Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced grants to fourteen cities to boost the capacity of municipal governments to tackle major challenges and improve urban life through innovation.
Awarded as part of a three-year, $45 million expansion of the foundation's Innovation Teams initiative, the funds will be used to design and implement new approaches that improve citizens' lives through the smarter use of data, open innovation, and stronger project and performance management. The grants to the second cohort of cities selected to participate in the program will enable mayors of those cities to hire and fund dedicated innovation teams ("i-teams") to deliver bold approaches to ongoing challenges, including affordable housing, public safety, infrastructure finance, customer service, and job growth.
Selected from more than ninety cities that were invited to apply, grant recipients include Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boston, Massachusetts; Centennial, Colorado; Jersey City, New Jersey; Long Beach, California; Los Angeles, California; Mobile, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Peoria, Illinois; Rochester, New York; Seattle, Washington; and Syracuse, New York in the U.S.; and Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo in Israel. In addition to the grants, city officials will receive implementation support and opportunities to share lessons learned and best practices with other cities.
"The fact is there are very few tools or reliable approaches available to mayors who want to innovate more often, more effectively, and with a better return on that investment for residents," said James Anderson, head of the foundation's Government Innovation programs. "The Bloomberg Philanthropies' i-teams program helps city halls get better at innovation, which is vital given the increasing constraints under which so many of our mayors work today."