Press & Media

Expanding the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative, Mike Bloomberg Announces New Program to Help Cities Navigate, Access, and Deploy Federal Aid

In Partnership with the U.S. Conference of Mayors the program will assist Cities in Documenting Costs and Ensuring Proper Reimbursement of Federal Funding to Support Local Response and Recovery

NEW YORK – Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced a new set of supports for U.S. cities to help them better understand how to access and track the Federal programs and funding mechanisms that are available to support their COVID-19 response and recovery.  Specifically, this program will highlight established best practices and provide tutorials on how to apply for and receive aid, and also monitor expenses while ensuring proper accounting. These new supports will be delivered through a partnership with the United States Conference of Mayors and is part of Bloomberg Philanthropies COVID-19 Local Response Initiative.

The support will include a robust technical assistance program that will provide writing guidance, easy to use tools, and coaching from experts. Included will be a COVID-19 Municipal Resource Guide that outlines the relevant Federal programs to support cities as they respond to coronavirus. The guide will include information regarding program eligibility, timelines, and procurement and contracting requirements.

“Navigating federal assistance programs is complicated for cities in general, let alone under the unprecedented circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Adam Freed, Principal at Bloomberg Associates.  “We wanted to provide mayors with insights and recommendations from some of the country’s leading experts on how to access and maximize federal relief so that cities have the resources they need as front line responders.”

“On top of the enormous pressures of the coronavirus response, cities will soon be responsible for managing billions from federal assistance programs,” said Rose Gill, Principal at Bloomberg Associates. “With this aid comes the responsibility to implement thorough fiscal monitoring and accounting, this guide will help cities put these safeguards in place and set them up to receive critical reimbursements down the line.”

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the U.S. Conference of Mayors will convene a consortium of experts who have experience overseeing government stimulus and funding programs during crises to share their expertise and contribute to the guide. The organizations will also host a series of virtual sessions moderated by the consortium to familiarize cities with the Guide they compiled, and address questions from cities. Further, an “e-311” function will be created so that cities big and small can ask questions and get expert guidance in a timely manner.

“Our goal is to help mayors and their cities better utilize federal aid programs that are being made available to support the coronavirus response,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “Through the Municipal Resource Guide and virtual coaching sessions, we hope to alleviate some of the challenges that cities are facing as they confront this crisis.”

The COVID-19 municipal support to help cities access federal aid is latest in a series of coronavirus response programs launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies. The COVID-19 pandemic represents the nation’s first 50 state disaster that will spare no community. Bloomberg Philanthropies is tapping into a wide range of partners to generate a robust set of support and resources to help local leaders combat the coronavirus and protect the social and economic wellbeing of cities.

Cities interested in learning about these or other offerings should join the Covid-19 Local Response Initiative by emailing coronavirusresponse@bloomberg.org.

Earlier this week, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the COVID-19: Local Action Tracker in partnership with the National League of Cities, which collects and shares actions taken by local U.S. leaders in response to the pandemic. Earlier this month at the National League of Cities’ Congressional City Conference, Michael R. Bloomberg announced the Coronavirus Local Response Initiative that will provide cities with virtual technical assistance, coaching, and accurate information urgently needed by the local leaders on the frontlines of the public health crisis. Last week, Bloomberg addressed more than 400 city leaders during the first virtual convening of the program, which also featured experts from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is also pursuing work to combat the pandemic on a global level. Last week Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a new $40 million global initiative to support immediate action to prevent or slow the spread of coronavirus in vulnerable low- and middle-income countries, particularly Africa. Bloomberg Philanthropies is partnering with the global health organization Vital Strategies on global response efforts, along with the World Health Organization (WHO), to support lower income countries and cities respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bloomberg Philanthropies also joined with more than twenty other philanthropic funders to launch the NYC COVID-19 Response & Impact Fund to support New York City-based small and mid-size social services and arts and cultural nonprofit organizations that have been affected by the current coronavirus crisis. The new fund – which currently has over $78 million – will provide grants and interest-free loans to help these organizations respond to emerging needs, cover losses associated with the disruption of their operations, and help them continue their critical work.

Michael Bloomberg is building on his experience as a crisis manager who has prioritized public health and safety throughout his tenure as mayor of New York City and in his global philanthropic efforts. As mayor, he implemented ambitious public health programs, increasing New Yorkers’ life expectancy by three years – 2.2 years longer than the national average over that time span. In 2006, he unveiled a Pandemic Influenza Plan, which included disease monitoring, building laboratory capacity, delivering vaccines and medicines, and preparing hospitals, mental health providers and city communications for a disease outbreak. He led the city through the constant threat of bioterrorism attacks, the swine flu outbreak in 2009, and the West Nile virus in 2012. While Mike was mayor, the city’s syndromic surveillance system monitored 60,000 health events every day, from ER visits to foodborne illnesses to potential terrorist attacks. Following the devastating impact of Hurricane Sandy, he and his administration moved quickly – and in close coordination with FEMA – to launch recovery and rebuilding programs.

As a philanthropist, Mike’s investments in public health total $2.5 billion. In 2016, Mike and Johns Hopkins University launched the Bloomberg American Health Initiative to tackle declining life expectancy in the U.S.; in 2017, he started the Partnership for Healthy Cities, a global network of cities committed to confronting noncommunicable diseases and injuries; and in 2018 became the WHO Global Ambassador for Noncommunicable Diseases.

Now, by providing cities the tools to understand, respond and manage a dynamic public health crisis, they will be better prepared to slow the spread of coronavirus in the United States and protect their residents.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies invests in more than 570 cities and over 160 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: the Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s giving, including his foundation and personal philanthropy as well as Bloomberg Associates, a pro bono consultancy that works in cities around the world. In 2019, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $3.3 billion. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramYouTube and Twitter.

About the United States Conference of Mayors
The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are more than 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/usmayors, or follow us on Twitter at twitter.com/usmayors.

Bloomberg Philanthropies and the United States Conference of Mayors are grateful to the consortium of firms assisting with this important endeavor: Kobre & Kim; DeLuca Advisory Services; Guidehouse; Bracewell LLP; Open Data Soft; and Witt O’Brien’s.

Media Contact: Courtney Greenwald
courtney@bloomberg.org/ 917-613-3708