Mayors of US municipalities have a chance to win up to $5 million for their cities from the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayor’s Challenge, an initiative begun by New York City’s mayor Michael Bloomberg. The prizes have lured 77 of the US’s 100 largest cities, but have also attracted some smaller fry. In fact, 58 per cent of entrants are from cities that have fewer than 100,000 inhabitants. In all, 394 cities are competing for one prize of $5 million and four more of $1 million. In addition to names like Sacramento, Atlantic City and New Orleans, the list includes others that are far less likely to be household words – unless you happen to live in or near them – such as Norman, Oklahoma; Mesa, Arizona; and Oak Lawn, Illinois.
The winners will be those who come up with the boldest and most replicable ideas, ideas that must solve a major social or economic issue, improve the customer service experience for citizens or businesses, enhance accountability, transparency and public engagement, and/or increase government efficiency. Sponsor Michael Bloomberg hailed what he called a ‘tremendous response’ from his fellow mayors: ‘As cities face increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources, the need for public sector innovation is greater than ever.’
Participating mayors must submit their ideas by 14 September. They should not, however, hold their breath in anticipation of the result as the selection process is a rather lengthy one, with the winners not announced until spring 2013.
For more information
Nonprofit Times, 13 August, 2012