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September 4, 2012 > Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Cities across the country compete for $9M in prizes

Submitted By Griffin Schwed

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced that 394 cities, including Fremont, Newark and Milpitas, across the United States have entered Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas to solve major challenges and improve city life.

"There's been a tremendous response to the Mayors Challenge," said Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. "As cities face increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources, the need for public sector innovation is greater than ever. The Mayors Challenge provides a chance for mayors to put forward bold new ideas that improve their communities, and then spread nationally."

The participating cities encompass 47 states and more than 71 million Americans. Cities, both large and small, are represented in the Mayors Challenge; 77 of America's 100 largest cities are taking part, while 58 percent of participating cities have fewer than 100,000 residents.

The idea must solve a major social or economic issue, improve the customer service experience for citizens or businesses, enhance accountability, transparency, and public engagement and/or increase government efficiency.

Later this fall, 20 finalists will be announced. Teams from each of those cities will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City where city teams will work collaboratively to improve one another's ideas and where a range of innovation, program and implementation experts will help the teams refine and strengthen their ideas to ensure the greatest impact. Coming out of camp, finalists will receive individualized coaching to prepare their ideas for final submission. Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9M going to five cities to jump-start implementation.

Winners will be selected based on their idea's vision and novelty, potential for impact, potential for replication in other cities and the quality of the implementation plans. A selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, Senior Vice President and head of Google.Org, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, will help Bloomberg Philanthropies select the winning cities. U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were invited to participate.

The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Project which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams and Financial Empowerment Centers.

For a full list of participating cities, visit

For more details about the Mayors Challenge, visit

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