Louisville named as finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies 2021 Global Mayors Challenge

June 15, 2021

Louisville is one of 50 Champion Cities selected today as finalists in the 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, a global innovation competition that identifies and accelerates the most ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These 50 urban innovations rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 630 applications from 99 countries, in the first-ever Global Mayors Challenge.

Louisville advances to the four-month Champion Phase of the competition with a proposal to further develop the Butterfly Project.

The Butterfly Project trains high school and college students in demographic groups underrepresented in design and data skills to use real data to empower local nonprofits and themselves in work to further racial justice. The program, which launched this year and is named in honor of Louisville native and Central High graduate Muhammad Ali, connects students to the talent pipeline for innovative technologies, thus preparing them for a high-wage, high-growth career field. The project is part of Louisville’s Microsoft-supported Future of Work initiative and a partnership between Central High School, Bellarmine University and A Path Forward.

"Talent is evenly distributed in cities across America, but opportunity is not. That's certainly true of Louisville. Government, businesses, nonprofits and community institutions have a responsibility to do the work of addressing inequities caused by historic and current discrimination,” Mayor Fischer said. “The Butterfly Project provides young people the data science-based skills to succeed in their careers and the tools to help our city, and I'm thankful to our compassionate partners and to the Bloomberg Challenge team for recognizing the potential of this work to transform the lives and communities."

In Louisville, Black residents account for 7% of tech workers but are 14% of the metropolitan population.

From June through October, the 50 finalist cities will refine their ideas with technical assistance from Bloomberg Philanthropies and its network of leading innovation experts. Fifteen of the 50 cities will ultimately win the grand prize, with each receiving $1 million and robust multi-year technical assistance to implement and scale their ideas. Grand Prize Winners will be announced in early 2022.

“These 50 finalists are showing the world that in the face of the pandemic’s enormous challenges, cities are rising to meet them with bold, innovative, and ambitious ideas,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and 108th mayor of New York City. “By helping these cities test their ideas over the coming months, we will have a chance to identify cutting-edge policies and programs that can allow cities to rebuild in ways that make them stronger and healthier, and more equal and more just.”

The 50 Champion Cities submitted ideas addressing four of the most significant challenges borne of the pandemic: Economic Recovery & Inclusive Growth; Health & Wellbeing; Climate & Environment; and Good Governance & Equality. A prestigious selection committee co-chaired by Bloomberg Philanthropies board member Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO & President, Ariel Investments, and David Miliband, President & CEO, International Rescue Committee, assessed the applications to determine the Champion City finalists.

“This is always an especially exciting phase of the Mayors Challenge, helping mayors push their innovations to even greater heights," said James Anderson, head of Government Innovation at Bloomberg Philanthropies. "While 15 cities will ultimately take home grand prizes, all 50 cities receive world class coaching and support to improve their ideas and their potential to improve lives." 

The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge builds on the success of four previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013 and 2018), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit mayorschallenge.bloomberg.org and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.


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