25 Aug 2016

Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University Launch Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

Bloomberg Committing $32 Million for New Leadership Program for Mayors and Senior Aides; University to Design Comprehensive Program of Support to Advance Public Sector Management and Innovation

BOSTON—Bloomberg Philanthropies and Harvard University are jointly announcing the launch of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, an unparalleled collaboration to advance leadership, management and innovation in cities across America and around the world. Funded by a $32 million gift from Michael R. Bloomberg and administered through Harvard, the Initiative will equip city leaders with the tools, skills and support increasingly required to tackle the complex leadership and management challenges faced in governing cities around the globe.

Within the next four years, as many as 300 mayors and 400 top mayoral aides will participate in the Initiative’s executive training programs. This ambitious effort will generate the world’s largest hub of new and customized curriculum, instructional and technology tools – most of which will be made freely available to the world – and cases focused on innovative city leadership. The Initiative will also create student internships in mayors’ offices, on-demand programming for participating cities, significant new research on innovative city government, and an executive coaching program through which successful mayors mentor newcomers. Each year, a select number of mayors and key aides will be invited to New York to participate in interactive convenings.

“With more and more of the world living in cities, mayors are increasingly responsible for solving major challenges we face, from climate change to poverty to public health,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, three-term Mayor of New York City, philanthropist, and Harvard alum. “But despite the importance of the role, mayors often lack opportunities to learn from experts - and one another. By giving mayors tools and resources – and by connecting them with peers facing many of the same challenges – this program will go a long way toward helping them run cities more effectively.”

The Initiative will create extensive collaboration between Harvard Business School (HBS) and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) Executive Education programs, bringing together Harvard University’s preeminent array of scholars, and integrating the governance ideas, management tools, and leadership techniques each school has to offer. It will also bring to bear Bloomberg Philanthropies’ extensive network of experts and experience working in more than 400 cities around the globe to solve major problems and improve city life.

“We are grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies for a pathbreaking gift that will strengthen cities and their leaders through collaborations with university researchers and educators focused on improving urban life. This is a vitally important opportunity to advance the understanding of urban issues and to work with mayors and other public officials to bring discoveries from university research into communities across the nation and around the world,” said Harvard University President Drew Faust.

“We hope to enlighten and inspire leaders, and to provide them with even greater understanding and capacity to solve the many problems that they face in their cities,” said Douglas Elmendorf, dean of Harvard Kennedy School. “The goal is to enable innovative leadership, and to foster lifelong networks that will serve them and their citizens for decades to come.”

“Ultimately this program will better enable mayors and their senior leaders to improve the lives of residents,” said Nitin Nohria, dean of Harvard Business School. “The impact will be felt far beyond just those that participate as this Initiative will educate and inspire an entire global community focused on cities as key to solving the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is Bloomberg Philanthropies’ latest Government Innovation offering. Government Innovation equips mayors and other city leaders with the tools and techniques they need to solve urban challenges and improve citizens’ lives.

“We routinely hear from city leaders that they crave high quality opportunities to learn about the most effective governance approaches and latest ideas to create better results for their citizens,” said Patricia E. Harris, CEO of Bloomberg Philanthropies. “We’re excited to dramatically increase the availability and quality of skills building and leadership development opportunities for the most critical public leaders around – our mayors.”

Designed to build on Harvard’s unique network and convening power, the Initiative will be housed within the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at HKS, a globally recognized leader in government innovation. Jorrit de Jong, lecturer in public policy and management and academic director of the Innovations in Government Program at the Ash Center at HKS, will serve as the faculty director.

“This new and exciting Initiative will serve as an engine for continuous interaction between research, curriculum development and long-term engagement with practitioners to further develop and disseminate knowledge about the art and science of innovative problem-solving in cities,” said de Jong.

Learn more information here on the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.


Doug Gavel

About Harvard Business School

Founded in 1908 as part of Harvard University, Harvard Business School is located on a 40-acre campus in Boston. Its faculty of more than 250 offers full-time programs leading to the MBA and PhD degrees, as well as more than 175 Executive Education programs, and Harvard Business School Online, the School’s digital learning platform. For more than a century, faculty have drawn on their research, their experience in working with organizations worldwide, and their passion for teaching, to educate leaders who make a difference in the world. The School and its curriculum attract the boldest thinkers and the most collaborative learners who will go on to shape the practice of business and entrepreneurship around the globe.