Mayor Murray announced today that Seattle is one of twelve U.S. cities selected to participate in the $45 million expansion of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program. Seattle will use the $750,000 each year for three years to spur innovative policies on major challenges, including integrated neighborhood and transportation planning, housing affordability and homelessness.
“We have an opportunity in the next few years to create a long-term vision for the City of Seattle,” said Murray. “In today’s world, cities can be centers for innovation, unlike the gridlock that can happen at other levels of government. This grant will help accelerate our policymaking in the mayor’s office and city departments to an even higher gear.”
Bloomberg Philanthropies’ “i-teams” program aims to improve the capacity of City Halls around the country to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives – relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help mayors address pressing urban challenges.
Innovation teams function as in-house innovation consultants, moving from one mayoral priority to the next. The i-team in Seattle’s Office of Policy and Innovation will help the mayor, agency leaders and city staff through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships and deliver measurable results.
In addition to Seattle, innovation team grants will also go to the cities of Albuquerque, NM; Boston, MA; Centennial, CO; Jersey City, NJ; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Mobile, AL; Minneapolis, MN; Peoria, IL; Rochester, NY; and Syracuse, NY. Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that two non-U.S. cities will receive Innovation Team grants: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, Israel.
In addition to the grants, cities receive robust implementation support and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices with peers in other cities. Seattle’s i-teams will hit the ground running in the spring of 2015.
Previous i-team grants led to successes that reduced retail vacancies in Memphis, minimized unnecessary ambulance trips to the emergency room in Louisville, cut licensing time for new restaurants in Chicago, reduced homelessness in Atlanta, and reduced the murder rate in New Orleans.
For more information, visit www.bloomberg.org.