July 12, 2017 Press Releases, RFA News

Eighty-five Cities Now Partnering with National What Works Cities Initiative

Five new cities commit to using data and evidence to address challenges from homelessness to public safety

NEW YORK, July 12, 2017 – Today, Results for America announced that five new cities have been selected to join What Works Cities: Arlington, TX; Charleston, SC; Fort Collins, CO; Memphis, TN; and Sioux Falls, SD. Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, What Works Cities is the largest philanthropic effort to improve the effectiveness of local governments by enhancing the use of data and evidence. With today’s new cities, the initiative is now partnering with 85 U.S. cities that are home to more than 27 million people in 37 states and have annual budgets exceeding $94 billion.

“Across the country, cities of all shapes and sizes are producing better results for their residents by identifying and investing in what works,” said What Works Cities Executive Director Simone Brody. “Cities are increasingly showing themselves as the country’s drivers of progress, and we’re thrilled to welcome these new cities to this growing movement.”

Through technical assistance from What Works Cities’ expert partners, participating cities are developing data-driven tools to best determine priorities, drive progress toward them, allocate resources, and tackle their toughest challenges – from homelessness to public safety and economic development. Cities are also fostering trust with their communities through greater transparency around city data in efforts to increase collaboration toward developing solutions.

Planned projects in the five new cities include:

  • Arlington, TX, will upgrade its ability to manage and open data as part of a larger city priority to become more efficient, grow the local economy, and increase transparency by embracing new technologies.
  • Charleston, SC, will use performance analytics to improve housing affordability and share progress with residents. The City will also utilize results-driven contracting to improve outcomes from its waste management agreements.
  • Fort Collins, CO, will focus on improving neighborhood livability and social health by better managing, sharing, and analyzing related data.
  • Memphis, TN, will develop a more robust open data policy, drawing on community feedback, with the goal of making the City’s data more usable and accessible to the public.
  • Sioux Falls, SD, will strengthen its open data practices, with a focus on enabling the City and residents to develop collaborative approaches to improving neighborhood services.

Examples of how participating cities have been applying such strategies to improve their residents’ lives can be found in a new report What Works Cities released last month.

Participating cities are also leveraging What Works Cities’ extensive learning network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused government. Cities are replicating each other’s successes and learning from each other’s challenges. What Works Cities is expanding that network with the launch of its new certification program earlier this year. The program, which is open to any city with a population over 30,000 people, sets the first-ever national standard for data-driven local government and serves as a roadmap to advance the practices of all cities.

The current participants in the What Works Cities initiative are: Albuquerque, NM; Anchorage, AK; Arlington, TX; Augusta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Boise, ID; Boulder, CO; Buffalo, NY; Bellevue, WA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, MA; Cape Coral, FL; Charleston, SC; Charlotte, NC; Chattanooga, TN; Corona, CA; Denton, TX; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Downey, CA; Durham, NC; Fargo, ND; Fort Collins, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Fort Worth, TX; Gilbert, AZ; Glendale, AZ; Greensboro, NC; Gresham, OR; Hartford, CT; Independence, MO; Indianapolis, IN; Jackson, MS; Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Knoxville, TN; Laredo, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Lewisville, TX; Lexington, KY; Lincoln, NE; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Madison, WI; Memphis, TN; Mesa, AZ; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Modesto, CA; Naperville, IL; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; New Orleans, LA; Norfolk, VA; Oklahoma City, OK; Olathe, KS; Orlando, FL; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Raleigh, NC; Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Riverside, CA; Salinas, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Scottsdale, AZ; Saint Paul, MN; Sioux Falls, SD; South Bend, IN; Syracuse, NY; Tacoma, WA; Tempe, AZ; Topeka, KS; Tulsa, OK; Tyler, TX; Victorville, CA; Virginia Beach, VA; Waco, TX; Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, FL; and Wichita, KS.

About What Works Cities:
What Work Cities, launched in April 2015, is the largest-ever philanthropic effort 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, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation. In 2016, What Works Cities was named by Forbes as “one of the ten most promising philanthropic bets” of the year and by Engaging Local Government Leaders as the “most important company operating in the local government arena.” In March 2017, the initiative launched What Works Cities Certification, the first-ever national standard for data-driven governance. The report “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives,” released in June 2017, summarizes cities’ accomplishments with the initiative. For more information, visit whatworkscities.org.

About Results for America:
Results for America is helping decision-makers at all levels of government harness evidence and data to make progress on great challenges. The organization’s mission is to make investing in what works the “new normal” so that when policymakers make decisions, they start by seeking the best evidence and data available, then use what they find to get better results. For more information, visit results4america.org.

Results for America/What Works Cities, Sharman Stein, (914) 522-4102, [email protected]

Results for America/What Works Cities, Kristin Taylor, (646) 854-5572, [email protected]


Ben Harris Joins Results for America as Chief Economist and Senior Advisor