Denver, Fort Collins awarded $1 million prizes as part of U.S. Mayors Challenge

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DENVER — The cities of Denver and Fort Collins were named two of the nine winners of the Bloomberg Philanthropies U.S. Mayors Challenge on Monday.

Both cities will each receive $1 million in prize money to implement their ideas from the challenge that tasked cities to develop innovative solutions to their biggest problems that other cities might copy if they are successful.

Denver will use the grant to fund a network of air-quality sensors at Denver Public Schools to protect children with asthma from the negative effects of poor air quality.

The aim is to utilize a real-time data-monitoring system system with air pollution sensor technology to college and interpret data, then share the results with the public.

Programming to cut down on pollution sources and limit exposure to poor air quality will be developed in partnership with students, parents, school nurses, teachers and staff.

“We are honored to have been selected as a winner of Bloomberg Philanthropies U.S. Mayors Challenge, and we are especially excited that the groundbreaking technology developed by our team may ultimately benefit children around the world,” Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said in a statement.

“We look forward to using the air quality data captured by this technology to inform policy decisions on a community-wide basis here in the Mile High City.”

Fort Collins will use its grant to begin implementation on potentially breakthrough solutions to homelessness, the opioid crisis, mobility, climate change and economic opportunity.

Fort Collins was picked for its approach to providing health and equity benefits for low- and moderate-income renters by improving the energy efficiency of rental homes.

The city will also work with Colorado State University to follow the health and well-being benefits of improved indoor air quality.

“Our EPIC program is working hand-in-hand with local contractors and property owners to upgrade older, less energy-efficient rental units where many low- and moderate-income families live — not only to save residents money, but also to improve the health and well-being of our entire community,” Mayor Wade Troxell said in a statement.

Other winners were Durham, North Carolina; Georgetown, Texas; Huntington, West Virginia; Los Angeles; New Rochelle, New York; Philadelphia; South Bend, Indiana.

“Mayors across the country are tackling the big issues that Washington is ignoring,” said former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the found of Bloomberg Philanthropies.

“This competition is designed to help them do even more, by incentivizing and supporting big — and achievable — new ideas.”

The selection committee was co-chaired by former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and former Xerox Chairman and CEO Ursula Burns.

The committee evaluated the applications based on their idea’s vision, potential for impact, implementation plan and potential to spread to other cities.

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