Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative welcomes fourth class

Montgomery Alabama.

The fourth class is made up of mayors who represent a broad geographic and demographic spectrum of U.S. cities. Pictured downtown Montgomery, Alabama. Photo by Christopher Boswell

3 min read

The Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative recently announced its fourth class of mayors. Forty mayors from across the U.S. were selected to participate in the program, designed to equip city leaders with the leadership and management tools to tackle complex challenges in their cities and improve the quality of life of their citizens.

With mayors playing a central role in driving social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, this year’s program will focus on the skills required to respond to emerging challenges with an emphasis on equity.

The mayors will attend immersive, online classes taught by faculty from Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard Business School and featuring other renowned management experts from across the Bloomberg Philanthropies network. Virtual sessions will cover a range of topics on advancing recovery, from budget decision-making in a time of severe economic challenge and managing a remote workforce to advancing equity and leading civic and resident engagement.

Participants will also receive additional supports for their cities and senior teams, such as training on using data to confront the economic consequences of the pandemic head-on, workshops on public communication, and peer-to-peer learning opportunities.

The fourth class is made up of mayors who represent a broad geographic and demographic spectrum of U.S. cities and is reflective of global trends toward more diverse city leadership.

  • Almost half (17) of this year’s class are women
  • One third (14) are African American or Hispanic
  • One fifth (8) of mayors are from New England and Mid Atlantic; 11 mayors are from the South and Southwest; 9 mayors are from the Midwest; and 12 are from the West.
  • 40 percent (16) of mayors in this year’s class are in their first year of office
  • Eight percent (3) of mayors are from cities with populations over 250,000 people
  • Over half (21) mayors are from cities with populations under 100,000

Launched in 2017, the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative is a collaboration between Bloomberg Philanthropies, Harvard Kennedy School, and Harvard Business School to equip mayors and senior city leaders with tools and expertise to effectively lead complex cities. Harvard faculty, staff, and students, alongside experts from Bloomberg Philanthropies’ global network, work with mayors and senior officials over the course of the program to foster professional growth and advance their capabilities to drive innovation and deliver results for residents.

“The challenges created and revealed by the pandemic underscore the importance — and the urgency — of our work with mayors through the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative,” said Harvard President Larry Bacow. “At a moment when public health is converging with critical issues of racial,  social, and economic inequality, it is all the more important that we provide opportunities for mayors and academics to come together to exchange ideas and best practices essential to improving the quality of life for residents of our nation’s great cities.”