Last week, Bloomberg Philanthropies named Santa Monica among 20 grant contest finalists for its proposal to develop the nation's first municipal well-being index, the Los Angeles Times reports (Stevens, Los Angeles Times, 11/14).
The grant contest -- known as the Mayors Challenge -- prompts U.S. cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life.
A selection committee chose 20 finalists from among more than 300 entries based on four criteria:
- Ability to implement;
- Potential for effectiveness;
- Potential for replicability; and
This month, the implementation teams from each of the 20 finalist cities will attend Bloomberg Ideas Camp, where they will work with experts to refine their proposals. The teams then will resubmit their plans to Bloomberg early next year (Kanani, Forbes, 11/5).
Next spring, Bloomberg officials will select one winner of a $5 million first prize and four runners-up, who each will be given a $1 million prize.
Details of Santa Monica's Proposal
Santa Monica officials and Rand researchers have proposed tracking various wellness measures, including:
- Residents' physical health;
- Social connectedness; and
- Community resilience.
Officials say that the initiative could help change the way city governments serve residents.
Proponents of the plan say that well-being measures can highlight hidden factors important to civilian life.
For example, Julie Rusk -- a city official leading the project -- said that residents with better mental health tend to pay less for health care, while individuals who feel connected to their community are more likely to rebound from a natural disaster (Los Angeles Times, 11/14).