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Posted on: February 28, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Modesto Picked for Bloomberg 'What Works Cities' Program


Today, Mayor Ted Brandvold and City Manager Jim Holgersson announced that Modesto has been selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Work Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever national philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. The City of Modesto will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build capacity in addressing local issues. There is no cost to the City for participation in this initiative.

The City of Modesto will work to improve accessibility to open data, resulting in more consumable and readily available information and help to engage residents around government priorities and services. Departmental leadership will adopt a model wherein data are publicly maintained. There will also be a strategic focus on performance management. The City will strengthen its approach to performance analytics by validating existing key performance indicators, incorporating performance metrics into core priorities and establishing performance management programs to set, track and share progress. These goals align with our 2015-2018 strategic commitments.

With the addition of Modesto, the growing national initiative, launched in April 2015, is now partnering with 65 mid-sized U.S. cities. All together, these cities come from 35 states, represent more than 21 million residents and have annual budgets exceeding $68 billion. The initiative will partner with 100 cities on a rolling basis through 2018.

“The City of Modesto is committed to its citizens and upholding the trust they put in us,” said Mayor Brandvold. “Having been selected by, and partnering with, What Works Cities will help us to obtain, and utilize, critical data for use in decisions we make for our City. The ability to publish this data and make it accessible to our citizens is an invaluable tool for being honest with our citizens, and building the trust in their government.”

“City leaders around the nation are using data to make better decisions, engage their residents and hold themselves accountable,” said James Anderson, the head of Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Government Innovation program. “We have an outstanding and diverse group of cities participating in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities Initiative, and we look forward to welcoming more to the program in the year ahead.”

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 poverty and inequality to public safety. 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.

Through this agreement, City leadership will be actively working with and receiving technical assistance from experts at the following What Works Cities partner organizations:


The Center for Government Excellence (GovEx) at Johns Hopkins University helps governments build capacity for decision-making that is rooted in evidence, transparent accountability and resident engagement.

Results for America strives to improve outcomes for residents and communities by shifting public resources toward programs, practices and policies that use evidence and data to improve quality and get better results

The Sunlight Foundation is a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that uses the tools of civic tech, policy analysis, and original reporting to advocate for more transparency and accountability in government at all levels.

In addition to GovEx, Results for America, and the Sunlight Foundation, the consortium of leading organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies and delivering a program of support to cities includes the Behavioral Insights Team and the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in more than 120 countries around the world and focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation and Public Health. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed over half a billion dollars. For more information, please visit

For a complete list of cities participating in this initiative, visit

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