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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. The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies and led by Results for America, is the first-of-its-kind standard of excellence for data-driven, well-managed local government. What Works Cities Certification recognizes and celebrates local governments for their exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate the effectiveness of programs, and engage residents.

The What Works Cities Certification program is led by Results for America in collaboration with partners: the Behavioral Insights Team; Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab; Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg Center for Government Excellence; Public Digital, Jacob’s Urban Tech Hub at Cornell Tech, and the Public Finance Initiative.

The program recently expanded to include cities in Canada, Central America, and South America while maintaining its commitment to U.S. cities. The criteria for cities to achieve Certification has also been updated to reflect increased demands that residents and other community stakeholders have made for cities to bring an equity focus to evidence-based decision making.

To date, 83 cities across the Americas have been awarded What Works Cities Certification honoring their achievements in data-informed decision-making.

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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