Cities Compete for Most Innovative Projects

April 2013 / Abell Reports / Community Development

Baltimore’s Outcome/Stat entry didn’t win, but the city can learn much from projects that did.

In June 2012, Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City and noted philanthropist, announced that Bloomberg Philanthropies would sponsor the Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition “to inspire cities to generate innovative ideas that would solve major challenges and improve city life.” Cities that could “come up with the boldest and most replicable ideas” would walk away with a total of $9 million in award money—comprised of a $5 million grand prize and four $1 million awards.

Nearly 400 cities, including Baltimore, responded and entered the competition. The selection committee was co-chaired by Ron Daniel, a Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and former managing partner
at McKinsey and Company, and former Google executive Shona Brown. Based on four criteria—vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication—five cities were selected as overall winners.

Baltimore was not one of them. Providence, RI, was awarded the Mayors Challenge Grand Prize for Innovation for its initiative on early education. The other four winning cities were Chicago, IL; Philadelphia, PA;
Houston, TX; and Santa Monica, CA. Outlined below are first, more specifics on the winning entries from the five cities awarded the implementation awards, followed by noteworthy entries—including the one from
Baltimore—that didn’t win the competition but are nevertheless worth exploring. Baltimore’s Outcome/Stat entry is profiled in greater detail at the conclusion of the piece.