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Posted on: October 31, 2017

Athens-Clarke County Selected for National What Works Cities Initiative

Athens-Clarke County is a What Works City

On October 31, 2017, Manager Blaine Williams announced that Athens-Clarke County has been selected as one of five new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ national What Work Cities initiative, one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Athens-Clarke County will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build its capacity to address local issues using data and evidence.

Through the What Works Cities program, Athens-Clarke County will establish and improve performance management programs to set, track, and share progress toward priority goals, strengthen accountability, and achieve better results. These performance analytics will measure and communicate progress internally and to the public on economic prosperity priorities.

“The Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County is excited to join the What Works Cities network and engage in its partnership with John Hopkins University Center for Government Excellence," said Williams. "Their assistance will be invaluable as we begin the process of designing a performance management program that will measure and communicate our progress towards achieving the Mayor and Commission's strategic priorities. Our goal throughout the process is to develop this framework by focusing initially on our strategic commitment of Economic Prosperity as a proof of concept to demonstrate the value of using performance data to inform decisions and promote citizen engagement.”

Athens-Clarke County’s selection, along with that of Chula Vista, CA; Colorado Springs, CO; Gainesville, FL; and Palmdale, CA, was announced by What Works Cities and Results for America, one of the initiative’s five partner organizations.

“Moving the needle on city challenges requires knowing what to measure and how – then acting on what you find,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “By teaching cities how to put data at the core of their decision-making, we’re equipping them with the tools to best solve local challenges and serve their communities.”

With these new participating cities announced on October 31, 2017, What Works Cities is now partnering with 95 cities across the country that are home to more than 29 million people in 37 states and have annual budgets exceeding $98 billion. The initiative will partner with 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018.

With support from a consortium of expert partners, What Works Cities communities are identifying more effective ways to evaluate programs and improve performance; best use resources to serve their communities; and address a range of social challenges – from public safety to affordable housing. What Works Cities participants also join the initiative’s extensive learning network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused government

The consortium of expert organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies to deliver support to cities comprises the Behavioral Insights Team, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation.

The five new cities join the following 90 cities partnering with What Works Cities: Albuquerque, NM; Anchorage, AK; Arlington, TX; Augusta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Baton Rouge, LA; Birmingham, AL; Boise, ID; Boulder, CO; Buffalo, NY; Bellevue, WA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, MA; Cape Coral, FL; Cary, NC; Charleston, SC; Chattanooga, TN; Charlotte, NC; Corona, CA; Denton, TX; Denver, CO; Des Moines, IA; Downey, CA; Durham, NC; Fargo, ND; Fayetteville, NC; Fort Collins, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Fort Worth, TX; Gilbert, AZ; Glendale, AZ; Greensboro, NC; Gresham, OR; Hartford, CT; Hayward, CA; Independence, MO; Indianapolis, IN; Jackson, MS; Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Knoxville, TN; Laredo, TX; Las Vegas, NV; Lewisville, TX; Lexington, KY; Lincoln, NE; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Madison, WI; Memphis, TN; Mesa, AZ; Miami, FL; Milwaukee, WI; Minneapolis, MN; Modesto, CA; Naperville, IL; Nashville, TN; New Haven, CT; New Orleans, LA; Norfolk, VA; Oklahoma City, OK; Olathe, KS; Orlando, FL; Portland, OR; Providence, RI; Raleigh, NC; Rancho Cucamonga, CA; Riverside, CA; Salinas, CA; Salt Lake City, UT; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Scottsdale, AZ; Saint Paul, MN; Sioux Falls, SD; South Bend, IN; Syracuse, NY; Tacoma, WA; Tempe, AZ; Topeka, KS; Tulsa, OK; Tyler, TX; Victorville, CA; Virginia Beach, VA; Waco, TX; Washington, DC; West Palm Beach, FL; Wichita, KS; and Winston-Salem, NC.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 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 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, visit bloomberg.org.

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. Through the initiative’s expert partners, cities around the country are receiving support, guidance and resources to succeed. In 2016, What Works Cities was named by Forbes as “one of the ten most promising philanthropic bets” of the year and by Engaging Local Government Leaders as the “most important company operating in the local government arena.” In March 2017, the initiative launched What Works Cities Certification, the first-ever national standard for data-driven governance. The report “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives” summarizes cities’ accomplishments with the initiative. For more information, visit whatworkscities.org.


Athens-Clarke County What Works Cities Group Photo
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