By coming together and speaking with one voice about the challenges and opportunities in Ohio’s cities, we can more effectively advocate for our communities and our constituents.About Us
Our mission is to strengthen Ohio’s cities and metropolitan regions through collaboration, communication, improved advocacy, and stronger partnerships with policymakers. As we come together, we will advance policy priorities that bring communities and leaders together, ensure a high quality of life for our citizens, and strengthen the economic vibrancy of our communities and our state.
“We’ve appreciated the bipartisan, solution-oriented approach that the Ohio Mayors Alliance brings to the table. Ohio’s mayors play an important role in the success of our state and we appreciate the strong working relationship we’ve had with them over these last few years.”
Governor Mike DeWine
*this photograph was taken before the COVID-19 pandemic
The year 2020 will have a lasting impact on our country and the world. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to create a new working landscape, one that is more reliant on digital connectivity. Every sector of our economy had to quickly adapt and meet our residents’ needs.
For our coalition, this meant our mayors’ meetings were moved from Capitol Square to Zoom. But this pandemic meant our mayors needed to be in more constant communication with one another and state leadership to coordinate our state’s collective response and protect the health and safety of our residents.
Monitoring and supporting our residents through this health and economic crisis was top-of-mind for every elected official in the state the entire year. Priorities had to be refocused to ensure we were reacting to the needs of our constituents.
This year has been taxing on every one of us. Since March, we have all been finding ways to cope with the pandemic and have made sacrifices to protect the health of ourselves and those around us. As mayors, our residents look to us as a source of guidance on what must be done to get through this difficult time and how our cities are going to get through it together. We are also local communicators, ensuring the messages from the state and federal government get to our residents, either through our platforms or the platforms of those with influence in the community. And lastly, we are conveners, bringing stakeholders to the table to strategize and coordinate our local response and ensure no resident is left behind. The coronavirus pandemic has tested every one of our cities and residents, but our mayors are committed to ensuring our cities make it out stronger on the other side.
This year called for heightened communication and coordination between all levels of government as we all responded to the coronavirus pandemic. By building on the foundation of collaboration we had built over the years, since our founding, with the Ohio Legislature and Governor’s office, we were able to protect the health of our residents, support our local businesses and local economies, and ensure a measured approach to this once in a century pandemic.
Our mayors were in regular communication with Governor DeWine and Lieutenant Governor Husted, to provide on-the-ground information on the implementation of mitigation efforts and what the needs on the frontlines were.
As the pandemic progressed and its effects spilled into our economies, we worked with the legislature to pull down federal CARES funds to support our cities and fund local COVID-19 efforts. These funds went on to support local business grants and support residents who needed assistance in paying rent, mortgages, or their utilities.
Through this pandemic, we have worked closely with the Ohio Congressional Delegation and with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to advocate for the needs of our cities and ensure the federal government is responding appropriately to the crisis in our cities.
In March, Congress passed the CARES Act that provided our local governments with funds to cover costs incurred with mitigating COVID-19. However, our cities need and still need federal financial assistance to cover municipal revenue shortfalls and support city services, including our police and fire departments.
A study by the Brookings Institute found that Ohio’s cities would feel the impact of the economic downturn caused by the pandemic sooner than most because of our cities’ reliance on income tax in the municipal budgets.
Supporting our municipal budgets supports our local economies, and will be the bridge to rebuilding our economy as we continue to fight this pandemic.
The national call for justice and equity was heard in every one of our cities this summer. Our mayors responded to the calls from activists to enact more just policy on a local level and ensure all voices are at the table when decisions are made. We know the nation’s deep wounds will not be healed overnight. That is why our mayors are committed to the ongoing work of seeking equity in their communities through the implementation of local policies.
Much of the focus of racial justice has been on how our communities are policed. The difficult work of implementation of police reform has been a barrier to meaningful reform for years. That is why in June, we launched our Police Reform Support Network to support mayors as they enact change in their cities.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance Police Reform Support Network:
Education Advocacy | Empowering our Democracy | Gun Violence Prevention | Climate Initiatives
As the COVID-19 pandemic forced many schools to teach remotely, our mayors were focused on ensuring no students fell behind in their education as a result. We partnered with COSI to distribute COSI Learning Lunchboxes to students in our communities. These hands-on STEM kits were filled with hands-on science activities. Additionally, the COSI van was equipped with a Wi-Fi hotspot so families could download COSI Connects activities that could be completed at home without internet access.
In 2019, we awarded seven cities education advocacy awards to promote post-secondary education. In 2020, thanks to continued support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the AT&T Foundation, we were able to extend the grants for Akron, Dayton, and Lancaster. Akron partnered with the University of Akron to provide debt forgiveness to stopped out students. Dayton is focused on FAFSA completion and mitigating summer melt. And Lancaster is focused on workforce development by connecting their students with professional development and career readiness programs.
The Ohio Mayors Alliance is a part of the Complete to Compete Ohio coalition that released our statewide action plan for increasing educational attainment in Ohio. To meet our workforce needs for today’s economy, we are all going to have to work together to ensure our state’s strong economic future.Read the report »
The 2020 Census is a vital tool for our cities. The data collected by the decinniel count will be used to inform the distribution of billions of dollars in federal funds for community development and improvements. Additionally, economic development investments are decided with the data. Though there were a multitude of challenges to a complete count, including the COVID-19 pandemic and political challenges, we were able to achieve record participation.Learn more about the Ohio Census Advocacy Coalition »
After the summer of unrest and the ongoing pandemic, our mayors knew the 2020 Election was going to be devisive and we wanted to ensure we were prepared to protect the health and safety of voters at the polls. Our mayors helped recruit poll workers to ensure a smooth election process. We worked to communicate and promote the process of absentee voting and early voting in this election to avoid long lines on Election Day. Ohio had a successful election and we avoided any potential conflict or voter intimidation in our cities.
The coronavirus pandemic heightened many issues that already existed in our cities, including gun violence. Many of these violent acts were committed by offenders who should not have had legal access to a gun. That is why the Ohio Mayors Alliance has been advocating for the passage of the Strong Ohio bill, SB 221, introduced in the wake of the mass shooting in Dayton in 2019.
In 2020, the Power a Clean Future Ohio campaign launched a broad based coalition to promote climate action on the local level through partnerships with cities and local governments. With the state rollback of Ohio’s renewable energy standards, energy action on the local level is going to be key to moving Ohio forward. Through the year, mayors from across the state signed the pledge to implement equitable climate policy in their cities and began developing and implementing citywide sustainability plans.Learn more about Power a Clean Future Ohio »
Since 2016, the Ohio Mayors Alliance has been organized as a singular, 501(c)(4) advocacy nonprofit organization. As we continue to increase our work in local policy research and development, this year, we have established a seperate Ohio Mayors Alliance Foundation, organized as a 501(c)(3). This foundation is overseen by a bipartisan board of former elected state and local officials, including former Governor Bob Taft, Columbus Mayor Michael B. Coleman, and Cleveland Mayor Jane Campbell.