Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mayor Jones Announces City of Richmond Earns IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge Grant


Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced that IBM has selected the city of Richmond to receive an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant https://smartercitieschallenge.org/. The Mayor will receive the grant during a special recognition dinner this evening in Palisades, NY, following a day long summit of leaders from cities involved in the Smarter Cities Challenge program.

The grant provides the City with access in 2013 to some of IBM's top experts to analyze and recommend ways Richmond can become an even better place in which to live and work. Launched in 2011, the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge is a three-year, 100-city, $50 million competitive grant program.

“It is an honor to receive the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant as this resource of human capital will prove invaluable in moving Richmond forward as we continue our work of enhancing our economic and workforce development efforts,” said Mayor Jones. “Richmond is a city of great opportunity as we have a wealth of amenities that are not easily found in other cities. It is my hope that the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant will help us create an economic development tool that will improve the health of our city through the strengthening of our neighborhoods; an instrument that focuses on the community level to support the attraction and retention of neighborhood businesses.”

The program, which is IBM's single-largest philanthropic initiative, assigns a team of six top IBM experts to each winning city to study a key issue identified by the city's leadership. Well before the team arrives for its three-week pro bono consulting engagement valued at $400,000, the IBMers are already hard at work studying the city's issue. After they arrive, the team works with city officials to analyze data, and solicit the input of dozens of local agencies and advocacy groups. IBM then provides detailed recommendations for how the city might efficiently and effectively address the issue.

For year-three of the IBM Smarter Cities Challenge, cities around the world once again competed vigorously to benefit from IBM's talent. The winning cities proposed innovative projects and areas of focus for IBM experts. These included strategies that address: 

·         Economic and Workforce Development -- reducing local dependence on a single industry
·         Social Services - creating an ecosystem that supports independent living for a growing senior citizen community
·         Sustainability - setting policies around billing rates, electric vehicle use, and solar power generation on an upgraded power grid
·         Capital Budget Planning - enabling citizens to request expenditures, while analyzing their potential impact
·         Urban Planning - taking a more systematic, data-driven approach to housing policy, downtown revitalization, zoning, and permits

"Congratulations to Richmond, Virginia for earning an IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grant in 2013. Richmond distinguished itself among its peers by convincingly demonstrating its preparation and willingness to make the kind of improvements that will improve its residents' quality of life and become a smarter city," said Stanley S. Litow, IBM vice president of Corporate Citizenship & Corporate Affairs, and president of IBM's Foundation. "We consider it a privilege to share with the city of Richmond the talent and expertise of our most gifted employees, who are the envy of the industry. They have premier skills in a range of disciplines -- all useful for helping to build smarter cities and a smarter planet."

In 2012, IBM provided expert counsel to 33 cities worldwide who had earned IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants. These included engagements in:

·         Cheongju, Korea, where IBM recommended smarter transportation strategies 
·         Dortmund, Germany, and Malaga Spain, where IBM formulated plans for economic, workforce, skills development 
·         Jacksonville, USA, where IBM outlined steps for downtown revitalization 
·         Louisville, USA, where IBM showed how the city could use data to identify, predict and mitigate conditions that trigger asthma 
·         Nairobi, Kenya, where IBM created a plan for traffic management  
·         Geraldton, Australia, where IBM suggested ways for the city to become a leader in smart grid technology adoption and digital services 
·         Curitaba, Brazil, where IBM suggested approaches to sustainability and citizen engagement

In year-one and two of the Smarter Cities Challenge, IBM completed work in 64 cities globally, deploying nearly 400 of its most talented experts who delivered concrete and measurable results to winning cities. 

Smarter Cities Challenge is a variant of IBM's Corporate Service Corps, a pro bono consulting program that assists government with projects that intersect business, technology, and society.  Since its launch in 2008, Corporate Service Corps has sent more than 2,000 of IBM's top talent based in 50 countries on more than 200 team assignments in 30 countries.  While Corporate Service Corps focuses on the developing world, IBM's Smarter Cities Challenge addresses urban concerns in both industrialized and developing countries.  

The Smarter Cities Challenge is sponsored by IBM's Corporate Citizenship program and IBM’s International Foundation. IBM has been a leader in corporate social responsibility and citizenship for more than 100 years.  

To learn more about IBM's corporate citizenship initiatives, visit: http://www.citizenibm.com/and http://www.youtube.com/user/citizenIBM. To find out more about IBM Smarter Cities Challenge grants, please visit IBM’s Smarter Cities Challenge at www.smartercitieschallenge.org.