Press & Media

Bloomberg Philanthropies Expands Innovation Teams Program to Seven New Cities Across the Globe

Grants and technical assistance to help cities with existing innovation capacity expand their efforts to deliver better results for residents

 Program deepens funding in the United States and Israel, also expands to Canada

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that seven cities across the globe have been selected for the latest expansion of its Innovation Teams program. The program helps City Halls drive bold innovation, change culture, and tackle big problems to deliver better results for residents. Multi-year grants will be awarded to help cities create better results for a range of pressing problems – from tackling poverty and neighborhood revitalization to recruiting and retaining public employees. Cities include Be’er Sheva in Israel; Toronto in Canada, and Anchorage, AK; Austin, TX; Baltimore, MD; Detroit, MI; and Durham, NC in the United States.

“Mayors must always be looking for new ways to improve the critical services that people depend on,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City. “Our Innovation Teams program helps mayors do that by giving city governments around the world the capacity to make their innovative ideas reality.”

Now in the third round of funding, the Innovation Teams program allows mayors to fund in-house innovation teams — or “i-teams” – which investigate complex local challenges, design solutions with clear goals, and rigorously measure progress to better improve citizens’ lives. The newly announced cities join nearly 20 City Halls in the program, including Mobile, AL who is eliminating blight; Minneapolis, MN who is improving the quality of rental housing; and Syracuse, NY who is employing cost-effective measures to respond to aging infrastructure.

The seven cities were selected from a pool of municipalities with a demonstrated commitment to designing and delivering bold solutions to complex problems. Eligible cities with at least 100,000 residents and with mayors who have at least two years left in office were invited to apply. Bloomberg Philanthropies’ i-teams expansion deepens the investment in the United States and Israel and, for the first time in the history of the program, introduces the program in Canada.

“Bloomberg Philanthropies’ i-teams program has already demonstrated that approach can be successful in cities that range in size, structure, and geographic region,” said Toronto Mayor John Tory. “The City of Toronto is proud to become the first Canadian city to join this impressive network of civic innovators and many of the most innovative City Halls in the world. We look forward to building on our existing strengths and capacities to combat serious issues impacting urban areas around the world.”

New Innovation Team cities will receive up to $500,000 annually for up to three years. In addition to the grants, cities receive robust implementation support and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices with peers in other cities. Newly formed i-teams will hit the ground running in each city no later than spring 2017.

“Innovation Teams bring 21st century problem-solving skills to City Hall,” said James Anderson, head of Government Innovation programs for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The teams implement creative solutions by breaking down silos within City Halls, engaging residents to jointly understand citizen needs, and testing ideas before taking them to scale.”

The Innovation Teams Program is one of seven Government Innovation offerings at Bloomberg Philanthropies. Government Innovation equips mayors and other city leaders with the tools and techniques they need to solve urban challenges and improve citizens’ lives. I-teams are currently hard at work in Albuquerque, NM; Boston, MA; Centennial, CO; Jersey City, NJ; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Mobile, AL; Minneapolis, MN; Peoria, IL; Seattle, WA; and Syracuse, NY; and Tel Aviv, Israel and Jerusalem, Israel.

Key Facts About the Innovation Teams Program:

  • The i-teams have developed 90 new innovations for their cities – In Mobile, AL, leaders utilized Instagram to geo-locate blighted properties while documenting the impact to residents of more than $83 million in lost market value for properties within 150 feet of a blighted structure
  • 95% of cities in the program said their i-team has changed the way their city approaches solving complex problems – Los Angeles’ i-team worked with bilingual Angelenos who were facing eviction from their homes to develop solutions that empowered the city’s most vulnerable communities
  • 100% of cities in the program believe their i-team created solutions that will improve quality of life for local residents – Minneapolis is currently institutionalizing a pilot that helps improve the quality of privately held rental housing in North Minneapolis
  • To date, the i-team cities have secured $70 million in additional public and private sector matching funds to advance their work – Tel Aviv has secured private funding to support the team’s mapping initiative, which involves identifying new spaces around the city—including government buildings and other public spaces—that could be opened up as childcare space

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 120 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: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

Media Contact:
Rebecca Carriero, rebeccac@bloomberg.org, +1 212-205-0182
Alexis Weiss, alexis.weiss@edelman.com, +1 347-486-1639