City of Peoria Awarded Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team Grant

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Peoria is one of only 12 cities in the United States selected to be part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Innovation Teams program, the city announced.

Peoria will receive $500,000 a year for three years as part of the program and will use the money to focus on core issues facing the city.

“We are honored to be recognized by Bloomberg Philanthropies for their innovation program,” said Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis. “This support will help us bring more strategies and creative focus to finding better ways to serve our residents. We’re excited to join the growing network of cities around the world who are taking this important work on.”

The $45 million Bloomberg Philanthropies program aims to improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve citizens’ lives – relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help mayors address pressing urban challenges, the city said. Peoria will create an innovation team, or “i-team,” to study the sewer issue.

The city said the innovation team will function as in-house innovation consultants, moving from one community priority to the next. “Using Bloomberg Philanthropies’ tested Innovation Delivery approach, i-teams help city leaders and staff through a data-driven process to assess problems, generate responsive new interventions, develop partnerships, and deliver measurable results,” it said.

The Peoria i-team will initially focus on the city’s Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) issue. “While at its core the CSO issue is about improving water quality, the real problem is an aging infrastructure that serves as the foundation for the most challenging parts of the community. Peoria’s combined sewer area is also the oldest section of the community, the section facing large issues of crime, poverty and disinvestment. The i-team will be looking at how Peoria can leverage the tremendous expense of solving its CSO problem in ways that also improve the lives of residents in these areas: job creation, sustainability, and re-investment,” the city said in its news release.

Other cities that will receive Innovation team grants are Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boston, Massachusetts; Centennial, Colorado; Jersey City, New Jersey; Long Beach, California; Los Angeles, California; Mobile, Alabama; Minneapolis, Minnesota; Rochester, New York; Seattle, Washington; and Syracuse, New York.

Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that two non-U.S. cities will receive innovation team grants: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel. In addition to the grants, cities receive robust implementation support and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices with peers in other cities.

Newly formed i-teams will hit the ground running in each city no later than spring 2015.

The innovation team grants are the second round made through Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation portfolio, which focuses on promoting public sector innovation. The first round of grants were made to the cities of Atlanta, Chicago, Louisville, Memphis, and New Orleans. Successes

include reducing retail vacancies in Memphis, minimizing unnecessary ambulance trips to the emergency room in Louisville, cutting licensing time for new restaurants in Chicago, reducing homelessness in Atlanta, and reducing the murder rate in New Orleans.

Bloomberg Philanthropies' mission is to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: public health, environment, education, government innovation and the arts.

Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2013, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $452 million.