Rochester Awarded Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team Grant

City of Rochester

News Release

(Monday, Dec. 15, 2014) – Mayor Lovely Warren announced today that Rochester is one of twelve U.S. cities selected to participate in the $45 million expansion of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program. The program 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.

[Bloomberg Release: Bloomberg Philanthropies Expands Innovation Teams Program to 12 New American Cities]

Rochester will receive up to $1.95 million over three years to create an innovation team, or “i-team,” within its newly-created Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives.

“On behalf of the citizens of Rochester, I wish to extend my sincere appreciation to Bloomberg Philanthropies for providing our city with this tremendous opportunity,” Mayor Warren said. “The mission of Bloomberg Philanthropies is very closely aligned with the mission of our Office of Innovation and Strategic Initiatives and I am certain that this new partnership will lead to strategic and innovative approaches to creating jobs, safe neighborhoods and improved educational outcomes.”

Innovation teams function as in-house innovation consultants, moving from one mayoral priority to the next. Using Bloomberg Philanthropies’ tested Innovation Delivery approach, i-teams help agency leaders and staff through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results.
Rochester will use its i-team to expand the new Innovation Office from its present capacity of a single analyst in the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development to an autonomous unit reporting directly to the Mayor.

Initially, the City i-team will work closely with Bloomberg Philanthropies—who has access to the latest innovations and proven management practices in other cities—on the goal of reducing the poverty rate in a specific census tract by 1 percent within one year.

“We are seeking to identify strategies that are successful on a small scale before expanding them to other areas of the city,” said Mayor Warren.

Innovation team grants will also go to the U.S. cities of Albuquerque, NM; Boston, MA; Centennial, CO; Jersey City, NJ; Long Beach, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Mobile, AL; Minneapolis, MN; Peoria, IL; Seattle, WA; and Syracuse, NY. Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that two non-U.S. cities will receive innovation team grants: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo, 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. Newly formed i-teams will hit the ground running in each city no later than spring 2015.

The innovation team grants are the second round made through 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.

Bloomberg Philanthropies' mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation and the Arts. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million.

“Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies clearly understand that cities really do matter,” said Mayor Warren. “I am excited to join this elite group of cities and honored to implement innovative solutions that will improve the lives of the citizens of Rochester.”

[Michael Bloomberg: Cities Drive Innovation, CNN Money]  

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News Media: For more information, contact Press Officer Jessica Alaimo at 428-7135.