- Nine cities won $1 million each in Bloomberg Philanthropies' US Mayors Challenge: Denver; Durham, NC; Fort Collins, CO; Georgetown, TX; Huntington, WV; Los Angeles; New Rochelle, NY; Philadelphia; and South Bend, IN.
- The honorees will use their prizes to begin implementing solutions to issues including homelessness, the opioid crisis, mobility, climate change and economic opportunity. Cities have already been testing and developing their ideas and developed an implementation plan. The winners were unveiled this morning at CityLab in Detroit.
- "Mayors across the country are tackling the big issues that Washington is ignoring. This competition is designed to help them do even more, by incentivizing and supporting big — and achievable — new ideas,” former New York City Mayor and Bloomberg Philanthropies founder Michael Bloomberg said in a statement.
Initially, Bloomberg Philanthropies said only five cities would be honored. This expansion to nine spreads the wealth between large metropolitan areas and smaller cities, which may not often get the recognition of their larger neighbors but are still doing strong work in areas like climate change.
The winners have ambitious aims.
Georgetown hopes to become the first energy independent community in the United States by partnering with residents to install solar panels and battery storage, while New Rochelle will use virtual reality technology to improve development projects and present clearer plans for buildings and public spaces. Durham and South Bend are looking to help more residents be less car dependent and offer better transit options, while Philadelphia will use its money to reform its juvenile criminal justice system.
Bloomberg has called on cities to show "bold" leadership, and in putting these initiatives together, the nine finalists have done just that. With these ideas given an infusion of capital, it is possible they can be scaled up nationwide, with this competition serving as an incubator of innovation.