Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced that Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo are the first non-U.S. cities selected to take part in the $45 million expansion of its Innovation Teams program. The initiative aims to improve the ability of City Halls to effectively design and carry out new approaches that improve citizens’ lives and help mayors address pressing urban challenges.
Grant funds will allow mayors to hire and fund innovation teams (i-teams) for up to three years. Innovation teams help agency leaders and staff through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results.
“Successful innovation depends as much on the ability to generate ideas as it does the capacity to execute them – and i-teams help cities do both,” said philanthropist Michael Bloomberg. “More and more city governments around the world are eager to innovate, so we’re excited to expand the program beyond U.S. borders by bringing i-teams to Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo.”
Jerusalem will receive $850,000 per year, focusing initially on poverty and economic development. Mayor of Jerusalem Nir Barkat said:
“Jerusalem is proud and honored to have been selected to receive the 2014 Bloomberg Philanthropies i-teams grant. This grant is an investment in the future of the city of Jerusalem, as well as recognition that Jerusalem is a hub for innovation. It is quite fitting that one of the world’s most ancient cities will be generating new thought leadership and clarity on how cities approach challenges, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies’ i-teams. Our professional staff is looking forward to joining the network of cities who are working together with Bloomberg Philanthropies to transform their cities into hubs for effective urban solutions.”
Tel Aviv-Yafo will receive $650,000 per year, focusing initially on issues related to cost of living and illegal immigration. Mayor of Tel Aviv-Yafo Ron Huldai said:
“A great honor has been awarded to the City of Tel Aviv-Yafo which is to receive the Bloomberg Philanthropies i-teams grant. I would like to thank the Foundation for its belief in our abilities to make a positive impact on the lives of our residents. Cities around the world face strategic challenges, testing for any government. Our situation is no different. I am confident that our cooperation with the Bloomberg Foundation will be fruitful, matching the successful experiences of other cities and will yield innovative solutions for the benefit of our residents and visitors alike.״
Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that grants will 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; Rochester, NY; Seattle, WA; and Syracuse, NY. Teams in all cities, including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo, will begin their work in Spring 2015. In addition to the grants, cities receive robust implementation support and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices from peers in other cities.