In August, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $45 million investment to help city governments across the U.S. use innovative approaches to improve urban life by addressing major challenges such as murder rates, retail vacancy, and housing for the homeless. The foundation directed substantial funding, as well as other assistance, to aid dozens of cities in adopting its Innovation Delivery model.
According to the announcement, this model is an “approach to generating and implementing new ideas that have been tested and refined over the past three years in partnerships with city leaders in Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans.”
Over 80 U.S. cities were invited to apply for Innovation Delivery Grants. Applicant cities were required to have at least 100,000 residents and a mayor with at least two years remaining in office. Applications were due in October. On December 15, twelve cities were awarded Innovation Grants: Rochester, NY; Albuquerque, NM; Boston, MA; Centennial, CO; Jersey City, NJ; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Mobile, AL; Minneapolis, MN; Peoria, IL; Seattle, WA; and Syracuse, NY.
Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that two non-U.S. cities, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel, would receive Innovation Grants in the amount of $400,000 to $1,000,000 annually, over a three-year period, as well as implementation support and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.
The new Innovation Delivery teams are to be functional by spring 2015 and will “use best-in-class idea generation techniques with a structured, data-driven approach to delivering results,” as stated in the award announcement.
In addition to direct investment in cities, Bloomberg Philanthropies will “fund technical assistance, research and evaluation, and partnerships with organizations to further spread the Innovation Delivery approach.” The Innovation Delivery playbook uses data collection, trend analysis, and informative reports to monitor and measure a city’s progress. To learn more about the grants and the experiences of the five original partnership cities, visit Innovation Delivery playbook. Highlights are included below:
- New Orleans reduced murder in 2013 by 19% compared to the previous year, resulting in the lowest number of murders in New Orleans since 1985.
- Memphis reduced retail vacancy rates by 30% along key commercial corridors.
- Louisville redirected 26% of low-severity 911 medical calls to a doctor’s office or immediate care center instead of requiring an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
- Chicago cut the licensing time for new restaurants by 33%; more than 1,000 new restaurants have opened since the Team began its work.
- Atlanta moved 1,022 chronically homeless individuals into permanent housing, quickly establishing itself as a national leader.
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