The Model Cities program was the last major urban aid initiative of the Great Society domestic agenda of President Lyndon Johnson.
Johnson had a desire to serve the underprivileged citizens of the United States, inspired in part by his college days at Southwest Texas State Teachers College (now Texas State University), where he took time away from school to teach Mexican-American children at a segregated school. The nine months he spent teaching left a lasting impact, which he spoke about after the signing of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as cited by the Lyndon Baines Johnson Library and Museum:
“I shall never forget the faces of the boys and the girls in that little Welhausen Mexican School, and I remember even yet the pain of realizing and knowing then that college was closed to practically every one of those children because they were too poor. And I think it was then that I made up my mind that this nation could never rest while the door to knowledge remained closed to any American.”