How does change occur at the local governmental level? Many experts, advocacy organizations, academics, and ordinary citizens have diverse theories. La Liga De Ciudades Puerto Rico (La Liga) aims to create change by unifying local municipalities in Puerto Rico around the ideas of improving Puerto Ricans’ lives. Puerto Rico faces social, structural, economic, and governmental obstacles. La Liga believes creating a bi-partisan reform platform is one of the best ways to address these issues.

La Liga found its roots after hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the island in 2017. In the following years, local mayors made an unprecedented effort to learn best practices from one another during reconstruction. As organizations such as the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation, and Center for New Economy joined in partnership with local efforts, there was also an international convergence. La Liga formed two years later to solidify the continued intersection of local government, private, and nonprofit partnerships.

Currently, La Liga focuses on building partnerships, advocacy, capacity building, and strengthening and defending policies beneficial to Puerto Ricans. They came to Feedback Labs to seek new ideas in key areas surrounding their growing organization’s development. There were two main challenges centered around community engagement and political buy-in:

  • Working with Politicians. Conveying the importance of La Liga to local politicians is the other part of the battle. Many local mayors are not used to working collaboratively with other municipalities. Much of the feedback received during the LabStorm focused on ways to get buy-in from municipal workers.
  • Seek Support From Funders. Like every organization, La Liga needs capacity-building funds to grow and sustain itself. LabStorm attendees recommended for La Liga to lean upon their international philanthropic partners more to garner resources.

This LabStorm was presented by Cristina M. Miranda Palacios and illustrated the importance of coalition building between elected officials, community organizers, and the communities they serve.

Read the full article about strengthening local governments by Corey Holland at FeedbackLabs.