Philadelphia Named as Finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge

PHILADELPHIA – Philadelphia is one of 35 Champion Cities selected as a finalist in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover bold, inventive ideas that confront the toughest problems cities face.

“Philadelphia is excited to be among the ‘Champion Cities’ recognized by Bloomberg Philanthropies as innovators in developing powerful solutions to local challenges,” said Mayor Kenney. “We’re deeply committed to building stronger supports for vulnerable young people through the Philadelphia Hub for Juvenile Justice Services, and we know that our idea will benefit tremendously from the expert guidance and city-to-city collaboration that we’ll receive from the Bloomberg Mayors Challenge.”

The urban innovations proposed by Philadelphia and the 34 other cities rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 320 applications. The Champion Cities will now begin a 6-month testing phase where they will conduct public prototypes of their ideas with grant funding of up to $100,000 per city, a new addition to the Competition this year.

The City of Philadelphia’s idea is for “The Hub for Juvenile Justice Services,” to create a new national model for how children are treated in the criminal justice system. Under the proposal submitted to the Bloomberg Challenge, the Hub would be a 24/7 integrated service center that is trauma-informed and technology-driven.  Staff at the Hub would receive training to respond to youth and families and make referrals to prevention or other social service programs and to pretrial programs when appropriate.  The Hub would provide juveniles immediate and long-term access to social services and diversion programs through a centralized, non-police facility.

The Hub for Juvenile Justice Systems proposal was created by two members of the Philadelphia Police Department, Lt. Stephen Clark, PPD (Strategic Planning/PPD 2020) and Sgt. John Ross, PPD (Strategic Planning/PPD 2020).  Joining them in the effort was Rhonda McKitten, a Stoneleigh Fellow currently serving as a Youth Policy and Training Specialist in the Police Department.  The idea is an outgrowth of the work of a stakeholder group including the Managing Director’s Office, PPD, the DA’s office, DHS, Juvenile Probation and the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency.  The group has been meeting since May 2017 to look at ways to reduce the amount of time that youth spend in police custody, mitigate youth trauma, and support Philadelphia youth and families.

Philadelphia now advances to the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition. Cities will refine their ideas during this process with up to $100,000, as well as personalized support from innovation experts, to test and begin building support for their urban innovations and submit a new application in August 2018. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to bring their ideas to life. The Mayors Challenge returns to the U.S. as the first investment in the American Cities Initiative, a $200 million suite of new and expanded programs that will empower cities to generate innovation and advance policy that moves the nation forward.

“We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria – vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. A prestigious selection committee Co-Chaired by Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns and comprising distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives and social innovation leaders assessed the applications.

The 2018 Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.

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 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.