Detroit Earns What Works Cities Gold Certification from Bloomberg Philanthropies

Detroit Earns What Works Cities Gold Certification from Bloomberg Philanthropies

  • Detroit receives top certification for first time
  • Detroit becomes one of 16 newly certified U.S. cities based on its use of data

Bloomberg Philanthropies today announced that the City of Detroit is one of the best cities in America in using data and evidence to improve residents’ lives. Detroit was one of four U.S. cities that achieved Bloomberg’s top Gold What Works Cities certification.

“The culture of people first, collaboration and service that we have created in City government has made this certification possible,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “When we saw gaps in access for our most vulnerable residents, we stepped up to launch the Community Health Corps to leverage city, state, nonprofit and other services to address urgent needs identified by social workers. Then, we built on this with the mental health initiative with DPD, HRD and the Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network. The What Works Cities Certification is due to City employees and they should be congratulated.”

The certification was based on the City’s use of data to drive decision-making, including but not limited to the creation of two important programs -- Ceasefire Detroit and the Community Health Corps.

Community Health Corps was created based on a community needs assessment and focuses on tackling poverty through an intense, restorative case management model. CHC staff connect vulnerable residents to the appropriate services provided by government and nonprofits — everything from food to rental assistance to behavioral health services. Initially launched by the City of Detroit, CHC is now an affiliated nonprofit.

Ceasefire Detroit addresses gang violence through a focused deterrence approach. The program brings together policymakers, local, state, and federal law enforcement partners, faith-based leaders, and nonprofit groups to help at-risk residents put down guns and avoid gang-related activities in favor of stable employment and housing.

"Detroit is proud to be recognized for achieving What Works Cities certification at the Gold level and to be one of only 16 cities in the nation to be newly certified this year. This distinction is a testament to the City’s commitment to letting data and evidence drive decision-making and providing greater transparency,” said Meagan Elliott, City of Detroit Deputy CFO, Office of Development and Grants. “We know that our community is strongest when we engage and empower residents as part of a strategy to create a smarter, more responsive local government that serves all Detroiters and we look forward to building on these accomplishments."

Meagan Elliott, City of Detroit Deputy CFO,
Meagan Elliott, City of Detroit Deputy CFO, Office of Development and Grants


“City of Detroit employees come to work each day with the goal of improving the lives of Detroit residents,” said Cindy Noe, the City of Detroit Director of Continuous Improvement. “Our Mayor and Council set the expectation that these improvements are informed by data. The What Works Cities certification demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving our programs and processes for the benefit of the City.”

The other Gold-certified cities include Austin, Texas; Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Gilbert, Arizona. Another 12 cities received silver certification. The 16 newly certified cities this year are among 254 local governments that have participated in What Works Cities since Bloomberg Philanthropies launched the initiative in 2015. Since 2018, 40 cities have achieved What Works Cities certification.

Each city that participates in certification receives a customized city assessment that highlights their unique strengths and opportunities for improvement. What Works Cities partners then provide coaching, training, and technical assistance to help city leaders improve their data and evidence capabilities, embrace new practices aligned to the certification standard, and drive outcomes for their community.

What Works Cities Certification assesses cities based on their data-driven decision-making practices, such as whether they are using data to set goals and track progress, allocate funding, evaluate the effectiveness of programs, and achieve desired outcomes from contracts with outside vendors. The program also measures whether cities are publicly and transparently communicating about their use of data and evidence. The certification standard was developed by a team of experts from Results for America in close consultation with the What Works Cities Certification Standard Committee.

For more information on the We Works Cities certification and to read the national release from Bloomberg Philanthropies, go to 

What Works Cities Gold Certification: Meagan Elliott
Deputy Mayor Conrad Mallett discusses the Community Health Corps Ordinance