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Tel Aviv and Jerusalem
in addition to 12 US cities
to receive Bloomberg grants

New York City, 16 December 2014: Bloomberg Philanthropies yesterday announced that Tel Aviv and Jerusalem in addition to 12 US cities have been selected to participate in the $45 million expansion of its Innovation Teams programme. The programme aims to improve the capacity of City Halls 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.

The grants announced will go to the US 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; Seattle, WA; and Syracuse, NY. Funding will allow mayors in each of these cities to create dedicated innovation teams - or “i-teams” - to develop and deliver new approaches to issues such as affordable housing, public safety, infrastructure finance, customer service, and job growth.

Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that two Israeli cities would receive innovation team grants: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Mayor Nir Barkat of Jerusalem will use his i-team to focus on poverty and economic development, while Mayor Ron Huldai of Tel Aviv-Jaffa will focus on cost of living and illegal immigration.

“Successful innovation depends as much on the ability to generate ideas as it does the capacity to execute them – and i-teams help cities do both,” said Michael Bloomberg, who was Mayor of New York from 2002 to 2013. “More and more city governments around the world are eager to innovate, so we’re excited to work with 12 new US cities, and to expand the program beyond our borders by bringing i-teams to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Jaffa.”

Grant funds will allow mayors to hire and fund i-teams for up to three years. These teams function as in-house innovation consultants, moving from one mayoral priority to the next.

“The fact is there are very few tools or reliable approaches available to mayors who want to innovate more often, more effectively, and with a better return on that investment for residents,” said James Anderson, head of Government Innovation programs for Bloomberg Philanthropies. “The Bloomberg Philanthropies’ i-teams programme helps City Halls get better at innovation, which is vital given the increasing constraints under which so many of our mayors work today.”

This is the second round of i-teams grants made as part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation portfolio, which focuses on promoting public sector innovation. The first round of grants were made to the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans. Successes include reducing retail vacancies in Memphis, minimizing unnecessary ambulance trips to the emergency room in Louisville, cutting licensing time for new restaurants in Chicago, reducing homelessness in Atlanta, and reducing the murder rate in New Orleans.

More than 90 American cities were invited to apply; eligible cities had at least 100,000 residents and mayors with at least two years left in office. Cities will receive from $400,000 to $1,000,000 annually for up to three years. In addition to the grants, cities receive implementation support and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices with peers in other cities. Newly formed i-teams will hit the ground running in each city no later than spring 2015.

Points of interest:
• 5 of the 12 US mayors are in their first 12 months of office (Boston, Long Beach, Minneapolis, Seattle, Rochester)
• 4 of the 12 US cities are led by female mayors (Centennial, Minneapolis, Rochester, Syracuse)
• 5 of the 12 US cities will initially focus on economic development (Albuquerque, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Mobile, Seattle)
• 4 of the 12 US cities have populations less than 200,000 (Centennial, Mobile, Peoria, Syracuse)
• Largest city by population receiving grant: Los Angeles (3,884,307)
• Smallest city by population receiving grant: Centennial (106,114)

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