The city of Santa Monica 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.
Santa Monica was selected based on its innovative idea to become the first U.S. city to establish a wellbeing index to spur improvements for the community, according to Bloomberg Philanthropies. The “city of wellbeing” concept was inspired by Santa Monica’s cradle to career initiative, a collaborative effort to create a system where every child thrives, city officials said.
Santa Monica will now compete against 19 other cities across the country for the $5 million grand prize as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each.
“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Bloomberg Philanthropies on our wellbeing concept. The Mayors Challenge has been a welcome opportunity to explore big picture ideas that are too often not pursued given the demanding pace of day-to-day business. This award process has already pushed us closer toward those goals,” said Mayor Richard Bloom.
A team from Santa Monica 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 the camp, the Santa Monica 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.
“Congratulations to Mayor Bloom and the city of Santa Monica 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 Santa Monica team to Ideas Camp in November,” said James Anderson, who directs the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The 20 finalist ideas were rated on four key criteria: vision/creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact and potential for replication. §

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