The City of Aurora is one of 24 cities in Illinois - and 555 cities nationwide - competing in the 2017 Mayor's Challenge, a nationwide ideas competition sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The initiative is designed to help city leaders think big, be bold, and uncover inventive - and, ultimately, shareable - ideas that tackle today's toughest problems. The Challenge is the first investment in the $200 million American Cities Initiative, a recently announced suite of new and expanded offerings from Bloomberg Philanthropies that will strengthen U.S. cities through bold leadership.
"We are excited and more than ready to enter the 2017 Mayor's Challenge," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. "This process will provide us the opportunity to compete for funding to solve local challenges and the ability to benchmark best practices from cities throughout the nation."
The 555 cites that entered the competition have the potential to impact nearly 100 million citizens. Cities of every size, geography, and political affiliation are involved, representing an increased interest in finding creative solutions to challenges.
"The incredible response to this year's Challenge really shows how cities are taking the reins to drive our nation forward - and how eager mayors are to collaborate and try new things," said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City. "We're looking forward to seeing the great ideas that cities propose and develop through the Challenge."
As part of the application process, Bloomberg Philanthropies hosted an "Idea Accelerator" workshop in Aurora last week - one of 300 such workshops held throughout the country. To help spur actionable ideas, the full-day session provided participants with cutting-edge strategies and tools to identify and address the most pressing concerns in Aurora.
"The information and exercises at the workshop were extremely helpful in guiding our idea generation process," said Dr. Adrienne Holloway, Aurora's Chief Innovation Officer. "It definitely helped our great cross-section of Aurora stakeholders who attended to generate solid ideas for our application."
In January 2018, Bloomberg Philanthropies will award 35 "Champion Cities" $100,000 each to prioritize issues facing their cities, develop homegrown solutions, and bring these ideas to life. This funding will give each city the chance to test and refine its idea, creating a coast-to-coast laboratory for civic innovation. In October 2018, five Mayors Challenge winners will be selected based on each idea's vision for tackling an urgent challenge, promise for impact and successful implementation, and potential to spread to other cities. One city will win the $5 million grand prize; four others will receive $1 million implementation awards.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million