Philanthropist Bloomberg Calling All Mayors in $9m Challenge

NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Photo:

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced his charitable foundation is running a $9 million competition in an effort to spur other US mayors to find their inner philanthropist.

Bloomberg Philanthropies, a collection of Michael Bloomberg’s charitable organisations, launched the Mayor’s Competition to “inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life,” according to a website set up for the initiative

The competition will award one $5 million prize and four $1 million prizes to the cities that come up with the boldest and most replicable ideas.

“Every day, mayors around America are tackling increasingly complex problems with fewer and fewer resources,” said Bloomberg, who is in his third and final term as New York Mayor.

“Our cities are uniquely positioned to inspire and foster the innovation, creativity, and solutions needed to improve people’s lives and move America forward.”

Bloomberg, who according to Forbes magazine has a net wealth of $22 billion, hopes that some of the best ideas that take root from the competition will spread around the world.

The Challenge officially kicks off this week by inviting the 1,300 mayors of U.S. cities (with 30,000 residents or more) to submit their city’s “boldest idea,” according to the Challenge website.

"The idea must improve city life by addressing a major social or economic issue, improving the customer service experience for citizens or businesses, increasing government efficiency, and/or enhancing accountability, transparency, and public engagement,” Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg has appealed to his mayoral colleagues saying that “we're aiming to make the [application] process as short, painless, and straightforward as possible”.

Bloomberg Philanthropies refers to all of Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his personal giving and the Bloomberg Family Foundation, according to the Bloomberg Philanthropies website. Together, these organisations focus on the Arts, Education, the Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health.  

Bloomberg is the founder of Bloomberg LP, a frim that began selling data and analytic tools to Wall Street and has since added a news service, magazine division, a cable network and a radio station, acccording to Forbes.  

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