Sioux Falls Selected to Join National What Works Cities Initiative

Eighty-Five Cities Now Committed to Making Government More Effective Using Data and Evidence

Today, Mayor Mike Huether announced that Sioux Falls has been selected as one of five new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative, one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Sioux Falls’ selection, along with that of Arlington, Texas; Charleston, South Carolina; Fort Collins, Colorado; and Memphis, Tennessee, was announced today by What Works Cities.

“Across the country, cities of all shapes and sizes are producing better results for their residents by identifying and investing in what works,” says What Works Cities Executive Director Simone Brody. “Cities are increasingly showing themselves as the country’s drivers of progress, and we’re thrilled to welcome these new cities to this growing movement.”

As part of the What Works Cities initiative, Sioux Falls will improve open data practices to make public information more accessible and to engage residents around government priorities and services. The project will include creating an inventory of the City’s data resources; developing a plan for data governance; making data available to the public and City staff in a more useful and responsive way; and helping City staff to maximize the use of data in their daily work. The first area of municipal government to undergo the work will be neighborhood services, including code enforcement, with the goal of making the process replicable for other departments and divisions.

“Over the past seven years, we have worked hard to make Sioux Falls City government more productive and efficient, and this partnership will take us to even greater heights. We are proud to be selected as part of this initiative,” says Mayor Huether.

While the City’s website, www.siouxfalls.org, houses thousands of pages of information and receives 100,000 to 125,000 visits per month, public information currently often resides in multiple areas and in several different software systems, depending on topic or department. An end goal of the project with What Works Cities is to optimize the City’s existing open data portal, which today is used primarily for Geographic Information System (GIS)-associated information.

With support from a consortium of expert partners, What Works cities are identifying more effective ways to evaluate programs and improve performance; best use resources to serve their communities; and address a range of social challenges, from public safety to affordable housing. What Works Cities participants also join a growing national network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused government.

The consortium of leading organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies and delivering a program of support to cities comprises 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.

What Works Cities reached out to Mayor Huether on November 14, 2016, and encouraged the City of Sioux Falls to submit a Statement of Interest application. The City of Sioux Falls Community Development department did just that. What Works Cities staff members then conducted a site visit in Sioux Falls on March 8, 2017.

With today’s new participating cities, What Works Cities is now partnering with 85 cities across the country that are home to more than 27 million people in 37 states and have annual budgets exceeding $94 billion. The initiative will partner with 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018. To see the entire list of What Works Cities participants and learn about what they have accomplished, go to whatworkscities.org.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies:

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit bloomberg.org.

About What Works Cities:

What Works Cities, launched in April 2015, is one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance cities’ use of data and evidence. Through the initiative’s expert partners, which are providing technical assistance to 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018, cities around the country are receiving support, guidance, and resources to succeed. In 2016, What Works Cities was named by Forbes as “one of the ten most promising philanthropic bets” of the year and by Engaging Local Government Leaders as the “most important company operating in the local government arena.” In March 2017, the initiative launched What Works Cities Certification, the first-ever national standard for data-driven governance. The report “What Works Cities: How Local Governments Are Changing Lives,” released in June 2017, summarizes cities’ accomplishments with the initiative. For more information, visit whatworkscities.org.

Contacts:
Sharman Stein, 914-522-4102, sharman@results4america.org
Kristin Taylor, 646-854-5572, kristin@results4america.org