bloomberg philanthropies
Competition Overview
2017 Mayors Challenge

HERE’S HOW THE COMPETITION WORKS:

    We're In

  • Take the Challenge

    June 26, 2017

    U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 or more are invited to participate. Reserve your city’s spot by August 18, 2017.

     
  • Accelerate your idea

    July 2017

    Be among the first 300 cities to RSVP and guarantee your city its own in-person Idea Accelerator workshop, designed to help city leaders strengthen idea development by drawing upon the expertise of the community. The one-day workshops will take place starting in late July and run through September.

     
  • Submit your best idea

    October 2017

    Cities complete the initial application describing an urgent challenge and how they will tackle that challenge in an innovative way.

     
  • Ready, Set, Innovate

  • Win innovation funds to test ideas

    January 2018

    35 Champion Cities will be awarded up to $100,000 to begin to bring their ideas to life. Champion Cities will test and refine these ideas, creating a coast-to-coast civic-solutions laboratory.

     
  • Take it to the next level at Ideas Camp

    March 2018

    Champion Cities come together for an intensive workshop with innovation experts and leading urban practitioners from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network. Here, competitors become collaborators as cities help one another improve their ideas.

     
  • Pull it all together

    August 2018

    Champion Cities refine their ideas after the testing phase and submit a more detailed application focused on implementation, timelines, partners, and more.

     
  • Announcing the Mayors Challenge Winners

  • Win millions

    October 2018

    Bloomberg Philanthropies announces the Mayors Challenge winners. The grand prize winner will be awarded $5 million and four cities will each win $1 million to bring their ideas to life.

     

Selection Criteria

Applications are evaluated across four distinct criteria:

Vision

Ideas should be bold, creative, and, importantly, should tackle the most pressing issues facing your city today.

Impact

In order to be successful, ideas should have the potential to significantly improve citizens’ lives.

Implementation

Though implementation plans may not be fully developed, cities must demonstrate their commitment and a viable path to bringing their ideas to life. This includes garnering support from citizens and key stakeholders.

Transferability

Winning ideas will not only be beneficial to the city generating the idea, but also have the potential to spread – and succeed in – other cities. Issues addressed should be timely and relevant. We are looking for approaches that address problems other cities face. Other cities should be able to import and adapt the best ideas to benefit their own citizens.

2017 SELECTION COMMITTEE

The expert panel was assembled to help Bloomberg Philanthropies select the 35 Champion Cities, and ultimately, award $9 million in prizes to the 5 winners. Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Ursula Burns, CEO of Veon, Ltd. and retired Chairman and CEO of Xerox, will co-chair the Committee, which is comprised of innovation and policy experts from across the United States.

Selection Committee Co-Chairs

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Ursula Burns

Retired Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation

Ursula Burns

Retired Chairman and CEO, Xerox Corporation

Ursula Burns is the Retired Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Xerox Corporation. Burns is the Chairman of the Board of VEON Ltd and a director of American Express, Exxon Mobil, Nestle, Datto, and Diageo. Burns also provides leadership counsel to the Ford Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Corporation, Cornell Tech Board of Overseers, the New York City Ballet, and the Mayo Clinic. Burns is a member of the National Academy of Engineers and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Caroline Kennedy

Ambassador

Caroline Kennedy

Ambassador

Caroline Kennedy is an attorney who served as the United States Ambassador to Japan. Kennedy is the author or editor of eleven New York Times best-selling books on law, civics, and poetry. She is Honorary President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation and Honorary Chair of the Senior Advisory Committee of the Harvard University Institute of Politics. Kennedy also served as Vice Chair of the Fund for Public Schools.

Selection Committee Members

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Kimberly Bryant

Founder, Black Girls Code

Kimberly Bryant

Founder, Black Girls Code

Kimberly Bryant is Founder & CEO of Black Girls CODE, a non-profit dedicated to introducing girls of color (ages 7-17) to technology and computer science. Prior to starting Black Girls CODE, Kimberly spent more than 20 years as an Engineering Manager for Fortune 50 companies such as Genentech, Merck, and Pfizer.

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Anna Deavere Smith

Actress, Playwright, Professor

Anna Deavere Smith

Actress, Playwright, Professor

Anna Deavere Smith is an actress, playwright, and professor. She is a University Professor at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. Smith has received the National Humanities Medal presented by President Obama, the MacArthur Award, a George Polk Award in Journalism, The Ridenhour Courage Prize and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Award.

