February 29, 2024Policy Report

Unlocking the Power of City Data: Transforming American Rescue Plan Investments to Improve Residents’ Lives

Local/ What Works Cities/ 2024/


Does building a strong foundation of data lead to good American Rescue Plan (ARP) investments?

In collaboration with Mathematica, Results for America compared the analysis from our ARP Data & Evidence Dashboard (ARP Dashboard) with Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Certification (WWC) scores. Our analysis showed that Certified cities are better-positioned to maximize federal funding.

The American Rescue Plan is the largest one-time federal investment in state and local governments in the last century, providing $350 billion to state, territorial, local and tribal governments.

In 2021, RFA and Mathematica released the first ARP Dashboard, which reviewed how well state and local governments were using data and evidence to make their investments. Now we wanted to dive deeper into how well Certified cities were allocating funds to deliver more equitable outcomes for their residents.

Our analysis showed that Certified cities were better positioned to use data and evidence to promote recovery, economic mobility and racial equity through ARP funds. Specifically, cities with strong results-driven contracting practices developed investment plans that better adhered to federal guidance for using data and evidence. Also, Certified cities that effectively engaged residents strengthened the impact of federal dollars by prioritizing equity.

Cities and states have until December 2024 to obligate their ARP funds. To learn more about our analysis and what government leaders can do to maximize these funds to address racial inequities and provide economic mobility opportunities for all residents, see the report.


Meet the Authors


Maria Hassett
Esteban J. Quiñones

Results for America

Elise Allari
Emily Ferris
Quinn Stevenson
Jen Tolentino