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Bloomberg Philanthropies Launches 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge in Europe

Competition Calls for European Cities to Generate Bold Solutions to Common Challenges – and Share Them with the World

Approximately 600 Cities Eligible for €9 Million in Flexible Funds


Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the launch of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2013-2014 Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire European cities to come up with bold ideas that solve major problems and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities. Modeled on a successful inaugural competition in the United States, the Mayors Challenge ( will award €5 million for the grand prize winner and €1 million for four additional cities that come up with the boldest and most transferable ideas.

“The Mayors Challenge has been a big success here in the United States, and now we’re bringing it across the Atlantic to find a whole new set of cutting-edge ideas,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “On so many issues, cities are redefining the future, and the Mayors Challenge is intended to help accelerate that progress and spread it far and wide.”

The competition invites leaders of European cities with 100,000 residents or more to submit their city’s boldest idea. The ideas must address a serious problem, improve customer service for residents, create significant government efficiencies, and/or increase engagement with the public. Approximately 600 cities across Europe are eligible to apply.

Cities must be located in one of the European Union Member States or in any of the nations in Europe that are FP7 Associated Countries, namely: Albania, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

Mayor Bloomberg was joined today by London Mayor Boris Johnson, Warsaw Mayor Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, and Florence Mayor Matteo Renzi to launch the Mayors Challenge at London City Hall.

“Like Mayor Bloomberg, I am a firm believer in the ability of local leaders to help solve global problems – borrowing the best ideas from one another is central to achieving that success,” said Boris Johnson, Mayor of London. “The Mayors Challenge is just the latest example of Bloomberg Philanthropies helping models for municipal innovation spread across the globe. It’s an exciting day for London and our European friends.”

“The Mayors Challenge represents the kind of creative problem solving and flexible funding that can help European cities innovate,” said Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz, Mayor of Warsaw and President of EUROCITIES. “It offers resources, not just prize money but peer support too, for developing ideas into practical solutions. I’m confident that the recognition that the Mayors Challenge offers will inspire many other cities. EUROCITIES is pleased to partner with Bloomberg Philanthropies.”

“Cities have a vital role to play in the recovery of struggling nations across Europe,” said Matteo Renzi, Mayor of Florence. “They’re the real engines of innovation here. I’m excited by this call to action and eager to see Florence and other leading cities develop bold proposals in the months ahead.”

Three leading European organizations will support the Mayors Challenge. EUROCITIES, the network of major European cities, will act as a city engagement partner. EUROCITIES brings together the local governments of Europe’s largest cities and partner cities, which collectively govern 130 million citizens across 35 countries. LSE Cities, an international centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science, will serve as a research partner. Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, will serve as an implementation partner.

The timeline for the Mayors Challenge is as follows:

  • Cities should RSVP to participate by 11 November 2013.
  • Cities must submit their applications by 31 January 2014.
  • In the spring, the 20 finalists will be announced. In May, teams from each of those cities will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering where top policy, program, and innovation experts will help cities strengthen and stretch their ideas to ensure the greatest impact.
  • Finalists will submit revised applications by mid-summer.
  • Winners will be announced next fall. In addition to the prize money, winning cities will also receive a bespoke award created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson.

Winners will be selected based on their idea’s vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. Bloomberg Philanthropies will rely on an independent selection committee of European experts in innovation and urban policy to help select the winning cities. The selection committee will be announced later this fall.

A central aspect of the Mayors Challenge is enabling local leaders to tackle the high-priority problem of their choosing. In last year’s inaugural Mayors Challenge in the United States, over 300 American cities participated and submissions covered a diverse array of issues. Providence, Rhode Island was presented the Mayors Challenge Grand Prize for Innovation and a $5 million implementation award for its cutting-edge early education initiative. In addition, Mayors Challenge innovation prizes in the amount of $1 million were awarded to Chicago, Illinois; Houston, Texas; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Santa Monica, California.

To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit and @BloombergCities on Twitter.

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, which includes the Mayors Challenge, and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $370 million was distributed. For more information, please visit