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Mayors Challenge

Inspiring bold, replicable innovations developed by cities

Cities are uniquely positioned to foster creative solutions to our most pressing social and economic issues and to meet the challenges of tomorrow in areas from education to public safety. But the process requires enormous creativity, the formation of energetic partnerships, and the judicious use of data. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge is a competition designed to spark innovative, replicable ideas for improving cities, and the lives of people living in them, by encouraging leaders to think outside the box about how to confront their most difficult challenges.

After successful runs in the United States (2013 and 2018), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016), Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the first Global Mayors Challenge in 2021, with a focus on identifying and accelerating the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Cities of every size, geography, and political affiliation representing a combined population of 500 million citizens entered the 2021 Mayors Challenge, with 631 cities from 99 countries applying.

Fifty cities from 29 nations across six continents were selected as Champion Cities, the final stage of the competition, representing the boldest urban innovations of the past year generated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In January 2022, 15 grand prize winners were named, each receiving $1 million and comprehensive multi-year support to implement their innovative ideas:

Amman, Jordan

Bogotá, Colombia

Butuan, Philippines

Freetown, Sierra Leone

Hermosillo, Mexico

Istanbul, Turkey

Kigali, Rwanda

Kumasi, Ghana

Paterson, NJ, USA

Phoenix, AZ, USA

Rochester, MN, USA

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Rourkela, India

Vilnius, Lithuania

Wellington, New Zealand

Bloomberg Cities Network

For Local Government Innovators

Visit the Bloomberg Cities Network, created in partnership with Johns Hopkins for city leaders and innovators full of resources, learning opportunities, and connections to peers around the world. Join the network to receive exclusive resources, including access to world-class training and events, peer networking opportunities, powerful city solutions, and more.

Top photo: South Bend, Indiana’s Mayors Challenge project Commuters Trust is a public-private partnership between the City and select employers to provide subsidized commuting options to employees through a Ride Guarantee program.