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Washington, DC Named as Finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge

Thursday, February 22, 2018
The District Joins 35 Champion Cities Embarking on Six-Month Testing Phase in Competition for Grand Prize of $5 Million in Grants and Technical Assistance

(Washington, DC) – Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District of Columbia have been announced as one of 35 Champion Cities selected as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover bold, inventive ideas that confront the toughest problems cities face. The District rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 320 applications with a concept to develop a dedicated team within DC Government to support all city agencies in routinely conducting smart, sophisticated surveys that regularly integrate resident feedback into key decision-making processes.

“Our idea combines the inclusiveness of Yelp, the immediacy of polling, and the reach and rigor of the Census to ensure that residents’ voices are regularly integrated into our decision-making processes,” said Mayor Bowser. “With this tool, we can increase civic engagement and do more to build a government that is both for the people and by the people.”

Washington, DC now advances to the six-month Test, Learn, and Adapt phase of the competition, during which the concept will be refined with the help of a $100,000 grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, as well as personalized support from innovation experts. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one city will receive a grand prize of $5 million.

“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria - vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. A prestigious selection committee co-chaired by Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns and comprising distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives, and social innovation leaders assessed all applications.

The 2018 Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit