Bloomberg Philanthropies Expands Cities Initiative


Bloomberg Philanthropies is expanding its “What Works Cities Initiative” into 13 new localities, bringing the total to 21. The cities of Anchorage, Alaska; Bellevue, Washington; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Denton, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Independence, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lexington, Kentucky; Saint Paul, Minnesota; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Tacoma, Washington; and Waco, Texas join the ranks of the inaugural 8.

Launched in April 2015, the $42 million initiative is aimed at helping cities move toward data-driven decision making in government. Bloomberg Philanthropies plans to bring in 100 cities in a phased-in approach through 2017. Participants will get help from experts in big data analysis, who will show officials how to use analytics for decision making and planning.

Seven of the 21 cities state they are “just starting out” using data and evidence. As CivSource has previously reported, some of the inaugural cities are building policy frameworks to enable better use of data and start open data programs. Ten of the 21 mayors are in their first term in office, and four of the 21 mayors are women.

Initial plans from the latest round of municipalities include the development of performance management frameworks, shifts in contracting practices and procurement reform, and expanding open data programs.

Results for America, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, The Sunlight Foundation, and The Behavioral Insights Team are all working with the Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide expertise to participating cities.