Realizing the Promise of Cities

Fact sheet

The Mayors Innovation Project is a learning network for American mayors committed to “high road” policy and governance: shared prosperity, environmental sustainability, and efficient democratic government. We provide clear, useful information on policies and programs for local governments and create high-quality peer learning experiences for local leaders. Around the country, cities like yours are taking the lead on pressing issues—climate change, infrastructure, economic revitalization, housing, and more. The Mayors Innovation Project supports and encourages this by providing cutting-edge thinking and concrete examples that your city can implement right away. Through our meetings, our policy briefs and publications, and our technical assistance, we focus on bringing you the most useful and relevant information to help you address the needs of your city. The Mayors Innovation Project connects you with leaders from around the country, to benefit from their knowledge and experience, and share your own.

You can support our work by joining our network or making a donation.


The Mayors Innovation Project connects mayors and senior city staff to research and expertise relevant to the policy issues they are working on. Our website has information on new policy innovations, best practices, case studies, model legislation, background research, communication tools, and access to technical assistance. Our newsletter, Good Ideas for Cities, and our Facebook and Twitter accounts keep our members updated on ideas and innovations from around the country.

The Mayors Innovation Project meetings provide a forum for mayors and city staff to share best practices. Many of the best policy ideas discussed at MIP meetings— in housing, energy, transportation, economic development—come from our member cities, and are presented by the mayor who led their implementation. Each meeting provides plenty of time for all attendees to share their experiences.



The Mayors Innovation Project helps you connect with mayors and senior staff from around the country, share your successes and lessons learned, and get exposure to cutting edge ideas. You’ll also meet the best and brightest from the private, non-profit and academic sectors. Our meetings provide an off-the-record collegial environment, in which to discuss new ideas.



At each Mayors Innovation Project meeting, we aim to send you back to your city with three to four new policy ideas you can implement immediately. The Mayors Innovation Project connects mayors and staff to technical assistance as you implement policies that benefit your constituents and our country.



The Mayors Innovation Project was founded in 2005 by Madison, Wisconsin mayor Dave Cieslewicz and Joel Rogers, a UW-Madison professor and director of COWS (Center on Wisconsin Strategy). Participating cities include megalopolises like Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York; large cities like Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Milwaukee, and Seattle; and smaller cities like Cincinnati, Des Moines, Portland, and Scranton. More than 100 cities, representing some 33 million Americans, have attended our events. We do not aim to compete with other national organizations of local elected officials. These organizations do important and good work, which we hope to complement by providing an opportunity for a smaller and more intimate discussion of innovative policies we can implement today.

Our Meetings
The Mayors Innovation Project’s meetings are informal and relaxed but packed with substance. We pick a few policy areas important to cities, invite one or two national experts on the topic, and sit down over a couple days to discuss and develop city strategies in these areas. Mayors have a chance to share their experiences, get advice from other mayors and experts, and then continue to receive support upon returning home. We focus on the “conversation in the hallway” that is often rushed at busy national meetings but can prove to be incredibly useful in advancing your goals. Join us at our next meeting! Find out more at www.mayorsinnovation.org/events, or contact us at 608.262.5387 or info@mayorsinnovation.org.

We are governed by a steering committee of a rotating group of mayors and senior level staff. The current Steering Committee members are:


Steering Committee

Mayor Stephen Benjamin, Columbia, South Carolina

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz, Anchorage, Alaska

Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Somerville, Massachusetts

Former Mayor Mike Kasperzak, Former Mayor, Mountain View, California

Mayor Keith James, West Palm Beach, Florida

Ms. Alisa O'Hanlon, Federal and Tribal Relations, Government Relations Office, Tacoma, Washington

Former Mayor David Pope, Oak Park, Illinois

Mayor Kate Stewart, Takoma Park, Maryland

Mayor Zach Vruwink, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin

Mayor Lovely Warren, Rochester, New York

Mayor Miro Weinberger, Burlington, Vermont

Mayor Chasity Wells-Armstrong, Kankakee, Illinois

Dr. Joel Rogers, Director, COWS


Former Steering Committee members include Tom Bates (former Mayor of Berkeley, CA); Ralph Becker (former Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT); Dave Cieslewicz (former Mayor, Madison, WI); Heidi Davison (former Mayor, Athens, GA); Pegeen Hanrahan (former Mayor of Gainesville, FL); George Heartwell (former Mayor of Grand Rapids, MI); Mike McGinn (former Mayor of Seattle, WA); Chris Doherty (former Mayor of Scranton, PA); Kitty Piercy (former Mayor of Eugene, OR); Bob Kiss (former Mayor of Burlington, VT); Kip Holden (former Mayor-President of Baton Rouge, LA); Martin Chavez (former Mayor of Albuquerque, NM); Heather Fargo (former Mayor of Sacramento, CA); Rocky Anderson (former Mayor of Salt Lake City, UT); Rosemarie Ives (former Mayor of Redmond, WA); Pete Clavelle (former Mayor of Burlington, VT); and Randy Primas (former COO of Camden, NJ).


MIP receives financial support from our member cities, foundations and generous individual donors. The views expressed and the materials presented here, however, do not necessarily represent our funders' views.