Date:     November 5, 2012


Kate Vernez, Deputy City Manager – Special Projects

Julie Rusk, Assistant Director – Community & Cultural Services

City’s idea selected from over 300 submissions to compete for $5 million grand prize 

October 29, 2012, Santa Monica, CA – Mayor Richard Bloom and the City of Santa Monica today announced that 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. 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,” said Mayor Richard Bloom.

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.

“Congratulations to Mayor Bloom and the City of Santa Monica for becoming a Mayors Challenge finalist. The response to the Mayors Challenge was extraordinary: bold and innovative ideas were submitted from every corner of the country.  We look forward to welcoming the Santa Monica team to Ideas Camp in November,” said James Anderson, who directs the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies. 

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, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and Former Managing Partner at McKinsey & Company where he is still active, helped select the finalist cities.

About the Mayors Challenge 

Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete in the Mayors Challenge. 305 cities representing 45 states across the country submitted applications by September 14, 2012.

The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers. 

To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit 

To learn more about the City of Santa Monica, visit


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