October 12, 2000

Brad Ferris/
Rene Carter/


Federal effort to transform public housing among 10 recipients of $100,000 grants

(WASHINGTON) - The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) HOPE VI program was honored today with a $100,000 grant and national recognition as a recipient of an Innovations in American Government Award. HOPE VI was among 10 winners chosen in one of the nation's most prestigious public service awards programs. HUD was recognized for an innovative approach that is transforming some of the nation's most severely distressed public housing from sources of urban blight to engines of neighborhood renewal.

"The founders of our nation were people of vision and innovation, and their legacy has been a dynamic, smart and responsive government that is the envy of the world. All of the finalist programs, and countless more which were not a part of the competition, keep faith with the spirit of government innovation that gave birth to the United States," said Susan V. Berresford, president of the Ford Foundation. The Innovations in American Government Awards program brings public attention to the quality and responsiveness of American government at all levels and to help foster the replication of innovative approaches to meeting the challenges facing government. More than 85 percent of the programs receiving Innovations awards over the past 14 years have been replicated.

The Program is funded by the Ford Foundation and administered by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in partnership with the Council for Excellence in Government. The Ford Foundation has made grants totaling $15.9 million since the Innovations program began in 1986.

"I am thrilled that, for the third time in the past five years, HUD has been recognized with an Innovations in American Government Award," said Andrew Cuomo, secretary of Housing and Urban Development. "HOPE VI has dramatically changed the nation's approach to public housing, but the real credit for this award belongs to the countless people who are using the resources of HOPE VI to transform their local communities."

Representatives of 25 finalist programs arrived in Washington earlier this week to vie for the Innovations award. The three-day competition included a 15-minute presentation from each program before the National Selection Committee, which is made up of public policy experts and former public officials.

"With less than four weeks until we elect local, state and federal leaders, it is appropriate to step back from the heat of the campaign to reflect on just how vital and creative government can be," said David Gergen, chairman of the National Selection Committee. "Our winners this year suggest that the wave of innovation in government is gaining strong momentum, a promising sign for the future."

HOPE VI Background

HOPE VI is transforming the nation's most severely distressed public housing from sources of urban blight to engines of neighborhood renewal. In 90 cities across the country, local housing authorities and their partners are using HOPE VI funds and billions of dollars in other private and public investment to demolish almost 70,000 units in bleak inner city "projects". These projects are being replaced with attractive townhouses and garden-style apartments that provide affordable housing opportunities for renters, homeowners and families of all incomes. Public housing residents of these new communities also receive the education, job training and other support needed to succeed on their own.

About the Innovations Partners

Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government is a graduate school of public policy dedicated to preparing leaders for service in government and contributing to the solution of important public problems.

The Ford Foundation, established in 1936, is a private, nonprofit institution that serves as a resource for innovative people and institutions worldwide. Its goals are to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement. A national and international philanthropy with assets over $13 billion, the Foundation has granted more than $10 billion in grants and loans worldwide. The Foundation maintains headquarters in New York City and has offices in Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Latin America, and Russia.

The Council for Excellence in Government is a national, nonprofit and nonpartisan organization whose 750 members have served as senior public-sector officials. The Council's mission is to improve the performance of government by strengthening results-oriented management and creative leadership in the public sector, and build understanding in government by focusing public discussion on its role and responsibilities.

For more information on the Innovations in American Government program and the winners of this year's competition, please visit the Innovations home page at

NPR Home Page Search the NPR Site NPR Initiatives Site Index Calendar Comments Awards Links Tools Frequently Asked Questions Speeches News Releases Library Navigation Bar For NPR site