Knoxville Selected to Join National 'What Works Cities' Initiative

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

Knoxville Selected to Join National 'What Works Cities' Initiative

Posted: 10/24/2016
Knoxville Selected as one of the What Works CitiesToday, Mayor Madeline Rogero announced that Knoxville has been selected as one of 16 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. Knoxville will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build capacity to address local issues.
Knoxville’s selection comes as the growing national movement, launched in April 2015, reaches a critical benchmark: 55 mid-sized U.S. cities are now working to better use data and evidence to improve services for residents, inform local decision-making and engage citizens. All together, these 55 cities come from 33 states, represent 19 million residents and have annual budgets exceeding $63 billion. The initiative will partner with 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018. 

“As a City, we want to make sure our operations are as transparent as possible and our services and resources are being used to provide the greatest possible benefit to our citizens,” Mayor Rogero said. “I am excited about this partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies to improve public data access and explore innovative ways to track and visualize our operations.”

“We are thrilled to welcome these new cities to the initiative, furthering our mission to help cities leverage data and evidence to improve their residents’ lives,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “We’re proud to add the commitment of these 16 new and innovative cities to this national movement.”

With support from a consortium of partners, these cities are identifying more effective ways to evaluate programs and improve performance; use resources to serve their communities; and address a range of social challenges – from tackling poverty to increasing resident engagement. Another key benefit is joining What Works Cities’ growing national network of local leaders and global experts actively sharing best practices for outcomes-focused government. 

Knoxville and the following cities are the latest to publicly commit to enhancing their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents: Albuquerque, N.M.; Birmingham, Ala.; Boulder, Colo.; Des Moines, Iowa; Fort Worth, Texas; Hartford, Conn.; Lincoln, Neb.; Madison, Wis.; Nashville; Olathe, Kan.; Portland, Ore.; Salt Lake City, Utah; South Bend, Ind.; Syracuse, N.Y.; and Virginia Beach, Va. 

Knoxville will be working on two projects as part of the What Works Cities initiative:

• Developing an open data policy and online open data portal, with the assistance of the Sunlight Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for open government;

• And working with the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University to track and share progress toward blight abatement in neighborhoods and commercial districts across the City.

In 18 short months, What Works Cities has stimulated the largest movement of cities and city leaders across the country sharing lessons and best practices to improve the effectiveness of government. The initiative has inspired 90 U.S. mayors to better use data and evidence to improve services and has engaged over 1,700 city employees on performance management, analytics and other leading practices. What Works Cities has produced 130 resources that cities around the world are using to improve their communities and drive better outcomes for residents.

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

The 16 new cities join the following 39 cities as What Works Cities: Anchorage, Ak.; Baltimore, Md.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Bellevue, Wash.; Boston; Cambridge, Mass.; Cape Coral, Fla.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Denton, Texas; Denver, Colo.; Fort Lauderdale, Fla.; Greensboro, N.C.; Gresham, Ore.; Independence, Mo.; Jackson, Miss.; Kansas City, Kan.; Kansas City, Mo.; Las Vegas, Nev.; Lexington, Ky.; Little Rock, Ark.; Louisville, Ky.; Mesa, Ariz.; Milwaukee, Wis.; Naperville, Ill.; New Orleans, La.; Providence, R.I.; Raleigh, N.C.; San Francisco; San Jose, Calif.; Seattle; Scottsdale, Ariz.; Saint Paul, Minn.; Tacoma, Wash.; Topeka, Kan.; Tulsa, Okla., Victorville, Calif.; Waco, Texas; and Wichita, Kan. 

To receive updates on the What Works Cities initiative, please visit

Media Contacts:
Knoxville: Jesse Fox Mayshark, (865) 215-3710,
What Works Cities, Kristin Taylor, (646) 854-5572,