Providence selected to join National What Works Cities initiative


Innovative Program Funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies Supports Cities’ Use of Data and Evidence to Make Government More Effective and Improve Lives

PROVIDENCE, RI – Mayor Jorge O. Elorza Monday announced that Providence has been selected as 1 of 12 new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Launched in April 2015, the initiative is now providing support to 39 cities in 25 states and will work with up to 100 mid-sized cities on a rolling basis through 2018.

“With our focus on innovation, customer service, schools, and economic development, I’m thrilled that Providence has been selected to participate in this initiative that will help us leverage data and evidence to meet the needs of our residents,” said Mayor Elorza. “We look forward to working collaboratively with What Work Cities and learning from their expertise to make our city stronger and more vibrant.”

Providence is one of the newest cities to join a rapidly growing movement among City Halls throughout America, whose leaders are making a public commitment to enhancing their cities’ use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents. The cities of Baltimore, Maryland; Buffalo, New York; Cape Coral, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Greensboro, North Carolina; Gresham, Oregon; Kansas City, Kansas; Naperville, Illinois; Scottsdale, Arizona; Topeka, Kansas; and Wichita, Kansas, were also selected to join the initiative today.

What Works Cities collaborates with participating municipalities to review their current use of data and evidence, understand where they are utilizing best practices and identify areas for growth. Providence will work with the What Works Cities expert partners to expand the city’s use of data and evidence to develop a formal, citywide open data policy framework to facilitate the release of open government data, as well as adopt results-driven contracting strategies and other procurement best practices.

Providence will establish and improve open data practices in order to make the city’s data more accessible to city managers and the public, engage residents around government priorities and services, and increase transparency and accountability.

The consortium of leading organizations that has been assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies to provide a program of expert support includes 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 new cities join the following cities as What Works cities: Anchorage, Alaska; Bellevue, Washington; Boston, Massachusetts; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Charlotte, North Carolina; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Denton, Texas; Denver, Colorado; Independence, Missouri; Jackson, Mississippi; Kansas City, Missouri; Las Vegas, Nevada; Lexington, Kentucky; Little Rock, Arkansas; Louisville, Kentucky; Mesa, Arizona; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; New Orleans, Louisiana; Raleigh, North Carolina; Saint Paul, Minnesota; San Francisco, California; San Jose, California; Seattle, Washington; Tacoma, Washington; Tulsa, Oklahoma; Victorville, California, and Waco, Texas. 

To receive updates on the What Works Cities initiative, please visit

(release from City of Providence) 

The CW