Elizabeth, Woodbridge Join Cities Nationwide Entering Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that 394 cities across the United States have entered Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Among them are 16 New Jersey cities, including Elizabeth and Woodbridge Township.

“There’s been a tremendous response to the Mayors Challenge,” said Michael Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “As cities face increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources, the need for public sector innovation is greater than ever. The Mayors Challenge provides a chance for mayors to put forward bold new ideas that improve their communities – and then spread nationally.”

The participating cities encompass 47 states and over 71 million Americans. Cities both large and small are represented in the Mayors Challenge; 77 of America’s 100 largest cities are taking part, while 58 percent of participating cities have fewer than 100,000 residents.

Participating mayors must submit their ideas by Sept. 14 for a chance to win a grand prize of $5 million or one of four $1 million prizes. The idea 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.

Later this fall, 20 finalists will be announced. Teams from each of those cities will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City where city teams will work collaboratively to improve one another’s ideas and where a range of innovation, program, and implementation experts will help the teams refine and strengthen their ideas to ensure the greatest impact. Coming out of camp, finalists will receive individualized coaching to prepare their ideas for final submission. Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9 million going to five cities to jumpstart implementation.

Winners will be selected based on their idea’s vision and novelty, potential for impact, potential for replication in other cities, and the quality of the implementation plans. A selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, Senior Vice President and head of Google.Org, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, will help Bloomberg Philanthropies select the winning cities. U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were invited to participate.

The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers.

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