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City of Lancaster Receives National Grant for Comprehensive Plan

November 20, 2020 | Bureau of Planning Department of Community Planning & Economic Development
By: Amber Strazzo

Partners for Places has awarded the City of Lancaster with a $75,000 grant to fund the 2022 Comprehensive Plan. The High Foundation has generously provided $75,000 in matching funding, giving the City a total of $150,000 for the community engagement process for the Comprehensive Plan.

The Comprehensive Plan is meant to reflect a community consensus about the direction for future growth and community development in Lancaster over the next 20 years. The plan will contain policies around zoning, economic development, housing, transportation, the environment, and other factors that impact quality of life in Lancaster City.

Funding from the Partners for Places will help ensure the plan is grounded in the community’s values and priorities through an innovative planning process that involves the city’s diverse communities, especially underserved communities.

The grant will support:

  • Expanding access to all printed and spoken communications and community meetings related to the Comprehensive Plan through language access services;
  • Engaging the community beyond traditional public meeting structures by using a state-of-the-art online virtual participation platform called CitizenLab;
  • Enabling fruitful dialogue between stakeholders with different backgrounds and interests through hiring professional facilitators for key meetings;
  • Listening deeply to the community through empowering neighborhood-based, socially-informed artists to inform the Comprehensive Plan’s policies; and
  • Generating buy-in and excitement for the Comprehensive Plan through events, communications platforms and other means that meet our busiest and most vulnerable residents where they are.

“This generous support from The Funders Network and the High Foundation will be a game changer, enabling new standards for community involvement and equity in comprehensive planning.  I am so pleased that this innovative partnership will help the City realize its public participation goals and empower our residents and stakeholders to engage in the long-term vision for the growth and development of Lancaster,” said Chris Delfs, Director of the Department of Community Planning and Economic Development.

The Community Planning & Economic Development Department, along with a Comprehensive Plan Team across all major City departments and the Mayor’s office, will lead this effort. Initial stakeholder engagement with community organizations affirmed a need for a plan that is equitable in both process and outcomes, participatory, evidence-based, implementation-focused, easy to use and supportive of collaborative ownership. In response, the City has forged partnerships with the High Foundation, the Lancaster City Alliance (LCA), the Lancaster Equity Community Development Corporation (LECDC), and many other community-based organizations to carry out the planning.

“We are pleased to be able to partner with the City in this way, and look forward to how we can further engage toward a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” said Robin Stauffer, Executive Director of the High Foundation.

The City and local partners The Steinman Foundation, Lancaster County Solid Waste Management Authority, Millersville University, and the Lancaster County Community Foundation previously created a successful Climate Action Plan with funding from the Partners for Places program in 2018.

Lancaster is one of nine cities in the U.S. that will receive more than $1.3 million total to support sustainability efforts. Read more about the other grantees at www.fundersnetwork.org/meet-the-new-partners-for-places-grantees-nine-communities-more-than-1-3-million-in-sustainability-funding.


Partners for Places, a joint effort by The Funders Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), pairs local governments with philanthropy to support sustainability projects across the U.S. and Canada.

Partners for Places is a successful matching grant program aims to enhance local capacity to build equitable and sustainable communities in the United States and Canada. The fund does this by requiring local government and local foundation partnerships, and by pairing national and local philanthropic funding sources. These one-to-one matching awards support the planning and implementing of urban sustainability and green stormwater infrastructure projects. National funders invest in local projects to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being of all residents. Through these projects, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our communities more prosperous, livable, and vibrant.

Partners for Places’ general grant program is supported by The JPB Foundation, Kendeda Fund, The Kresge Foundation, New York Community Trust, and the Pisces Foundation.

The grant program provides partnership investments between $25,000 and $75,000 for one-year projects, or between $50,000 and $150,000 for two-year projects, with a 1:1 match required by one or more local foundations.

To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $8 million across North America in this successful matching grant program, leading to more than $17 million in investments.