Bloomberg Philanthropies Grant Will Fund LB’s First Innovation Team

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Mayor Robert Garcia announced Monday that Long Beach is one of 12 U.S. cities selected to participate in the $45 million expansion of the prestigious Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Teams program. The program, a project of former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, aims to improve the capacity of City Halls to effectively design and implement new approaches that improve the lives of residents – relying on data, open innovation, and strong project and performance management to help cities address pressing urban challenges.

The City of Long Beach will receive up to $3 million over three years to create an innovation team, or “i-team,” made up of a new Chief Innovation Officer, a social scientist researcher, a data programmer, a designer and technology innovation fellows. The team will initially focus on economic development, advising the City on how best to stimulate growth, create jobs, and leverage City resources particularly through online delivery of City services. The innovation team will also help the City develop and implement innovative solutions for improving services, enhancing civic engagement, and improving neighborhoods and business districts, among other efforts. In future years, the team may shift to focus on other issues in Long Beach.

“It’s time to focus on innovative economic development for the 21st Century,” said Mayor Garcia. “We are honored and grateful to Michael Bloomberg and his team at Bloomberg Philanthropies for this recognition and the transformative opportunity it provides us.”

Long Beach was one of over 90 cities invited to apply for this grant in August 2014. Mayor Garcia announced at his 100 day speech that the City of Long Beach would compete and had applied for the grant.

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

The Long Beach innovation team will be led by Mayor Garcia and City Manager Pat West. In addition to the grants, cities receive robust implementation support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and opportunities to exchange lessons learned and best practices with peers in other cities. Newly formed innovation teams will hit the ground running in each city no later than spring 2015. Innovation team grants will also 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. Bloomberg Philanthropies also announced that two non-U.S. cities will receive innovation team grants: Jerusalem and Tel Aviv-Yafo, Israel.

The innovation 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.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
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. For more information on the philanthropy, please visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

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