Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, What Work Cities is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. The initiative is providing technical assistance to 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018.

Cities around the country are receiving support, guidance and resources to succeed through a consortium of leading organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies: the Behavioral Insights Team, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Sunlight Foundation, with Results for America serving as the campaign manager for the initiative.

With support from these partners, cities are creating new methods to evaluate programs and improve performance; identifying more effective ways to use resources to serve their communities; and addressing a range of social challenges—from tackling poverty to increasing resident engagement.

The initiative recently launched What Works Cities Certification, the first-ever national standard to recognize and celebrate the most effective U.S. local governments leading the nation in the use of data and evidence to improve opportunities for residents. Like a Good Housekeeping Seal or ENERGY STAR rating for data-driven governance, Certification provides cities with a new, rigorous benchmark against which to assess their use of practices that ensure public dollars are well-spent and decisions are made based on facts, not special interests.


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