Individual U.S. cities — including towns and other municipalities — of 30,000 or more, per the 2010 census, are eligible. State and county governments are not eligible for this prize competition.
Each city can submit only one application.
The Mayors Challenge is an innovation prize. Qualifying ideas may be either brand new programs (new to the world or to your city) or new applications/extensions of existing pilots or programs in your city. On the Great Examples page, the site notes: "These ideas can either be visionary, back-of-the-napkin ideas, or things you've started (or started developing) that you now will take to completely new levels."
Funds provided to winning cities are intended for use in implementing their bold ideas, in accordance with city and state laws. Any excess funds must be used to help build winning cities' innovation capacity.
Submissions can only be made by a single city under direction of that city's mayor. However, cities may submit ideas that involve partners. Partners, for the purpose of the Mayors Challenge, can mean businesses, nonprofit organizations, citizens, other governmental entities, and more.
For the purposes of the Mayors Challenge, we define a "great idea" as one that shows bold and innovative thinking, a solid implementation plan, likelihood of creating measurable impact, and high feasibility of working in other cities, too. These ideas can either be visionary, back-of-the-napkin ideas or things you've started (or started developing) that you now will take to completely new levels. The Mayors Challenge aims to encourage you to take any idea and make it bigger, better, and more impactful — to innovate! Click here for more details on criteria. And explore the Great Examples and Helpful Tools resources for further inspiration.
Finalists and winners will be selected with the help of a selection committee that includes funders, innovation whizzes, and experts in public problem solving.
Absolutely not. We will judge each idea based on its strengths in addressing the evaluation criteria. All applications will be judged equally.
Ideas Camp is a two-day intensive session hosted by Bloomberg Philanthropies in New York City. All finalists are expected to attend. At Camp, finalist teams will be challenged to build and expand upon their ideas, and work with experts and teams from other cities to make their ideas stronger.
It's not required, but it's definitely encouraged. One of the greatest ways to stretch an idea and the impact it will have is to leverage resources, talent, and creativity from other sectors.
It is more than okay: we strongly encourage cities to work with philanthropic and other partners from planning through implementation. Community foundations may see this as a terrific opportunity to deepen partnerships with local government while advancing priority work.
Qualifying ideas may be either brand new programs (new to the world or to your city) or new applications/extensions of existing pilots or programs in your city.
We will begin accepting applications in late July when the online application is activated. You will be able to access this once you've sent in your RSVP and received your city's private link to access the site. In the meantime, click here to view the application questions and download a PDF of the application.
Unfortunately, the deadline was July 16, 2012 and we are no longer accepting new RSVPs. For a full list of participating cities, click here.
Each city can submit only one application, which is why the RSVP and application submission must be made under direction of the mayor. Mayors can advance an idea that comes from many sources, including a city agency.
The complete terms and conditions will be available when the online application is opened in late July.
Bloomberg Philanthropies will award the prize to local government, which, in turn, will distribute or use the funds for implementation of the winning idea. At its discretion, a winning city may allocate funding to nonprofits or other partners to support implementation as needed. We recognize that we may need to work with the winners to determine the most effective way for funds to flow.
Your idea must solve a problem that's a priority for your city, and that also is relevant to other cities across the country.
If your idea isn't an exact fit for the questions, please do your best to answer them anyway. We're looking for the best ideas and realize that there may be some aspects of your idea that still need to be figured out. Please note that we'll only review applications that have all questions answered.
If you don't find the answer here, you are welcome to submit questions through the question box below. Additionally, phone support will be provided at key points along the way.
All cities must submit their application through the online form. The online form allows you to submit only ONE additional attachment — which can be a video, image, or written document (e.g., press release, news article) not to exceed two pages — that expresses need or enthusiasm for your idea.
Yes, all applications must be submitted through our online application. The online application will be available in late July after you have received your city's private link for participant-only access.
All applications will be reviewed and evaluated after the September 14, 2012 deadline. Whether your idea advances to the finals or not, you will receive notification from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
We plan to share themes that emerge from the submissions, as well as exciting highlights from the finalist and winning ideas.
Only U.S. cities are eligible to compete.