Expanding the Work of Civic Engagement and Innovation Together

By now you have probably already seen the exciting news: Last month, Bloomberg Philanthropies and Johns Hopkins University launched the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation at Johns Hopkins. Cities of Service is now a part of the new Center, which will mean additional resources and opportunities for coalition members and cities around the world. 

I am thrilled to serve as the inaugural executive director for the new Center. We have hit the ground running, launching new innovation training opportunities, connecting a new cohort of Digital i-teams program participants, and building a team that will support the important work of mayors, city leaders, and staff who are innovating and engaging residents to make their cities better. People like you.

The Center will unite flagship Bloomberg Philanthropies programs like Innovation Teams and Cities of Service to find and support the best solutions in the world that help and engage residents. A vital part of that work includes elevating and scaling up a crucial contributor to innovation and change in cities: Civic Engagement.

The deep and thoughtful engagement within communities to solve local problems and connect residents is more powerful than those outside of our work may realize. I am looking forward to working with our growing team and you to elevate the importance of Civic Engagement by supporting existing and growing new programs under this initiative. Before I joined the Bloomberg Center for Public Innovation, I was already impressed by the work of Cities of Service, especially the Love Your Block programs. 

I am happy to share that we will be continuing Love Your Block and other successful Cities of Service programs. We will continue to build the capacity of local government officials to partner with residents and design solutions together. Nikola Pavelić and Rose Rodriguez, who many of you know, are already working closely with our newest cohort of cities and the Center team on new programs to come.

We’ll also be expanding our Civic Engagement practice, including hiring new staff, to reach more people in more cities. We have the opportunity to draw on the resources and expertise offered by Center staff, Johns Hopkins, and GovEx to help us grow this work and offer additional support to people like you, who are on the ground solving problems with residents every day.

And importantly, we’ll continue to grow the strong community of practitioners that Cities of Service has fostered over the past ten years. I look forward to meeting many of you at future events and conferences and creating new connections to practitioners around the world.

I am excited to build on the strong foundation of Cities of Service. As you know, Civic Engagement is key to human centered design and effectively solving problems – both of which are central to the public innovation approach – and it’s how we build trust in local government. It’s how we make cities better, stronger places, together. 

Look for more updates to come by following @CitiesofService and @PublicInno on social media.

We appreciate all of your hard work to make cities better.


Amanda Daflos 
Executive Director