The city's idea was selected from 300 submissions to compete for the New York City mayor's philanthropic organization's $5 million grand prize. City-Parish President Joey Durel announced Monday that Lafayette has been selected as a finalist for the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge, a competition that aims to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. The award money, a $5 million grand prize, as well as one of four additional prizes of $1 million each, seeks to incentivize not only competition among cities but also collaboration.
Lafayette was selected based on its idea to develop community-wide games to spur community improvement. Lafayette's idea is to develop a "Community Enrichment Games" platform named "Level Up, Lafayette". Residents will create and play a range of games to benefit the community by tackling issues such as health and wellness, civic engagement and cultural participation. Level Up, Lafayette players will earn rewards that benefit the entire community - such as public improvement projects. Lafayette will now compete against 19 other cities across the country for the prize money.
"We are thrilled that Lafayette is a finalist in the Mayors Challenge. Lafayette has a long history of innovation that has defined our community's success," Durel said in announcing the city's selection. "This opportunity - a challenge that was specifically designed to encourage cities to be creative problem solvers - was a natural fit for Lafayette."
A team from Lafayette will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, a two-day gathering in New York City in November during which city teams will work collaboratively with each other and experts to further refine their ideas. Coming out of Camp, the Lafayette team will have access to additional technical support to prepare its ideas for final submission. Winners will be announced in spring 2013, with a total of $9 million going to five cities to jumpstart implementation of their ideas.
"Ideas Camp will provide our team a great opportunity to work with cities across the country facing similar challenges to seed Lafayette's next big innovation," Durel added.
"The response to the Mayors Challenge was extraordinary: bold and innovative ideas were submitted from every corner of the country," said James Anderson, who directs the Government Innovation program at Bloomberg Philanthropies.
The 20 finalists ideas were rated on four key criteria: vision/creativity, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication. A specially-assembled selection committee, co-chaired by Shona Brown, senior vice president and head of Google.org, and Ron Daniel, Bloomberg Philanthropies board member and former managing partner at McKinsey & Company, where he is still active, helped select the finalist cities.
Read more on the challenge from Mayor Bloomberg here.