Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom and the City of Santa Monica announced Monday it has been selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Challenge, a competition created to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life — and that ultimately can be shared with other cities across the nation.
The City of Santa Monica was selected based on its innovative idea to become the first U.S. city to establish a wellbeing index to spur improvements for the community.
The “City of Wellbeing” concept was inspired by Santa Monica’s cradle to career initiative, a collaborative effort to create a system where every child thrives.
Santa Monica will now compete against 19 other cities across the country for the $5 million grand prize as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each.
“We’re thrilled to have the chance to work with Bloomberg Philanthropies on our wellbeing concept,” Bloom said. “The Mayors Challenge has been a welcome opportunity to explore big picture ideas that are too often not pursued given the demanding pace of day-to-day business. This award process has already pushed us closer toward those goals.”
A team from Santa Monica will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City in November during which city teams will work collaboratively with each other and experts to further refine their ideas.
Coming out of Camp, the Santa Monica team will have access to additional technical support to prepare their ideas for final submission. Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9 million going to five cities to jumpstart implementation of their ideas.
The 20 finalist ideas were rated on four key criteria: vision/creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication.
A specially-assembled selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, Senior Vice President and head of Google.org, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, helped select the finalist cities.