City’s idea competes with over 300 submissions to compete for $5 million grand prize
LEXINGTON, Ky. — (Nov. 5, 2012) – Mayor Jim Gray this morning announced Lexington 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 – and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.
Lexington was selected based on its innovative idea to create CitizenLex.org, a new media platform designed to tap into the source of new solutions and ideas the nation has always relied upon in challenging times: its people, its citizens. CitizenLex is designed to engage American ingenuity in city problem solving and planning, through robust mining and connecting the dots among studies, reports and ideas, all designed to build a great American city.
Collectively, Lexington citizens came up with the idea we entered, Gray said. “Through a telephone town hall, on-line town hall and the media, we asked people for their ideas to send in to the Mayors Challenge … they sent in 440 ideas,” the Mayor said. “We soon realized the most important idea we could submit for the contest was a way to continue and broaden that exchange and intentionally manage city improvement.”
Lexington will now compete against 19 other cities across the country for the $5 million grand prize or one of four additional prizes of $1 million each.
“Our idea is consistent with the founding themes of our country,” Gray said. “The founders built checks and balances into our governing systems in order to prevent the rise of oppressive authority. These checks and balances always stretch the fabric of democracy. Giving the people more of a say is challenging for elected officials – it is not for the timid. But it has been proven over the long arc of history that the democratic fabric is stronger when democratic processes are encouraged.”
A team from Lexington 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 Camp, the Lexington 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 Gray and the City of Lexington 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 Lexington team to Ideas Camp,” 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. A specially-assembled selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, Senior Vice President and head of Google.org, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, helped select the finalist cities.
About the Mayors Challenge
Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete in the Mayors Challenge. 305 cities representing 45 states across the country submitted applications by September 14, 2012.
The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers.
To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit bloomberg.org/mayorschallenge.
More information on Lexington’s Mayors Challenge application is available at Lexingtonchallenge.