepare Louisville, the Healthy Equity Report, Healthy Louisville 2025, GLI’s TEConomy Report, and Louisville Tourism’s Destination Marketing Plan, among others.
Build Back Better, Together Steering Committee
The steering committee is comprised of key leaders in government, business and nonprofit sectors, community and neighborhood representatives.
Chief Equity Officer Kendall Boyd and Louisville Forward Chief Mary Ellen Wiederwohl will co-chair the steering committee.
“The goal of Build Back Better, Together is to craft a recovery with equity at its heart. In order to do this, we must address the root causes of inequities that lead to worse health outcomes, lower socioeconomic status and higher rates of incarceration among our minority populations,” Boyd said. “While the COVID-19 pandemic has shined a light on systemic problems, it has also presented us with the opportunity to do better.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has affected every part of our lives – how we work, how we learn, how we play. Build Back Better, Together is about building a brighter future and ensuring that this recovery benefits all Louisvillians,” Wiederwohl said. “It is how Louisville competes and wins on a global scale.”
Beyond evaluating existing initiatives and plans, and recommending short-term and long-term action items, the committee will establish key performance indicators, analyze recovery work undertaken by other cities, and create a work plan that will include community meetings and other public input opportunities.
“Build Back Better, Together will fulfill a void in our community by bringing together organizations with existing plans under one framework to ensure strong collaboration. GLI is excited to be part of this initiative,” said Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, President & CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. and steering committee member.
“We applaud Mayor Fischer for creating a collaborative approach involving all three sectors of our community – private, public, and nonprofit – to reimagine and build a better Louisville. The nonprofit/social impact sector is not only the area’s fourth largest employer, but it also serves as the front line, addressing some of our most critical social, cultural, equity, and economic issues. The only way we can do this is together,” said Ann Coffey, CEO of the Center for Nonprofit Excellence and steering committee member.
Build Back Better, Together will apply an equity lens to all its work, and all committee and focus group participants will be trained on Louisville Metro Government’s Racial Equity Toolkit so policies and systems that have produced discriminatory results and inequitable impact in the past will not be repeated.
Seven key focus groups
Build Back Better, Together focus area teams will craft and execute a robust and resilient recovery through work in seven areas:
• Arts and Culture will concentrate on building resiliency on our arts and cultural organizations.
• Built and Natural Environment will evaluate how projects and programs in existing transit, sustainability and land development plans should be altered or accelerated.
• Economy will identify ways to better support businesses and to recover equitably, so that all Louisvillians benefit from our success.
• Education and Talent Development will determine strategies and goals to boost education outcomes and train the workforce to fill jobs of the future.
• Health and Safety will analyze how to alter systems to be more inclusive and equitable with the goal of creating a healthier population and reducing crime.
• Hospitality, Sports and Bourbonism will look at ways to adjust past business models to the “new normal,” including strategies to bolster hospitality activity.
• Social Infrastructure and Impact will consider what changes are needed to ensure a strong philanthropic and social impact sector.
Each team will include leaders from government, business, nonprofit, and community organizations involved in the seven key areas and representing the diverse geography and demography of Louisville.
Members of the public also are encouraged to join a focus group. To participate, visit louisvilleky.gov/government/build-back-better-together/beyond.