Aurora Competes For $5 Million in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

Aurora Competes For $5 Million in Bloomberg Mayors Challenge

  • Editor’s note: An earlier version of this article said the city of Elgin would be competing in the 2017 Mayor’s Challenge. Elgin originally RSVP’d but chose not take part in this year’s competition.

Aurora will be among the among 555 U.S. cities competing in the 2017 Mayors Challenge, a nationwide ideas competition sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Bartlett, which has some of its footprint in Kane County, will compete, as well, according to information provided on the Mayors Challenge website.

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.

The 555 cites that entered the competition have the potential to impact nearly 100 million citizens.

U.S. cities with populations of 30,000 or more are invited to participate.

This month, cities complete the initial application describing an urgent challenge and how they will tackle that challenge in an innovative way. 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.

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.

Trends emerging in the 2017 applications include:

  • Participating cities are split nearly evenly between Red and Blue states, based on the 2016 national elections, with 49.4 percent in states that voted Democratic in the presidential election and 48.8 percent in states that voted Republican.
  • More than 4 in 10 of eligible cities in the South chose to RSVP. While participating mayors represent cities from across all regions of the U.S., the South is the most robustly represented.
  • There was a 50 percent increase in RSVPs from smaller cities (defined as cities with between 30,000 and 100,000 residents) as compared to the number of small cities that applied in the 2013 U.S. Mayors Challenge.
  • Ninety of the 100 largest U.S. cities have entered the competition.
  • States with the highest rate of participation from eligible cities are: Vermont with 100 percent; Nevada with 83 percent; Maryland with 78 percent; West Virginia with 75 percent; and Mississippi and Maine, each with 67 percent.

“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 from both parties 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.”

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. For more information, please visit or follow on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

SOURCE: city of Aurora, Bloomberg Philanthropies news releases