Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces Mayors Challenge Winners

Government Finance Review, June 2013 | Go to article overview

Bloomberg Philanthropies Announces Mayors Challenge Winners


The City of Providence, Rhode Island, received the Mayors Challenge Grand Prize for Innovation and a $5 million implementation award for a cutting-edge early education initiative. The competition was designed to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life --and that ultimately can be shared with other cities to improve the well-being of the nation. More than 300 cities competed in this inaugural competition. Mayors Challenge innovation prizes also were awarded to Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica, California, all of which will receive $1 million to support implementation. Sculptures created by world-renowned artist Olafur Eliasson were created to commemorate the Mayors Challenge winners.

The Mayors Challenge is dedicated to the idea that cities are the new laboratories of democracy, and that an innovative program or policy that works in one city can spread across the country. The contest, sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies, helps eliminate obstacles such as insufficient support and funding by elevating and funding the most promising and innovative ideas.

The winning cities were selected based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replicability. The five winning ideas highlight the diverse array of complex and common challenges facing cities.

Providence, Rhode Island: Providence Talks. Providence Talks combines a revolutionary approach with proven technology to measure vocabulary exposure for children in low-income households and help parents close the word gap. It was selected for its direct, simple, and revolutionary approach to early childhood education.

Chicago, Illinois: The Chicago SmartData Platform. The city, in partnership with leaders in data and computer science, built the first open-source, predictive analytics platform--aggregating information in one place to help leaders make smarter, faster decisions and prevent problems before they develop. …

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