Each of us has the power to rebuild a land of opportunity that works for all. 

While discussions of our country's economic troubles, rising inequality, and vast racial disparities are common, there is relative silence when it comes to practical solutions.
"Reclaiming the American Dream" changes the conversation, offering a blueprint for leaders and activists to take action and bring proven solutions from across the country to their own backyards.

Michael Bloomberg 

founder of Bloomberg L.P.

& former mayor of New York City

Knocking down barriers to the American Dream is the best thing we can do to build a stronger country and a more just society. Doing it requires a dedicated national effort and, as Ben shows, it can be led from the ground up.


Chancellor, The State University of New York

Everyone has their vision of the American Dream and if the United States is to realize that dream, it needs surefire ways to bring the best ideas to scale...Ben's compelling and optimistic case studies show that committing to embracing evidence-based solutions and taking them to scale is the best way of ensure equity, inclusion, and a better life for all. This text is a gift to America.


President, Ford Foundation

Ben Hecht's captivating book clearly lays out a series of powerful and achievable cures for our nation's ills. He has identified smart, sound strategies that if adopted everywhere would make a difference to millions of Americans, right now. Our challenge is clear.


former mayor,

City of Philadephia

Ben Hecht has exposed one of America's greatest secrets: we already have proven solutions to many of our greatest problems. We just need them to be adopted everywhere. This book is the blueprint we all need to do that.




The solutions to combat long-standing racial disparities and restore America as a land of opportunity already exist.


For decades, civic leaders in communities across the country—fed up with the political paralysis in Washington, D.C.—have been taking proactive measures to dramatically reduce inequality in their own backyards. 

In rural Southwest Texas, Luis Silos recently graduated from high school having earned both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree, at no cost. He joins tens of thousands of students across 28 states who have benefited from similar efforts. In St. Paul, Minneapolis, a down-payment assistance and flexible mortgage program enabled Jon Li to not only achieve his dream of homeownership but also to generate enough income wealth to launch his own business. More than 50,000 Americans across 48 states have similar success stories.

In place after place, these solutions were brought to life through the actions of everyday leaders— elected officials, philanthropists, corporate heads, and engaged neighbors— who committed to work together differently. Following their lead, each of us can act right now to secure the economic future of our country and help level the playing field for struggling Americans everywhere.



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Ben Hecht is the President and CEO of Living Cities. 

Working alongside over 75 cities over the past decade, Ben observed how today's most perplexing challenges were already being addressed in practical, effective ways in many communitiesbut the solutions weren’t being talked about. That experience is what compelled him to write this book, so that success stories could become a manual for others, and solutions could take hold everywhere.

Ben is the author of three other books: ManagingNonprofits.org 

(2001) with Rey Ramsey; Developing Affordable Housing: A Practical Guide for Nonprofit Organizations (3rd Edition, 2006); and Managing Affordable Housing: A Practical Guide for Building Stable Communities (1996)which has sold over 10,000 copies to practitioners around the globe.

Ben currently chairs the Duke University’s Center for Advancement of Social Entrepreneurship (CASE) Advisory Council, and sits on the Advisory Board of StriveTogether, Inc. He previously served as founding chairman of EveryoneOn, a national initiative created by the Federal Communications Commission to connect low-income Americans to digital opportunity, member of the U.S. Impact Investing Task Force to the G7 and treasurer for the Georgetown Day School (GDS) board of trustees. Ben has been recognized as one of the Top 100 City Innovators Worldwide in the area of Urban Policy by UBM’s Future Cities.


About LIving cities

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Founded in 1991, Living Cities harnesses the collective power of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions to advance racial economic justice and ensure all people in U.S. cities are economically secure and building wealth. 

         Learn more about Living Cities' work 

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