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Manny Diaz

Former Mayor of Miami, Former President of US Conference of Mayors

Manny Diaz

Former Mayor of Miami, Former President of US Conference of Mayors

Manny Diaz is the Former Mayor of the City of Miami, Florida, and former President of the United States Conference of Mayors. Diaz transformed Miami and launched nationally innovative programs in urban design, sustainability, and education. He is on the Board of Directors of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

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Shaun Donovan

Former Director of U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Shaun Donovan

Former Director of U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Shaun Donovan is the former Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget under President Obama. Donovan previously served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (2009-2014). He also served as Commissioner of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development, worked in the private sector on financing affordable housing, and was a visiting scholar at New York University.

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Rosanne Haggerty

CEO, Community Solutions

Rosanne Haggerty

CEO, Community Solutions

Rosanne Haggerty is the President and CEO of Community Solutions. An expert on homelessness, she is also a MacArthur Fellow, Ashoka Senior Fellow, Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur and recipient of the National Design Award and Jane Jacobs Award.

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Arianna Huffington

Founder of HuffPost and Founder & CEO of Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington

Founder of HuffPost and Founder & CEO of Thrive Global

Arianna Huffington is the Founder of HuffPost and Founder and CEO of Thrive Global. Her last two books, Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder and The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night At A Time, both became instant international bestsellers.

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Mukti Khaire

Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice, Cornell Tech

Mukti Khaire

Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice, Cornell Tech

Mukti Khaire is the Girish and Jaidev Reddy Professor of Practice at Cornell Tech. and the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business. Prior to joining Cornell Tech, Mukti taught entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School and was visiting faculty at Brown University. Her recent book, ‘Culture and Commerce: The Value of Entrepreneurship in Creative Industries,’ was published by Stanford University Press.

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Vijay Kumar

Professor, Author, Consultant, Advisor

Vijay Kumar

Professor, Author, Consultant, Advisor

Vijay Kumar is a professor, author, consultant and advisor to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, social organizations, and governments. Kumar is a professor at the IIT Institute of Design in Chicago. For more than 12 years he was the chief methodologist at Doblin (now a member of Deloitte) a leading global innovation firm.

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John Minor Jr.

President and Chief Investment Officer of JobsOhio

John Minor Jr.

President and Chief Investment Officer of JobsOhio

John Minor is President and Chief Investment Officer at JobsOhio. John has 14 years of investment banking experience, advising companies on strategic and capital raising transactions. John was a Managing Director at Evercore Partners and a senior Vice President in the Financial Institutions Group at Lehman Brothers and Barclays Capital.

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Dr. Vivek Murthy

19th Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. Vivek Murthy

19th Surgeon General of the United States

Dr. Vivek H. Murthy is the 19th Surgeon General of the United States. As the Vice Admiral of the US Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, he launched the TurnTheTide campaign, catalyzing health professionals to address the nation’s opioid crisis. An internal medicine physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Murthy has co-founded a number of organizations: VISIONS, an HIV/AIDS education program in India; Swasthya, a community health partnership in rural India; software company TrialNetworks; and Doctors for America.

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Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Associate Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Associate Dean, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein is the Inaugural Director of the Bloomberg American Health Initiative, Professor of the Practice, and Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He previously served as the Health Commissioner of Baltimore, as the Health Secretary of Maryland, and as the Principal Deputy Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Past Winners

Learn about past Mayors Challenge winning ideas.

Cities will define a serious problem, craft a bold solution, and learn from global experts

RULES

Competition Rules and Criteria

  1. Your city must be in the United States. Click here to ensure your city meets the eligibility criteria.

  2. Your city must have at least 30,000 residents within the administrative division of the city.

  3. Applications must be submitted by a city hall or city department (or the equivalent local central administrative body) under the direction of an authorized executive or body (e.g., mayor, deputy mayor, chief executive, city manager, or equivalent).

  4. Each city may submit only ONE application. While the city may involve partners from other governmental entities in generating the idea, the submitted application must come from a single city government. The individual(s) completing the application online must be designated by the city’s authorized executive or executive body.

  5. To compete, every city must reserve its spot through the website by August 18, 2017.

  6. You must submit your application online by October 20, 2017. You can submit the application at any time that day, as long as it is still October 20, 2017 in your city. All applications must be submitted through this website.

  7. Bloomberg Philanthropies may publicize the list of cities that participate in any stage of the competition.

  8. Once a city has applied, Bloomberg Philanthropies may make aspects of that application public. (This applies primarily to cities that are selected to advance as Champion Cities or winners.)

  9. The prize money cities receive is intended for use in implementing winning ideas, in accordance with applicable laws. Funds will be distributed over a two- or three-year period, depending on the particulars of the project. Any excess funds must be used to help build winning cities' innovation capacity.

  10. Each entrant must agree to any and all legal terms and conditions of the Mayors Challenge.

Have additional questions?

Read our frequently asked questions