Bloomberg Philanthropies this week announced a new initiative to help cities across North and South America reach “an even higher standard” of data-informed decision making.
The new program is called the “City Data Alliance” and it’s backed by a $60 million investment from Bloomberg Philanthropies. According to an announcement Wednesday, the program will work in partnership with Bloomberg’s other civic technology-focused programs, including the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab, Results for America and a Bloomberg-run center at Johns Hopkins University.
Starting this spring, mayors in cities with populations greater than 100,000 can apply to the alliance’s inaugural cohort. Participants will spend six months receiving education, coaching and consultations on their civic-data practices, as well as 12 months of assistance to improve an aspect of their cities’ data governance strategies, like performance management, procurement or evaluation.
The alliance is looking for cities with “strong foundations” of data use already in place, according to the application, which includes having a chief data officer and a commitment to at least five hours a month for civic data-related training.
“A growing number of city leaders are using data to drive their decision-making, and as they respond to unprecedented new challenges, expanding this program will help them do it even more effectively,” Michael Bloomberg, the former New York mayor who founded the philanthropic group, said in a press release.
Cities have paid more attention to collecting and analyzing data over the past two years in an effort to manage the public health crisis. Several cities have launched data “academies” in the past year to train their staff. Bloomberg Philanthropies, meanwhile, has been encouraging those efforts by offering certifications through its “What Works Cities” program. Since 2017, it’s certified more than 50 cities in the U.S. for their data practices.