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Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces Major New Investment In City Halls’ Capacity to Innovate

 Committing $45 Million to Local Governments Using Innovation Delivery to Solve Urban Problems

Inviting American Cities to Apply for New Grants 

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a new $45 million investment to boost the capacity of city halls to use innovation to tackle major challenges and improve urban life. The foundation will direct significant funding and other assistance to help dozens of cities adopt the Innovation Delivery model, an approach to generating and implementing new ideas that has been tested and refined over the past three years in partnership with city leaders in Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.

“Mayors everywhere are focused on innovation – and, increasingly, on the tools and approaches they need to make it the norm rather than the exception in city halls,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “Mayors have produced clear and compelling results with Innovation Delivery Teams over the past few years – and by significantly expanding our support for this proven model, we will be able to help more city officials develop and implement new ideas.”

The foundation has invited over 80 American cities to apply for Innovation Delivery grants. Eligible cities have at least 100,000 residents and mayors with at least two years left in office. Grantees will be selected in the fall. They will receive from $250,000 to $1,000,000 annually over three years, as well as implementation support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities. Newly formed Innovation Delivery Teams will hit the ground running in each city no later than spring 2015.

Innovation Delivery Teams use best-in-class idea generation techniques with a structured, data-driven approach to delivering results. Operating as an in-house innovation consultancy, they have enabled mayors in the original five cities to produce clear results, such as: New Orleans reduced murder in 2013 by 19% compared to the previous year, resulting in the lowest number of murders in New Orleans since 1985.

  • Memphis reduced retail vacancy rates by 30% along key commercial corridors.
  • Louisville redirected 26% of low-severity 911 medical calls to a doctor’s office or immediate care center instead of requiring an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
  • Chicago cut the licensing time for new restaurants by 33%; more than 1,000 new restaurants have opened since the Team began its work.
  • Atlanta moved 1,022 chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing, quickly establishing itself as a national leader.

“Innovation Delivery has been an essential part of our effort to bring innovation, efficiency and improved services to our customers,” said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. “Philanthropy can play an important role in expanding the capacity of cities to deliver better, bolder results. Bloomberg Philanthropies is one of few foundations investing in this area, and it has truly been a game changer for our city.”

In addition to direct investments in cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies will fund technical assistance, research and evaluation, and partnerships with organizations to further spread the Innovation Delivery approach. The Innovation Delivery Playbook, which details the approach and some experiences of the original cities with which Bloomberg Philanthropies partnered, is available at:

Earlier this year, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Nesta, the United Kingdom’s innovation foundation, released “i-teams: the teams and funds making innovation happen in governments around the world.” Detailing twenty teams from national and local governments worldwide, the research found that while governments can be pioneering, they can also “struggle to find the space and time to invest in the future when they are also responsible for delivering the services that people rely on today.” The Innovation Delivery model is one of a number of models that have emerged in recent years to address this challenge.  

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.