Elk Grove Named Finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge

Press Release

Press Release - Elk Grove Named Finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge

Posted: 02/22/2018

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Elk Grove is among 35 Champion Cities That Will Embark on 6-month Testing Phase in Competition for Grand Prize

Elk Grove is one of 35 Champion Cities selected as finalists in Bloomberg Philanthropies 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover bold, inventive ideas that confront the toughest problems cities face.

Elk Grove’s proposal to create a universal standardized rental application process for low-income residents was among the 35 urban innovations that rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 320 applications. Elk Grove now advances to the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition where city staff will refine their idea with up to $100,000 grant funding and personalized support from innovation experts. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to bring their ideas to life.

The Mayors Challenge returns to the U.S. as one of the first investment in the American Cities Initiative, a suite of new and expanded programs that will empower cities to generate innovation and advance policy.

"We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria - vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. A prestigious selection committee Co-Chaired by Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns and comprising distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives and social innovation leaders assessed the applications.

Ninety-seven percent of Elk Grove’s low-income residents pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing and are even more burdened, when it comes time to move, by the high cost of rental applications and a disjointed process. The City of Elk Grove will create a universal standardized rental application process that matches applicants with homes for which they meet the landlord’s minimum requirements, such as salary and credit score, thus reducing the time, cost and effort needed to find housing.

“When I connected with Bloomberg Philanthropies at the U.S. Conference of Mayors last year, I was convinced that working together could generate a creative solution to a housing problem facing many people in Elk Grove,” said Elk Grove Mayor, Steve Ly. “By improving the rental application process, we could assist nearly 1,000 lower income households in our city every year and create a blueprint that could help countless others in California and throughout the country.”

The 2018 Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.

About the City of Elk Grove

Elk Grove is a vibrant, business and family friendly community of more than 171,000 people in the Sacramento, California region. Elk Grove is a young, ethnically diverse, modern city that was incorporated in 2000. Elk Grove has low crime, excellent schools, over 95 community parks and 28 miles of trails, plentiful dining and shopping options, numerous annual events and festivals, and over 270 sunny days per year. Elk Grove has been ranked as the 7th most racially diverse city in the country, the 2nd best city for homeownership in California, the best Sacramento suburb for young couples, and is one of the fastest growing cities in California and the 11th fastest in the nation. For more about the City of Elk Grove, visit www.elkgrovecity.org.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.

Media Contact

Bloomberg Philanthropies, Courtney Greenwald, (212) 205-0361, [email protected]


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