Providence is awarded $5 million prize to support an innovative initiative to boost early childhood literacy development.
Mayor Angel Taveras joined today with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to announce that the City of Providence is the grand prize winner in the Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Challenge, a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life - and that ultimately can be shared with other cities to improve the well-being of the nation. Providence was selected as a Mayors Challenge winner out of a pool of over 300 applicant cities, based on four criteria: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replication.
Providence will be awarded a $5 million innovation prize to implement its idea to improve the vocabularies of preschool-age children throughout the City by measuring and rapidly increasing the number of words spoken in their households. Providence will also receive a sculpture created by world-renowned designer Olafur Eliasson to commemorate each of the Mayors Challenge winners.
"I am thrilled that Providence has been selected as a Mayors Challenge winner," said Mayor Taveras of Providence. "From day one, my administration has been focused on improving educational opportunities and promoting the health and welfare of children throughout our City. Not only does winning this prize demonstrate that Providence is dedicated to innovative thinking that can improve the lives of Providence residents, but it is truly an indication that the great ideas we generate in Providence have the power to positively affect the lives of people living all across the country."
"Providence has identified a new model of early childhood education that is direct, simple and fundamentally revolutionary," said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. "Mayor Taveras's idea combines proven technology with a revolutionary approach, and Bloomberg Philanthropies is proud to help this grand prize-winning idea take root locally and spread across the nation."
Research shows that children growing up in low-income households hear approximately 30 million fewer words by the time they reach their fourth birthday. Providence's proposal - "Providence Talks" - will empower caretakers to measure and close this gap by providing participating families with new technology and targeted, home-coaching services.
The Mayors Challenge is a competition to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life. Mayors of U.S. cities with 30,000 residents or more were eligible to compete, with 305 cities representing 45 states submitting applications last September. In addition to Providence's $5 million grand prize, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, and Santa Monica were also awarded $1 million prizes. To learn more about the Mayors Challenge, visit bloomberg.org/mayorschallenge.
The Mayors Challenge is the latest initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors Project, which aims to spread proven and promising ideas among cities. Other Mayors Project investments include Cities of Service, Innovation Delivery Teams, and Financial Empowerment Centers.
About Bloomberg Philanthropies
Bloomberg Philanthropies is on a mission to improve and lengthen lives. We focus on five key areas to create lasting change: Public Health, Environment, Education, Government Innovation, which includes the Mayors Challenge, and Arts & Culture. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2012, $360 million was distributed. For more information, please visit www.bloomberg.org.
For more information on Bloomberg Philanthropies, media should contact Meghan Womack, firstname.lastname@example.org.