Two Colorado cities have won Bloomberg Philanthropies’ U.S. Mayors Challenge, a year-long initiative that asked for innovative solutions to big problems that other cities could copy.
Nine cities, including Denver and Fort Collins, were announced as winners Monday with ideas to tackle homelessness, the opioid crisis, mobility, climate change, and economic opportunity.
The winners will receive $1 million to implement their ideas.
“Mayors across the country are tackling the big issues that Washington is ignoring,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term mayor of New York City, in a news release. “This competition is designed to help them do even more, by incentivizing and supporting big – and achievable – new ideas.”
Denver plans to install cutting-edge air-pollution sensors around schools to inform the city's approach to pollution.
According to Denver's idea submission, city families spend an average of $3,100 a year on asthma-related medical costs — totaling more than $30 million annually.
Fort Collins will offer landlords low-cost financing to make affordable housing safer and more energy efficient. Fort Collins officials say the city will also, “work with Colorado State University to document the health and well-being benefits of improved indoor air quality over time.”
“The City of Fort Collins is honored to accept this award from Bloomberg Philanthropies,” said Mayor Wade Troxell in a news release. “We believe that the Mayors Challenge competition highlights the need for cities to increase their collaboration with the private sector to scale up real solutions that make an impact locally and globally.”
The city’s EPIC program is working with local contractors and property owners “to upgrade older, less energy-efficient rental units where many low- and moderate-income families live — not only to save residents money but also to improve the health and well-being of our entire community,” Troxell said.
The other U.S. winners were Durham, North Carolina; Georgetown, Texas; Huntington, West Virginia; Los Angeles; New Rochelle, New York; Philadelphia and South Bend, Indiana.
Bloomberg Philanthropies has sponsored challenges in the U.S., Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean.