324 Mayors Challenge applicants tackle America’s most pressing concerns

There’s no question that cities are confronted with mounting pressures, including everything from income inequality and homelessness to failing infrastructure and climate change. What was less clear was – if presented with the shot at $5 million to help them tackle their top concern – what America’s mayors would target.

Follow the Data Podcast Episode 13: The Innovative Mayor

The 13th episode of Follow the Data presents a conversation with Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti about how to cultivate and retain innovation in city hall. LA is unique in that the city appointed a Deputy Mayor for Budget and Innovation, and the city continues to illustrate impressive capacity to take risks and experiment for the sake of innovation.

Recasting Free Financial Counseling as a Public Service

By Jonathan Mintz, CEO of Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund

Local leaders know that individual and family financial security isn’t just a personal issue – it affects all of us.  Many of us in New York City learned that the hard way in 2008, when the city lost over 100,000 jobs and unemployment went up by 133%. Residents and families were suffering, and this was reflected in neighborhoods across the city.

How Cities Can Keep Stride with the Rapid Pace of New Technologies

This week city leaders and urban innovators from around the world convened in Paris for CityLab 2017, hosted by the Aspen Institute, The Atlantic, and Bloomberg Philanthropies. On Sunday, October 22, nearly 40 mayors gathered to address an issue that is top of mind for city leaders: new, disruptive technologies—from driverless cars to drones—and how cities can harness this tech to improve life in cities.

City leaders discuss disruptive tech at the Mayors Innovation Studio

By James Anderson, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation Team

At Bloomberg Philanthropies, we work with thousands of city leaders in hundreds of cities around the world—and yet there is one topic that comes up time and time again: Disruptive technology. That’s because mayors understand that new technologies are shaping our future. They also know that if they want a stake in the game, they first have to get in the game.

What the Mayors Challenge team learned after offering training to 4,000 city employees in 308 U.S. cities

By Anne Emig, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation Team

The Mayors Challenge has been an integral part of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ strategy to help city leaders generate innovative solutions since 2013. But we’ve never attempted a competition on the scale of what we’re doing right now.

After successful runs in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016), we brought the Mayors Challenge back to the United States this year as the first investment in Michael Bloomberg’s $200-million American Cities Initiative, a recently announced suite of new and expanded offerings that will strengthen U.S. cities through bold leadership.

Follow the Data Podcast Episode 11: Closing the Word Gap in Providence, RI

The eleventh episode of Follow the Data features the winner of the 2013 Mayors Challenge: Providence, Rhode Island. A component of Mike Bloomberg’s recently announced American Cities Initiative, and now  in its fourth round, the Mayors Challenge empowers city leaders to think big, be bold, and uncover inventive ideas that have the power to spread.

On Building a Strong Team

By Stacey Gillett, Bloomberg Philanthropies Government Innovation Team

Last month, 40 mayors from around the world came together for a first-of-its-kind leadership program, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. A collaboration among Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Business School, and the Harvard Kennedy School, the initiative is designed to connect mayors and senior city leaders with the latest information, best practices, and networks as they seek to make life better for residents.

A profile in bold leadership: Deputy Mayor of Athens Amalia Zepou

If there’s one good thing to come out of the Greek financial crisis, it’s that the turmoil provoked many people throughout the country to pitch in—both to put Greece back on track and to provide each other critical services when the government was cutting back. Documentary filmmaker Amalia Zepou was one of those citizen volunteers, helping clean vacant lots in her Athens neighborhood, teaching neighbors how to recycle, and tending to a community garden. The experience opened Zepou’s eyes to the vastness of this volunteer movement—“It was a phenomenon,” she said—and to the fact that there was nothing connecting these new groups of volunteers to each other or to the city.

A profile in bold leadership: Denver Mayor Michael Hancock

As a former community organizer, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock knows the importance of outreach and listening to different voices. It’s a principle that Hancock has committed to as the architect of Peak Academy, a city-focused program that trains employees to eliminate waste and improve the way government works rather than relying on outside consultants and experts.