Build Back Better, Together leaders highlight 2020 progress, priorities for 2021

December 16, 2020

Mayor Greg Fischer today gathered with leaders of the city’s Build Back Better, Together initiative to listen to the top priorities headed into 2021 and strides made in 2020.

“Louisville has taken positives steps in 2020 toward building back better, but significant work is still ahead of us in 2021 and well beyond if we are truly to become a more prosperous and equitable city for all Louisvillians,” Mayor Fischer said. “Thank you to our partners and everyone involved in Build Back Better, Together for their hard work and commitment to making Louisville a better place to live and work.”

The initiative aims to increase Louisville’s long-term resilience while also providing more immediate steps to help businesses and residents impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and move the city toward fundamental change that leads to greater equity and racial justice.

Individuals from each of the seven focus area teams – arts and culture; built and natural environment; economy; education and talent development; health and safety; hospitality, sports and Bourbonism; and social infrastructure and impact – presented during the virtual convening.

Notable actions taken by Louisville Metro and outside organizations participating in Build Back Better, Together:

  • Louisville Metro launched a top-to-bottom internal review of LMPD and a national search for new police chief. LMPD also has taken steps over the past 45 days to increase supervision for officers at crime scenes and add support during peak hours.
  • Fund for the Arts launched Cultural Lou Recovery Grants to provide mission-based operating support to arts organizations. Multiple partners joined together to support nonprofits through the One Louisville: COVID-19 Relief Fund, and Louisville Metro extended and redirected FY20 and FY21 External Agency Fund Grants to support adapted and/or virtual art programs.
  • Louisville Metro provided relief grants and loans, totaling nearly $30 million, to small businesses, as well as dedicated $21 million toward eviction prevention and $10 million toward utility assistance.
  • Metro Planning & Design Services began a public feedback process for a full-scale review of the Land Development Code to identify and correct inequitable regulations and policies.
  • Evolve502 funded and launched the “promise scholarship,” which assures JCPS graduates in the Classes of 2021-24 can attend any Kentucky Community & Technical College or Simmons College of Kentucky for free for two years.
  • Louisville Tourism has hosted industry-wide equity workshops, launched a Black Tourism Advisory Council and conducted a full third-party review of its organizational culture.
  • In partnership with the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, Cities United, Louisville Metro and other sector leaders, the Community Activation Network was formed to create and nurture a thriving nonprofit/social impact ecosystem of inclusion, co-creation and interdependence.
  • Future of Work Initiative launched COVID-19 Reskilling with residents earning 739 badges to signify the skills they’ve learned and, through a partnership with major companies including Humana, Microsoft and General Assembly, awarded $100,000 each to AMPED and LCCC for tech training programs targeted toward groups that are underrepresented in the tech sector.

Looking ahead to 2021, each team also has identified priorities for the coming year, including the following:

  • Encourage more mobile medical, dental, and other professional practices and encourage the University of Louisville and University of Kentucky dental schools to create graduate student programs to provide supervised services to patients in disadvantaged areas.
  • Consider activation of GPS on mobile data terminals on all computers or cell phones used by Louisville Metro Police Department officers as a method of increasing accountability while on official duty.
  • Expand the availability of computers, software, and Wi-Fi to all students who need them and encourage local employers to create more paid internships for the region’s college students.
  • Create a loan loss guarantee pool for West Louisville neighborhoods to ensure equitable access to capital for residents and businesses.
  • Continue working with Buy Black Lou on the development of a supplier diversity portal for Black-owned businesses/contractors and seek a grant for a community-led process to establish inclusive economic indicators because traditional indicators are not providing a complete picture of economic reality and mobility.
  • Partner with GLI and its Business Council to End Racism to promote Black Community Equity Pledge/Agreement, a challenge document for businesses to set goals related to Black employment and leadership.
  • Consider changes to External Agency Fund (EAF) grants to support operations versus programming as artists and organizations will still be recovering from the pandemic’s impacts.
  • Map public art city-wide to identify gaps and opportunities for new public art.
  • Scrutinize diversity representation in both printed and digital tourism destination marketing assets to be more inclusive.
  • Identify how the social impact sector can support key community action plans to address systemic racism, including a close review of A Path Forward, Equity in Philanthropy, Black LOVE Philanthropy and other critical initiatives to invest in Black and Brown communities.

Learn more about Build Back Better, Together at

View the Build Back Better, Together Year-End Report here.


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