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Cary Named as Finalist in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ 2018 Mayors Challenge

Post Date:02/21/2018 1:51 PM
  • Cary is among 35 Champion Cities That Will Embark on 6-month Testing Phase in Competition for Grand Prize.
  • As Part of the American Cities Initiative, Challenge Will Invest $17.5 Million in Grants and Technical Assistance to Discover Innovative Solutions to Urgent Local Issues.
  • Cary will generate geo-localized opioid consumption data by measuring concentration of opioid metabolites in sewage to enable proactive interventions.

Cary, NC February 21, 2018 – Cary is one of 35 Champion Cities selected today as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages city leaders to uncover bold, inventive ideas that confront the toughest problems cities face. These 35 urban innovations rose to the top of a competitive pool of more than 320 applications. The Champion Cities will now begin a 6-month testing phase where they will conduct public prototypes of their ideas with grant funding of up to $100,000 per city, a new addition to the Competition this year. The Mayors Challenge returns to the U.S. as the first investment in the American Cities Initiative, a $200 million suite of new and expanded programs that will empower cities to generate innovation and advance policy that moves the nation forward.

Cary now advances to the six-month “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase of the competition. Cities will refine their ideas during this process with up to $100,000, as well as personalized support from innovation experts, to test and begin building support for their urban innovations and submit a new application in August 2018. In October, four cities will receive $1 million awards and one will receive a grand prize of $5 million to bring their ideas to life.

"We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives. The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City.

The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria - vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. A prestigious selection committee Co-Chaired by Former Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and Former Xerox Chairman & CEO Ursula Burns and comprising distinguished policy experts, artists, academics, business executives and social innovation leaders assessed the applications.

Cary plans to generate opioid consumption data by measuring concentrations of opioid metabolites in sewage. The Town will work and contract with Biobot Analytics, a company that provides opioid testing and data analytics services. Counting overdoses relies on damage control instead of the near-real time response wastewater monitoring could provide. Cary will share aggregate data with public health officials and educators so that effective programs can be deployed and tailored to address those at risk.  Cary is one of 35 cities competing for the grand prize.

“Just as most places in our nation, this is a growing problem in Cary,” says Mayor Harold Weinbrecht. “Last year we saw a 40% increase in fatal overdoses and a 135% increase in non-fatal overdoses, resulting in a 70% overall increase in overdoses. Today, all of our patrol officers carry Narcan, which has prevented overdose death of our Cary friends and family members, but still, more can be done. This project will hopefully help us to do more.”

The 2018 Mayors Challenge builds on the success of previous Bloomberg-sponsored Challenges in the U.S. (2013), Europe (2014), and Latin America and the Caribbean (2016). For more information, visit and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.

For more information search “Opioid Wastewater Monitoring” at and follow the Town of Cary on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

About Bloomberg Philanthropies

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on FacebookInstagramSnapchat, and Twitter.

Primary Contacts

Mike Bajorek, Deputy Town Manager, (919) 469-4003
Deanna Hawkes, Deputy Public Information Officer, (919) 380-4240
Bloomberg Philanthropies, Courtney Greenwald, (212) 205-0361,


Mayors Challenge
Opioid Wastewater Monitoring
Deputy Town Manager Mike Bajorek RTP 180 Talk 


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