About What Works Cities

What Works Cities is designed to accelerate cities’ use of data and evidence to improve people’s lives.

Launched by Bloomberg Philanthropies in April 2015, What Works Cities is a national initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents. We are the nation’s most comprehensive philanthropic initiative helping local leaders identify and invest in what works. Applications have now closed to be considered as one of our first 100 cities, but check back soon for new opportunities.

Meet Our Partners

Bloomberg Philanthropies has assembled an unparalleled group of leading practitioners to provide a program of support for cities. These expert partners help Mayors and city leaders through customized approaches designed to expand cities’ use of data and evidence.

The Behavioral Insights Team (BIT) started life inside the Prime Minister’s Office at 10 Downing Street in the United Kingdom and now helps organizations around the world boost social impact by working together on improving the design of public services and measuring effectiveness using rigorous evaluation techniques.


As a part of What Works Cities, BIT helps cities conduct real time, low-cost evaluations of programs, so they can continually improve city services.

The Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School conducts research on how governments can improve the results they achieve for their citizens. An important part of this research model involves providing pro bono technical assistance to state and local governments. Through this hands-on involvement, the Government Performance Lab gains insights into the barriers that governments face and the solutions that can overcome these barriers.


As part of What Works Cities, the Government Performance Lab supports cities in improving the results they achieve with their contracted dollars.

The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University helps governments build capacity for decision making that is rooted in evidence, open accountability, and citizen engagement. The interdisciplinary Center is part of the Institute of the 21st Century City where it augments research and academics.


As part of What Works Cities, the Center works with cities to assess the current state of What Works practices, and supports implementation and enhancement of open data and performance management programs.

Results for America strives to improve outcomes for citizens and communities by shifting public resources toward programs, practices, and policies that use evidence and data to improve quality and get better results. The organization seeks to drive broader systems-change so that “investing in what works” becomes the new norm for allocating public dollars.


Results for America ensures a world-class experience for all participating cities, coordinates the What Works Cities partners, and advances a nationwide dialogue on the need for cities to use data and evidence in decision making.

The Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, uses the tools of civic tech, policy analysis and original reporting to advocate for more transparency and accountability in government at all levels.


As part of What Works Cities, Sunlight helps cities craft meaningful and sustainable open data policies.