City officials partake in Bloomberg brainstorming workshop


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

City manager Wally Bobkiewicz. Bobkiewicz, Mayor Steve Hagerty and city staff participated in a brainstorming workshop sponsored by Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop ideas for improving the city.

Amelia Langas, Assistant City Editor

City staff attended a day-long workshop Tuesday in Evanston facilitated by Bloomberg Philanthropies to develop ideas for improving the city.

Bloomberg Philanthropies — an organization that provides funding for philanthropic projects — is sponsoring its fourth “Mayors Challenge” competition and providing cities with “idea accelerator” workshops, according to its website. Ideas generated at the workshop could win up to $100,000 in funds.

Evanston applied to the challenge a few months ago and was approved to take part in a workshop, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz said. There, Mayor Steve Hagerty and city staff brainstormed ideas for a project they could submit to win a grant, Bobkiewicz said.

They discussed ways to provide Evanston residents with details about housing, health care and other types of social service assistance programs, Bobkiewicz said.

“We talked about data that we already collect, how we can use that data better, how we can outreach to different communities within Evanston to make sure they have this information,” he said.

According to the Mayors Challenge website, 555 cities across the country were selected to participate in the workshop stage, including 24 from Illinois. The initiative aims to encourage mayors and their staffs to cultivate ideas to tackle problems in an “innovative” way.

Over the next month, city staff will work to “coalesce” the ideas generated into a more specific proposal to be submitted at the end of October, Bobkiewicz said.

“(The ideas) really dealt with how we can make sure that individuals in the Evanston community that are in need of services connect with the services that they need,” Bobkiewicz said.

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