Bloomberg Philanthropies has added a new wrinkle to its Mayors Challenge initiative — now fans can vote for their favorite in the national competition to solve problems and improve life in American cities. In "American Idol" fashion, the Mayors Challenge Fan Favorite competition allows the general public to learn more about ideas submitted by 20 city finalists in the competition and vote for their favorite.
This latest take in the Mayors Challenge, launched last summer, is a partnership with The Huffington Post. People can vote for the Fan Favorite selection by visiting the website. Voting will be open until March 6.
Each finalist city is showcasing its idea through an original video and a blog post from its mayor. The winner of the Fan Favorite competition will be recognized next month alongside the $5 million grand prize winner of the Mayors Challenge and four additional $1 million winners.
The winning Fan Favorite city will receive a $50,000 in-kind grant from IBM to support implementation of its idea. The Fan Favorite city will also receive featured coverage and promotion from The Huffington Post, including a monthly front page column for a year and an interview with Arianna Huffington on HuffPost Live.
The goal of the Mayors Challenge is to develop ideas that can be replicated in other cities. New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, the namesake for Bloomberg Philanthropies, issued the challenge in June to mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more.
Finalist cities were selected from among 305 cities that submitted ideas in the competition. Cities among the 20 finalists include Boston; Chicago; Philadelphia; Springfield, Ore.; Lafayette, La.; and High Point, N.C.