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Nashville Selected to Join National What Works Cities Initiative


Fifty-Five Cities Now Committed to Making Government More Effective Using Data and Evidence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Today, Mayor Megan Barry announced that Nashville has been selected as one of 16 new cities to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Work Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in the public sector. Nashville will receive technical assistance from world-class experts to build capacity to address local issues.

Nashville’s selection comes as the growing national movement, launched in April 2015, reaches a critical benchmark: 55 mid-sized U.S. cities are now working to better use data and evidence to improve services for residents, inform local decision-making and engage citizens. All together, these 55 cities come from 33 states, represent 19 million residents and have annual budgets exceeding $63 billion. The initiative will partner with 100 cities on rolling basis through 2018.

“We can’t simply feel like we are making a difference in the lives of Nashvillians, we need to be able to measure our success in order to make sound policy decisions for the future,” said Nashville Mayor Megan Barry. “Collecting and managing data is an important step to ensure Metro government is effective, efficient, and transparent. The What Works Cities initiative will help Nashville focus on using data in a way that leads to better outcomes for our residents.”

“We are thrilled to welcome these new cities to the initiative, furthering our mission to help cities leverage data and evidence to improve their residents’ lives,” said Simone Brody, Executive Director of What Works Cities. “We’re proud to add the commitment of these 16 new and innovative cities to this national movement.”

Nashville’s engagement with What Works Cities will specifically focus on improving open data practices to make municipal data more accessible and establishing performance management programs to set, track, and share progress toward citywide priorities.

Nashville and the following cities are the latest to publicly commit to enhancing their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents: Albuquerque, NM; Birmingham, AL; Boulder, CO; Des Moines, IA; Fort Worth, TX; Hartford, CT; Knoxville, TN; Lincoln, NE; Madison, WI; Olathe, KS; Portland, OR; Salt Lake City, UT; South Bend, IN; Syracuse, NY; and Virginia Beach, VA.

Robyn Mace, Chief Data OfficerHelping to lead our efforts around the What Works Cities initiative will be Metro’s Chief Data Officer, Robyn Mace, who joined the Metro ITS department earlier this year. As chief data officer, Mace is working to improve the way Metro government departments collect, store, analyze, and disseminate data in a way that can be easily utilized by both Metro and the public.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to work with What Works Cities to make data more effective and accessible for departments, agencies, and the public alike in Nashville,” said Mace. “I look forward to working with Mayor Barry, What Works Cities, and the rest of Metro in finding ways to highlight what we are doing well, and improve upon areas where we can do better.”

In 18 short months, What Works Cities has stimulated the largest movement of cities and city leaders across the country sharing lessons and best practices to improve the effectiveness of government. The initiative has inspired 90 U.S. mayors to better use data and evidence to improve services and has engaged over 1,700 city employees on performance management, analytics and other leading practices. What Works Cities has produced 130 resources that cities around the world are using to improve their communities and drive better outcomes for residents.

The consortium of leading organizations assembled by Bloomberg Philanthropies and delivering a program of support to cities includes the Behavioral Insights Team, the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, the Government Performance Lab at the Harvard Kennedy School, Results for America and the Sunlight Foundation.

The 16 new cities join the following 39 cities as What Works Cities: Anchorage, AK; Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; Bellevue, WA; Boston, MA; Cambridge, MA; Cape Coral, FL; Chattanooga, TN; Charlotte, NC; Denton, TX; Denver, CO; Fort Lauderdale, FL; Greensboro, NC; Gresham, OR; Independence, MO; Jackson, MS; Kansas City, KS; Kansas City, MO; Las Vegas, NV; Lexington, KY; Little Rock, AR; Louisville, KY; Mesa, AZ; Milwaukee, WI; Naperville, IL; New Orleans, LA; Providence, RI; Raleigh, NC; San Francisco, CA; San Jose, CA; Seattle, WA; Scottsdale, AZ; Saint Paul, MN; Tacoma, WA; Topeka, KS; Tulsa, OK, Victorville, CA; Waco, TX; and Wichita, KS.

To receive updates on the What Works Cities initiative, please visit


Sean Braisted, (615) 339-7497,
What Works Cities, Kristin Taylor, (646) 854-5572,