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7/13/2012 - "Waterbury Rises To The Challenge" Competition!

Mayor O’Leary To Compete In Mayor Bloomberg’s $9M Contest

“Waterbury Rises To The Challenge” Competition Announced

(WATERBURY, CT) - Mayor Neil M. O’Leary is competing in a nationwide competition for millions of dollars in funding for new programs aimed at solving urban challenges and enhancing city life.  The mayors of 1,300 U.S. municipalities with at least 30,000 residents have been invited to join the Mayors Challenge, a competition launched last month by Bloomberg Philanthropies, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s foundation, which is offering a grand prize of $5 million and four smaller prizes of $1 million to cities with the boldest and most replicable ideas.  The competition is designed to inspire American cities to generate innovative ideas that solve major challenges and improve city life.

To help identify the best local idea for his submission, Mayor O’Leary is sponsoring the “Waterbury Rises to the Challenge” competition.  The winning idea in Waterbury’s Challenge will be submitted to the national Mayors Challenge competition.

“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg and Bloomberg Philanthropies,” said Mayor O’Leary.  “This is grass roots government and problem solving at its best.  I encourage everyone to put on their thinking caps and do what Americans do best -- innovate.  What solutions can you come up with that help solve problems common to Waterbury and cities across our great nation?  What would really impact the lives of people? Let me know your idea!”

To encourage submissions, Mayor O’Leary is offering cash prizes from his Inaugural Picnic Fund to the top three participants with the best ideas.  The first prize -- the idea that will be submitted to Bloomberg Philanthropies -- will be awarded $500; second prize is $250; and third prize is $100.

The idea must improve city life by addressing a major social or economic  issue, improve the customer service experience for citizens or businesses, enhance engagement with the public; and/ or create efficiencies that make government work better, faster and cheaper.  Winning ideas are likely to address a few of these areas.  The idea should rely on resources and expertise that are commonly available in cities, so that other cities can share the idea. 

“As a new Mayor, I realize every day that we need everyone to get involved in this city, on every level,” said Mayor O’Leary.  “Cities face many problems and financial struggles, but if we all pull together, we will not only survive, but we will flourish.  Let’s find the answers – I know we can do it, because we’ve done it before in this country.  I want to hear from you.”

All ideas are welcome.  Entry forms can be found on the city website,, and must be submitted by August 7, 2012 at 5:00 p.m.