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Accelerators / Municipal government / Philanthropy

Philadelphia chosen for $3M Citibank-backed ‘innovation accelerator’

City government wants to get more low-income Philadelphians participating in its tax relief programs. Funding from a new accelerator program will help with that.

Philadelphia. (Photo by Flickr user Rhys A., used under a Creative Commons license)

Tens of thousands of low-income Philadelphia households are not getting the tax and utility bill discounts they are entitled to, according to a city press release. It’s a problem the City of Philadelphia wants to fix, and they’re getting support from a national accelerator to accomplish that goal.

Backed by the Citi Foundation, Citibank’s charitable arm, and philanthropic group Living Cities, the $3 million City Accelerator program aims to help three cities tackle a specific problem. For the inaugural class, Philadelphia (along with Nashville, Tenn., and Louisville, Ky.) was selected from ten city applicants after a judging and public input process.

See Philly's pitch

“Through its City Accelerator project, the City of Philadelphia will test new methods to increase enrollment in City payment assistance programs, including making the application process more user friendly,” according to the city release.

It’s not clear how much funding the city will get, but we have an email out now and will update this post as necessary.

Participation in this accelerator is another effort by the city to position itself as a place that tackles problems through innovation and a “fail fast” approach. There’s FastFWD, the Bloomberg Foundation-backed accelerator to support public safety startups and modernize city procurement; there’s the city’s Office of New Urban Mechanics; and, more recently, there’s the new Innovation Lab coworking space. With Mayor Nutter’s time in City Hall fast coming to an end, it’ll be interesting to see if these kinds of efforts live on.

Companies: City of Philadelphia

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