25 Best Examples of Innovative Government Programs

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University will award $100,000 to a grand price winner for the Innovations in American Government Awards.
May 15, 2017, 5am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Tony Faiola

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, recently announced the Top 25 programs in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition, including the seven finalists who will compete for the $100,000 grand prize on May 17 in Cambridge.

"The Innovations in American Government Awards was created by the Ford Foundation in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness," according to press releases announcing the awards finalists. "Since its inception, over 500 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $22 million in grants to support dissemination efforts." 

Of the Top 25 listed in the release, seven finalists are also announced. Among the seven finalists is the Public Spaces Community Places program, launched by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) and Patronicity. An article by The Peninsula details that program's recognition by the awards competition, and explains how it works:

Through PSCP, local residents raise funds for project ideas through the Patronicity crowdfunding program, and if they hit a certain goal, the MEDC steps in to support them. Its goal is the creation of new or restoration of old public spaces for community use. It has also already raised more funds than any other state when it comes to grassroots efforts: $4.3 million from communities and an additional $3.6 million from the MEDC in a mere 3 years.

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Published on Sunday, May 14, 2017 in Harvard Kennedy School
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