on Dec 11, 2023
Empowering Municipal Excellence: League of Cities of Puerto Rico (La Liga) Launches the Municipal Innovation Laboratory for Transformative Local Governance
League of Cities of Puerto Rico, also known as La Liga, a non-partisan organization focused on working with local governments to improve the lives of their constituents, is partnering with PolicyLink with support from the Magic Cabinet and Ford Foundation to unveil ‘The Municipal Innovation Laboratory.’ HR&A Advisors has been proud to support La Liga in creating and launching this powerhouse resource center fostering advocacy and bolstering municipal capacity across Puerto Rico.
Last week, the La Liga proudly introduced the Municipal Innovation Laboratory as a new program focused on building capacity within municipal governments via a robust curriculum of strategic consulting, community-focused planning, technical assistance, and specialized workshops. With a focus on inclusivity and equity, La Liga prioritized non-metropolitan communities and is working with the towns of Aguada, Barceloneta, Gurabo, Hormigueros, and Florida as the first cohort of municipalities to benefit from this meticulously crafted initiative. Over a year in development, this laboratory represents a pivotal part of the La Liga’s municipal agenda.
This launch is a model for what is possible when public, private, and philanthropic organizations come together to tackle complex challenges facing communities outside of metropolitan centers. Substantial contributions from Policy Link and Magic Cabinet, totaling $1.8 million each over four years, as well as forthcoming contributions from the Ford Foundation, have been instrumental in launching the Innovation Laboratory to help create sustainable change in the region.
As part of the year-long Innovation Laboratory program, La Liga will work with each municipality to: a) Conduct an assessment to identify opportunities and gaps, b) Identify specific technical assistance needs, c) Develop a tailored, comprehensive curriculum to promote equity-driven community power, transparency, fiscal responsibility, and economic well-being, d) Co-create an action plan, which will include a dynamic, customized framework defining not only what “success” looks like for each community but also establishing milestones to measure progress along the way. Following this curriculum, La Constructora, the next step in La Liga’s support, will assist municipalities in identifying a specific quick win or project to translate this work into tangible impact for the municipality’s residents. This involves identifying federal funds, co-creating proposals, and further supporting the implementation of the chosen initiatives.
This initiative comes at a crucial time, offering a lifeline to municipalities grappling with fiscal challenges, the devastating impacts of climate change, and more. The mayors emphasize the invaluable support La Liga will provide amidst critical cuts in the Municipal Equalization Fund. For the mayors and municipal leaders involved, commitment and willpower are the key criteria for participation. La Liga envisions these five mayors as catalysts for wider participation, inviting other leaders to partake in this transformative initiative.
While the towns of Aguada, Barceloneta, Gurabo, Hormigueros, and Florida lead the charge, La Liga will be extending its services to other municipalities seeking assistance through El Instituto de Capacitación Municipal (ICAMU): an academy for all municipalities to access resources and benefit from learning exchange opportunities.
The Municipal Innovation Laboratory isn’t just about reengineering processes; it’s a testament to collective action, resilience, and a commitment to building stronger, more effective local governments. HR&A Advisors looks forward to continuing supporting this work empowering communities and fostering a brighter future for Puerto Rico!