American Cities Climate Challenge – May/June 2019

The American Cities Climate Challenge is an unprecedented opportunity for 25 ambitious cities to significantly deepen and accelerate their efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for their residents.

Originally open to 20 American cities, the program was expanded to 25 cities due to the strength of the applications received.

As Climate Challenge winners, 25 cities have been accepted into a two-year acceleration program with powerful new resources and access to cutting-edge support to help them meet – or beat – their near-term carbon reduction goals. These resources include a philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies, training for senior leadership to assist with implementation of their proposed climate plans, and citizen engagement support to maximize community buy-in.

The winning cities are:

Albuquerque Atlanta Austin
Boston Charlotte Chicago
Cincinnati Columbus Denver
Honolulu Indianapolis Los Angeles
Minneapolis Orlando Philadelphia
Pittsburgh Portland Saint Paul
San Antonio San Diego San Jose
Seattle St. Louis St. Petersburg
Washington, DC

These city leaders did so because:

  • Our cities are already experiencing the deleterious effects of climate change;
  • Our residents want more resilient, sustainable neighborhoods and local economies; and
  • Our mayors recognize that better health, jobs, and opportunities tomorrow depend on bold actions today.

For America’s cities to lead the way in reducing carbon pollution requires a different kind of commitment. Delivering on it will require local innovation, broad-based efforts to grow and deepen public support for a sustainable future, and a relentless focus from mayors and their partners to achieve results.

To support this vital work, Bloomberg Philanthropies and partners have announced a $70 million investment in the American Cities Climate Challenge. Selected cities – the 25 “Leadership Cities” – will be accepted into a two-year acceleration program, with powerful new resources and unprecedented access to world-leading support to help them meet – or beat – their near term carbon reduction goals.


Participating cities will: 

  • Make the Paris Agreement goals real. Mayors and their partners will scale and implement proven climate solutions and innovations that will help grow the economy, protect public health, and improve the quality of life for citizens.
  • Focus on high impact. Leadership Cities will focus their efforts on the two sectors that contribute most to emissions in American cities – buildings and transportation. In nearly every major American city, buildings and transportation consume more energy and are responsible for more carbon pollution than any other sector, totaling 80% of citywide emissions.
  • Create community. Leadership Cities will have access to world-leading experts who will help mobilize support for accelerated climate action, bringing together residents, businesses, and community organizations.
  • Lead a movement. The network of 25 Leadership Cities will leverage the unique power of collective learning and accountability and will provide insight and momentum for others. They will serve as role models for the rest of America.
  • Deliver results. Mayors and their teams will work with dedicated delivery experts to put their plans into practice, engage city departments, review evidence of progress regularly, and innovate and improve until the goals are met.


Through the American Cities Climate Challenge, Bloomberg Philanthropies will provide a robust technical assistance and support package, including:

  • A philanthropy-funded team member to facilitate the development and passage of high impact policies
  • Data, design, and innovation resources to help city officials design and deliver bold programming
  • Leadership development supports to get the best from key members of your city’s team
  • Implementation coaching to drive results
  • Citizen engagement supports to maximize community buy-in
  • Polling and communications support to amplify your megaphone
  • Robust peer-to-peer learning and networking to ensure the 25 Leadership Cities learn from and push one another
  • Rapid response grants to accelerate impact