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The Office of Civic Innovation in the News
October 28, 2019
SAN FRANCISCO “CIVIC BRIDGE” PROGRAM WINS ENGAGED CITIES AWARD
San Francisco is one of three cities worldwide to receive $75,000 prize for Office of Civic Innovation program that connects local experts with the City’s toughest problems.
San Francisco, CA—San Francisco Chief Innovation Officer Krista Canellakis accepted a Bloomberg Philanthropies Cities of Service Engaged Cities Award for San Francisco’s Civic Bridge program in Washington D.C. this afternoon. The Civic Bridge program has enabled local companies and professionals to provide $3.9 million in pro-bono services since 2015, working with City staff to address some of San Francisco’s toughest civic challenges.
Civic Bridge began as a pilot program in 2015 and has enabled hundreds of the highly skilled and innovative private sector professionals working in San Francisco to engage directly with challenges facing the City. Volunteers have donated more than 24,000 hours to 49 high-impact projects, including the City’s affordable housing portal DAHLIA which now handles 85% of all affordable housing applications in San Francisco.
“We are stronger when we work together. With the Civic Bridge program, we’ve been able to leverage the skills of private-sector professionals to tackle some of the toughest and most urgent issues facing our City,” said Mayor London N. Breed. “We need to work with our nonprofit and other private sector partners to solve our challenges—from housing affordability and homelessness, to street cleanliness and responding to medical emergencies—and we hope that Civic Bridge can serve as a model for other cities that are interested in doing the same.”
“Civic Bridge brings the best and the brightest together from the public and private sectors in San Francisco to work on the most important challenges affecting our residents,” said Krista Canellakis, the Chief Innovation Officer for the City and County of San Francisco. “We are so excited to share the program’s success as we believe it’s a model that has the opportunity to be replicated in cities across the country.”
Cities of Service is a program of Bloomberg Philanthropies that is dedicated to finding innovative ways to engage residents in solving community needs. The Engaged Cities Award recognizes American and European cities that have demonstrated leadership in citizen engagement, working with their residents to develop and implement bold, new strategies that address long-standing challenges. More than 100
applications were submitted this year and San Francisco is one of three winning cities to receive a $75,000 prize.
“With Civic Bridge, San Francisco has figured out a way to partner with companies to engage residents that have specific skills and expertise to help the city solve complex problems,” said Myung J. Lee, Cities of Service Executive Director. “They are effectively building relationships with residents that might otherwise be disconnected from the city in which they work and live.”
Volunteers with the Civic Bridge program contribute 20% of their time over a 16-week period to City issues. 25 City departments have partnered with locally based companies on 49 projects, engaging nearly 450 City staff and citizen volunteers. Earlier this year OCI launched their new one-day Civic Bridge model called Day of Service, which matches ten public-private partnership teams to ten unique challenges facing the City and its residents for a day of intensive problem-solving.