Bloomberg Philanthropies announced a $43 million partnership Wednesday with Johns Hopkins University to create a center for public innovation that will train city leaders and their staffs from around the world on creative problem solving techniques in local government.
The Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation aims to help local government officials develop, test and expand solutions to such challenges as housing, climate and economic development while also documenting the impacts of those solutions, Bloomberg Philanthropies said in a news release.
The center will offer fellowships to government staff both nationally and internationally to build stronger evidence for their work, share knowledge with their peers, and strengthen national and international networks focused on public innovation. Officials also hope the center will help build a pipeline for Johns Hopkins students interested in local government internships.
Amanda Daflos, former chief innovation officer for the city of Los Angeles, will lead the new center. The investment also will fund three new professors to lead Johns Hopkins faculty researching urban policy and government innovation, according to the release.
“City leaders have unique powers to save and improve lives, and this new center will help them do more of both, by advancing the art and science of innovative local government,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, a Johns Hopkins alumnus and founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies, in the release.
Bloomberg said he hopes the center will meet the “enormous demand” from mayors and their staffs for “bold and creative new ways to tackle their most pressing challenges.”
The partnership marks the billionaire philanthropist and former New York City mayor’s latest investment in Johns Hopkins University, where his previous donations have totaled about $3 billion. Bloomberg’s donation of $1.8 billion in scholarship money in 2018 was touted as the largest gift to any academic institution in U.S. history.
“The Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation embodies our shared belief in the power of philanthropy to improve lives and demonstrates the critical role universities can play in providing today’s most innovative civic leaders with the tools they need to marshal data, shape policy, and transform practice for the benefit of cities and citizens around the world,” said university president Ron Daniels in the release.
The Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation also will house several other Bloomberg Philanthropies programs, including the Bloomberg Cities Network, Innovation Teams and innovation training efforts and the Cities of Service initiative.