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What Works Cities Certification

In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the largest-ever philanthropic effort to enhance cities’ use of data. Known as What Works Cities, the program provided city leaders with robust technical support, access to expertise, and peer-to-peer learning to encourage better use of evidence and data to engage the public, fund and improve services, and evaluate progress. In 2017, Bloomberg Philanthropies and What Works Cities established a certification program to provide a standard by which to assess the capacity of a city to use data for effective decision making and to recognize excellence. To date, more than 50 American cities have been awarded the What Works Cities Certification to honor their achievements with data-informed decision making. What Works Cities Certification will continue to help cities seeking support and recognition for use of data to improve residents’ lives.

Numbers tell compelling stories, and they help us find answers that make a real difference in people’s lives. We’re grateful for what the partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies has helped us accomplish for communities across our city.

Eric Garcetti, Mayor Los Angeles, California

The What Works Cities Certification program is run in collaboration with five partners: Results for America; the Behavioral Insights Team; Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab; Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Government Excellence; and the Sunlight Foundation. Fifty U.S. cities have received official What Works Cities Certification.

In November 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies expanded What Works Cities in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Ballmer Group. The joint effort is helping ten selected cities use data and test new ways to improve opportunity, particularly in neighborhoods where children lack access to good schools or face barriers to economic mobility.

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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: Mayor Marty Walsh examines Boston’s 311 and City Score dashboard data. Through What Works Cities, the City of Boston focused on structuring and managing contracts to deliver better results, bringing greater accountability to how public funds are spent. Credit: City of Boston

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