An Inclusive Water Cluster Powered by New Orleanians

Generously funded by
About AdvancingCities New Orleans

grant funding received to increase opportunities for New Orleans residents & small businesses


number of U.S. cities that applied for the AdvancingCities grant at the time of announcement


number of winning cities selected for AdvancingCities program at the time New Orleans announcement was made


local partners who make up collaborative working toward a more resilient and inclusive future

Through a major philanthropic investment from JPMorgan Chase, Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the New Orleans Business Alliance (NOLABA) are proud to announce $5 million in grant funding to ensure the resiliency and success of New Orleans neighborhoods and all those who call them home. 

As one of seven winning cities selected by JPMorgan Chase for its AdvancingCities Challenge, New Orleans is making a historic investment into blue-green infrastructure, providing pathways to new career opportunities for residents and contract opportunities for local small businesses. 

The support from JPMorgan Chase will not only change the ways in which we live with water; it will serve as a launching point for further investments in resiliency and sustainability in the face of climate change and economic downturn due to COVID-19. The announcement also builds on JPMorgan Chase’s new $30 billion commitment to advance racial equity, addressing key drivers of the racial wealth divide and providing economic opportunity to underserved communities, especially the Black and Latinx communities.  

Through the launch of AdvancingCities in New Orleans, NOLABA is working with the multi-agency collaborative of agencies and community stakeholders to develop and oversee programs and strategies to invest in the burgeoning blue-green infrastructure industry.

“This is an opportunity to build a new and more equitable economy in Louisiana — a blue-green industry that employs and benefits all New Orleanians. This effort will tackle very complex challenges — urban water management and income inequality. To deal with these difficult issues, New Orleans is proposing smart, innovative solutions. And that’s why this collaborative is a winner of the AdvancingCities Challenge, a competitive process that fielded 150 proposals from 35 states.”

Katie LeGardeur, Managing Director/Market Leader for JPMorgan Chase in New Orleans

The 7 Traits of AdvancingCities

Lead and Collaborate

Plan for Inclusive Growth

Tackle a Big Problem, by Starting Small

Invest in Data

Activate Community Support

Engage Anchor Institutions

Take Risks, Adjust, and Iterate

Our Equitable Approach:


Create a seamless pipeline to identify and train under-and unemployed individuals in high-growth jobs
Connect businesses to potential employees with the technical and soft skills necessary to succeed in the industry
Build the local blue/green infrastructure expertise in New Orleans that ensures our positioning for innovation and response.


Actively build public, private, and community partnerships that increase access for individuals and small businesses to fully benefit from economic opportunities available in our blue/green economy
Expand the capacity and resources of small businesses, particularly disadvantaged business enterprises, and businesses owned by people of color.


Connecting medium / large employees to workforce and small businesses.
Engaging employers as thought leaders to support workforce preparedness
Partnering with small and large employers as placement sites for entry-level opportunities through professional career positions
Connecting employers with post-secondary opportunities for professional development


Maximize existing public policies and practices that are designed to increase access to contracting and procurement opportunities for disadvantaged business enterprises.
Identify and enhance public policies and practices to increase access to contracting and procurement opportunities for small businesses, particularly those led by people of color.
Actively build public, private and community relationships that increase access for individuals and small businesses to fully benefit from economic opportunities available in our blue/green economy.
Build the local blue/green infrastructure expertise in New Orleans that ensures our positioning for innovation and response.

Our Goals:

individuals enrolled
individuals completing the training program
individuals earning credentials, certifications, or licensure
youth placed into apprenticeships
youth & adults placed into full-time employment earning local living wage or more
employers engaged

small businesses assisted (50% led by person of color)
businesses receive licenses and/or certifications in blue/green infrastructure
businesses access a combined $2M in growth capital
Our Partners:

The AdvancingCities New Orleans grant program includes robust workforce training that prepares high school youth, opportunity youth, and adults who are people of color and people with low incomes for high-wage jobs in the city’s growing water management sector. It will also include support for small businesses, with a goal of enabling local firms, particularly those owned by people of color, to benefit from procurement opportunities in the water management sector and beyond.


Green Projects

Green infrastructure uses native plant species – in form & function to create community-scaled resilient urban landscapes with rich, healthy soils, and permeable gray surfaces. These components enhance and encourage natural processes to reduce flood risks and slow subsidence (sinking) and improve air, earth & water quality. In addition to environmental benefits, this project approach creates recreational & social spaces that connect the community – which encourages community gathering and stewardship to spur neighborhood revitalization.

Green infrastructure when partnered with gray infrastructure improvements lessens the burden on the city’s drainage system by create a gray / green network of mitigation. This comprehensive approach to water management.


AdvancingCities In The News:

Watch the full press conference launching AdvancingCities New Orleans

How To Get Involved


Blue-Green Infrastructure Cluster Lead
The Blue-Green Infrastructure Cluster Lead for the Office of Economic Development is a grant-funded position with at least two years of funding. The City of New Orleans, along with the New Orleans Business Alliance and YouthForce NOLA received a grant through J.P. Morgan Chase Advancing Cities Initiative. The project title is “Innovating through Our Water Crisis: An Inclusive Water Cluster Powered by New Orleanians” and seeks to leverage the City’s blue-green infrastructure spending to provide more opportunities for local workers and local small businesses with a focus on racial equity.


Alexis Kyman

Senior Director, Project Management


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