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Home > Leadership > Mayor > Archived Press Releases > 2016 Archives > Rich Products Supports The Opportunity Pledge > Buffalo Selected To Join National What Works Cities Initiative

Buffalo Selected To Join National What Works Cities Initiative

Innovative Program Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies Supports Cities’ Use of Data and Evidence to Make Government More Effective and Improve Lives

June 13, 2016 – Today, Mayor Byron W. Brown announced that Buffalo has been selected as 1 of 12 new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Work Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Launched in April 2015, the initiative is now providing support to 39 cities in 25 states and will work with up to 100 mid-sized cities on a rolling basis through 2018.

“Our participation in the ‘What Works Cities’ national initiative will have a huge impact on our continued work to improve delivery of city services to residents,” said City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown. “As we continue to grow Buffalo into a City of opportunity for all, free access to experts in data usage and performance will further my commitment to use fact-based and data driven approaches that will improve our ongoing efforts to deliver better results to Buffalo residents, business owners and visitors. In addition, our partnership with What Works Cities will help strengthen our highly effective CitiStat Buffalo initiative and complement our ongoing investments in technology to further open city data to the public and utilize city resources more wisely.”

What Works Cities collaborates with participating municipalities to review their current use of data and evidence, understand where they are utilizing best practices and identify areas for growth.  Buffalo will work with the What Works Cities expert partners to expand the city’s use of data and evidence to greatly enhance the city’s ambitious agenda for increased economic development and job growth, and equal access to opportunity among all residents.

Having reviewed Buffalo’s What Works Cities statement of interest and self-assessment, and having conducted an on-site workshop with Mayor Brown and his staff in March 2016, the WWC’s team identified two opportunities for which WWC can assist Buffalo in advancing its goals:  Open Data and Performance Management.  For example:

  • Buffalo, NY; Cape Coral, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Greensboro, NC; Kansas City, KS; Naperville, IL; Providence, RI; Scottsdale, AZ; Topeka, KS, and Wichita, KS, will work with the Sunlight Foundation and the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University (GovEx) to establish and improve open data practices in order to make their cities’ data more accessible to city managers and the public, engage residents around government priorities and services, and increase transparency and accountability.
  • Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Cape Coral, FL; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Greensboro, NC; Gresham, OR; Kansas City, KS; Naperville, IL; Topeka, KS; Scottsdale, AZ, and Wichita, KS, will work with GovEx to establish and improve performance management programs to set, track, and share progress toward priority goals, strengthen accountability, and achieve better results.

The addition of Buffalo and the other new cities demonstrates the growing interest by local government leaders to use data and evidence to make better decisions and improve results for city residents. Additionally, Results for America and other What Works Cities partners today released a toolkit of resources to support cities’ work in the areas of open data, performance management, low-cost evaluations, and results-driven contracting. 

The new What Works Cities Resource Toolkit– available to the public – includes best practices in designing open data policies and creating robust open data portals, advancing performance management programs by setting stronger targets, utilizing behavioral insights to run randomized control trials and strategically managing city contracts. What Works Cities partners will continue to develop resources and best practice guides, which are available to all city leaders around the country.

The newest What Works Cities are:

  • Baltimore, Maryland
  • Buffalo, New York
  • Cape Coral, Florida
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • Greensboro, North Carolina
  • Gresham, Oregon
  • Kansas City, Kansas
  • Naperville, Illinois
  • Providence, Rhode Island
  • Scottsdale, Arizona
  • Topeka, Kansas
  • Wichita, Kansas

With the addition of these new cities, 39 cities in 25 states are now part of the initiative. As What Works Cities, they receive technical assistance and join a network of fellow city leaders who are sharing best practices and advancing each other’s work. The cities have a combined population of 14 million Americans, with annual budgets exceeding $48 billion.  

“These city leaders are committed to utilizing data to make better decisions, engage residents and hold themselves accountable,” said James Anderson, the head of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation program.  “Bloomberg Philanthropies is excited to support these cities and help them to achieve their ambitions.”

Results for America is the campaign manager for What Works Cities. The initiative celebrated the success of its first year in April 2016 with a Summit involving 200 city leaders and practitioners from over 50 cities focused on the topic “Transforming Data into Action.”

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 will provide technical assistance to 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018 and offer cities around the country tools and resources they need to succeed.  What Works Cities was named by Forbes as “one of the biggest philanthropic bets on social change from 2015.” For more information, visit whatworkscities.bloomberg.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 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars.  For more information, visit bloomberg.org or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat: Bloombergdotorg and Twitter @BloombergDotOrg.

About Results for America:
Results for America (RFA) is improving outcomes for young people, their families, and communities by shifting public resources toward evidence-based, results-driven solutions. RFA is working to achieve this goal by building a strong bipartisan “Invest in What Works” coalition; developing and advancing the next generation of evidence-based, results-driven practices, policies, and programs; and supporting leaders at all levels of government to invest in what works.  For more information, visit results4america.org.

Contact:
Results for America/What Works Cities, Sharman Stein, (646) 854-5420 http://sharman@results4america.org