Connecting state and local government leaders

The Return of the Mayors Challenge

Michael Bloomberg, center, gestures as James Carville, left, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, applaud after his speech at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting Monday in Miami Beach, Fla.

Michael Bloomberg, center, gestures as James Carville, left, and New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, right, applaud after his speech at the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors meeting Monday in Miami Beach, Fla. Lynne Sladky / AP Photo

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

It’s back in the U.S. for its fourth iteration and bigger than ever, having been folded into Bloomberg Philanthropies’ new $200 million American Cities Initiative.

MIAMI BEACH, Fla. — Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2017 Mayors Challenge is headed back to the U.S. to help pragmatic city officials take risks on new ways to deliver services, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 85th annual meeting.

The fourth-ever challenge is also the largest with the funds up for grabs available to run pilots dealing with issues like homelessness, economic development, crime and climate change.

Hundreds of cities with populations of 30,000 or more residents will advance innovations simply through the application process, 35 will receive $100,000 each for testing, four will get $1 million for full implementation, and one will win the $5 million grand prize.

“Our goal is to jumpstart more great ideas that can help America tackle its toughest challenges from the ground up and to spread the ideas that work,” Bloomberg said during his keynote address in Miami Beach, Florida.

One of the criteria for entry is that the submission be applicable to other cities.

Chicago won previously with a smart navigation system for the visually impaired.

“Many of our cities have not put aside money to invest in their own infrastructure, their own systems,” Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh said in the announcement video.

Innovation experts will visit the first 300 cities to enter and hold one-day trainings on accelerating idea development.

This time, the challenge has been folded into Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Initiative , consisting of the investment of $200 million over three years in city leadership, policy action and resident problem-solving.

“The need for strong city leadership has never been greater,” Bloomberg said.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty and is based in Washington, D.C.

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