Bloomberg Philanthropies awards $9 million towards innovative city projects
Nine U.S. cities have received $1 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge to be used towards innovation projects across a variety of sectors.
Over 300 cities with 30,000 or more residents applied to the challenge by October 2017, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. The first 300 cities that RSVP’ed to the challenge received an idea accelerator workshop, which lasted between July through September 2017.
“Bloomberg’s iterative approach helped us engage with the public in a way that dramatically improved our idea. With Bloomberg’s support, we’ve developed a model with greater community support and better financial viability. We look forward to making the ‘virtual power plant’ a reality,” Georgetown, Texas, Mayor Dale Ross said in a news release. Georgetown was one of the nine final winners of the Mayors Challenge.
Ultimately, 35 champion cities received $100,000 to help bring their ideas to fruition. These 35 cities then came together for an intense workshop with experts from Bloomberg’s global network in March 2018. There, cities helped each other refine their ideas. These cities subsequently tested their ideas and submitted a more in-depth application to Bloomberg in August 2018.
“We were thrilled with the results of our pilot program and are so grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for awarding us another $1 million grant so we can focus on testing additional methods to further reduce the number of cars in downtown Durham by another 5 percent, or about 800 vehicles, to help change the Bull City’s mobility habits to more efficiently use existing transportation infrastructure,” Durham Mayor Steve Schewel said, per North Carolina TV station WRAL.
The winning cities and their winning projects include:
- Denver: improving air quality by installing air pollution sensors around schools
- Durham, N.C.: Incentivizing alternative transportation methods besides driving downtown
- Fort Collins, Colo.: simplifying underwriting and giving landlords low-cost financing and pre-screened contractors to make housing for low-income renters safer and more energy efficient
- Georgetown, Texas: leasing rooftop space from residents to install solar panels and battery storage to become the first energy-independent city in the US
- Huntington, W. Va.: putting mental health professionals in emergency response departments to give first responders the best care to opioid users
- Los Angeles: Building units of housing one residents’ property and renting them to homeless locals for a pre-determined period of time
- New Rochelle, N.Y.: using virtual reality to present building and public space plans to citizens
- Philadelphia: Creating new facilities to address trauma and provide resources to under-18 offenders within the justice system
- South Bend, Ind.: partnering with ride-share companies and employers to offset transportation costs for low-income and part-time workers without reliable transport
“Our community will benefit enormously, not only from interactive tools that will help shape the most ambitious growth in our history, but also from the spirit of service and commitment to excellence that has been the hallmark of our interactions with Bloomberg Philanthropies,” said Noam Branson, mayor of winning city new Rochelle, N.Y., according to Patch.
“That’s the promise of the Mayors Challenge — that, if we give communities a boost, they will be able to implement bold ideas and tackle big problems,” said Bloomberg Philanthropies founder and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, according to West Virginia Metro News.