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Boston Fed Tries Social Activism With ‘Working Cities Challenge’

Occupy Boston protestors demonstrate on the plaza in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (AP)

Occupy Boston protestors demonstrate on the plaza in front of the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston, Saturday, Oct. 8, 2011. (AP)

The Federal Reserve Bank typically only gets headlines for its Delphic-like prognostications on the economy and periodic decisions about interest rates.

But this winter, the Boston branch of the Fed attracted attention when it made a rare move into social activism: it’s administering $1.8 million in grants to six distressed cities in Massachusetts to try to help them get back on track: Chelsea ($225k), Fitchburg ($4ook), Holyoke ($250k), Lawrence ($700k), Salem ($100k) and Somerville ($100k).

The program is called the Working Cities Challenge, and WBUR’s Sacha Pfeiffer spoke about the effort with the head of the Boston Fed.

Guest

Eric Rosengren, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston

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Boston Globe “The program is aimed at building civic leadership and encouraging collaboration among local governments, businesses, and nonprofits to improve their communities and come up with new ways to meet the needs of economically struggling residents.”

New York Times “It represents a new, untested approach for the Fed, which has been widely criticized for bailing out Wall Street in the wake of the financial crisis, but leaving Main Street to fend for itself.”


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Hosts Meghna Chakrabarti and Anthony Brooks introduce us to newsmakers, big thinkers and artists and bring us stories of relevance to Bostonians here and around the region. Live every weekday at 3.

WBUR's Sacha Pfeiffer is co-hosting Radio Boston while Meghna Chakrabarti is on maternity leave.

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