November 5, 2012

Chicago Named as Top 20 Finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge

Chicago’s idea selected from over 300 submissions to compete for $5 million grand prize

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that Chicago has been selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.

Chicago was selected as a finalist based on its innovative proposal to build the first analytics platform that identifies real-time patterns for city agencies. Once developed, this platform will allow the City to use the data it already collects to anticipate problems and craft solutions easily and quickly, in order to dramatically improve City services. And Chicago has committed to making this ground-breaking platform “open-source” to allow cities across the nation to adopt this tool.

“Chicago is at the forefront of developing new ways to serve residents more effectively. We are rethinking how government does its job,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The Mayors Challenge is an incredible opportunity that pushes cities across the country to think outside the box and also collaborate to move forward, and our plan to build the first analytics platform to provide real-time analysis so we can anticipate and respond to challenges early will not only improve the way services are delivered here in Chicago and in other cities across the world.”

“Congratulations to Mayor Emanuel and the City of Chicago for becoming a Mayors Challenge finalist. The response to the Mayors Challenge was extraordinary: bold and innovative ideas were submitted from every corner of the country. We look forward to welcoming the Chicago team to Ideas Camp,” said James Anderson, who directs the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The 20 finalists’ ideas were rated on four key criteria: vision/creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication. A specially-assembled selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, Senior Vice President and head of, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, helped select the finalist cities.

Chicago’s first Chief Data Officer and Commissioner of the Department of Innovation and Technology, Brett Goldstein, and other members of Mayor’s Office staff will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City in November during which city teams will work collaboratively with each other and experts to further refine their ideas. Coming out of Camp, Chicago’s team will have access to additional technical support to prepare their ideas for final submission. Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9 million going to five cities to jumpstart implementation of their ideas.

About the Mayors Challenge

Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete in the Mayors Challenge. Three hundred and five cities representing 45 states across the country submitted applications by September 14, 2012.

The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers. In 2011, Chicago was also one of five cities to receive an Innovation Delivery Team grant; Mayor Emanuel’s Innovation Delivery Team brings rigorous focus and best-in-class practice to identify powerful solutions, develop implementation plans and then manage for results. To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit

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