On Monday morning, Mayor Jeff Longwell announced that the City of Wichita has been selected as one of 12 new cities to participate in the What Works Initiative by Bloomberg Philanthropies. This is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of evidence and data in the public sector.
“Wichita is making leaps and bounds in terms of our efforts to utilize data to actively improve the lives of our citizens and best position ourselves for future growth,” Longwell said. “This will help us streamline our efforts to engage citizens and research to identify what the next big opportunities are for Wichita.”
The initiative launched in April 2015, and now provides support to 39 cities in 25 states. The Initiative will work with up to 100 mid-sized cities on a rolling basis through 2018.
Wichita is one of the newest cities to join the movement, which is rapidly growing among City Halls whose leaders are making a public commitment to enhancing their cities’ use of data and evidence to inform local decision-making, improve services and engage residents. Baltimore; Buffalo, New York; Cape Coral, Florida; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Greensboro, North Carolina; Gresham, Oregon; Kansas City, Kansas; Naperville, Illinois; Providence, Rhode Island; Scottsdale, Arizona; and Topeka also joined the initiative today.
What Works Cities collaborates with participating municipalities, reviewing their current use of data and evidence, understanding where they are utilizing best practices and identifying potential growth areas. Wichita will work with the program’s expert partners in order to expand the city’s use of data and evidence. Some of Wichita’s specific goals are to establish and improve open data practices to make the city’s data more accessible to the public, engage residents around government priorities and services, and increase transparency.
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. To receive updates on and learn more about What Works Cities initiative, please visit www.whatworkscities.org.