June 16, 2017 Press Releases

What Works Cities Showcases Key Accomplishments in Cities

Eighty cities now partnering with the national initiative

NEW YORK, June 16, 2017 – Today, Results for America released “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives,” showcasing accomplishments of cities participating in the What Works Cities initiative, and announced three new cities joining the initiative. Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, What Works Cities (WWC) is the largest philanthropic effort to improve the effectiveness of local government, enhancing the use of data and evidence in the public sector. WWC recently introduced a new certification program, setting the first-ever national standard for data-driven local governments and serving as a roadmap to advance the practices of all cities. More than 200 municipalities expressed interest in Certification after the program was announced in March 2017.

“Across the country, What Works cities are drawing on data to make better decisions about how to allocate resources, deliver services and, ultimately, improve the lives of the residents they serve. We’re excited to share these stories so other cities can learn from and adopt them,” said WWC Executive Director Simone Brody.

Key wins showcased in “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives” include:

  • Chattanooga, TN, recruiting more diverse applicants to its police force by using randomized control trials to test effective recruitment messaging, a tactic now being tested in more than ten What Works cities across the country;
  • Denver, CO, developing data analytics courses for city employees, empowering them to identify efficiencies and enhance government effectiveness;
  • Kansas City, KS, improving neighborhoods and saving money by using data to identify vacant properties, recoup funds from unpaid property taxes and make more properties available for sale; and
  • Seattle, WA, significantly increasing the number of homeless people being moved into permanent housing by piloting a results-driven contracting model with providers of homeless services.

Results for America also announced today that three new cities have been selected to join the WWC initiative: New Haven, CT, Oklahoma City, OK, and Rancho Cucamonga, CA. WWC is now partnering with 80 cities across the country that are home to 26 million people in 36 states and have annual budgets exceeding $92 billion.

“We are proud to welcome these new members to our growing movement of leaders committed to using 21st-century tools to solve their cities’ challenges. This movement has taken root in cities of all sizes – proof that this method of governance can work for everyone,” said Brody

The three new cities and “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives” were both announced at an event hosted today by Results for America in New York City. The event featured a conversation between James Anderson, head of Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies,  who recently topped Fast Company’s 2017 list of the 100 most creative people in business, and Richard Florida, urban affairs expert and professor at the University of Toronto. The two discussed how cities are influencing the future of the United States, and Florida’s latest book, The New Urban Crisis.

The current participants in the What Works Cities initiative are Albuquerque, NM; Anchorage, AK; Augusta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Birmingham, AL; Boise, ID; Boulder, CO; Buffalo, NY; Bellevue, WA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, MA; Cape Coral, FL; Chattanooga, TN; Charlotte, NC; Corona, CA; Denton, TX; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Downey, CA; Durham, NC; Fargo, ND; 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; 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; 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 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, 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. 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]

To read the full report, click below:


Results for America Statement on Passage of Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2017 by U.S. House of Representatives