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[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_sT8XNpJwo] Earlier this week, Bloomberg Philanthropies announced the winners of its Mayor Challenge--a competitive platform for mayors to challenge each other on bringing upon innovative ideas that improve upon the betterment of American cities. And guess which city won the grand prize of $5 million dollars? Our city of Providence did, based upon the following four criteria's: vision, ability to implement, potential for impact, and potential for replicability. Bloomberg awarded Providence the Mayors Challenge Grand Prize for Innovation  for its  “cutting-edge early education initiative” in helping low-income families close the word gap. Providence Talks is an  approach targeting early childhood education and closing the gap between low and high-income vocabulary gaps. This approach focuses on technology to measure vocabulary exposure for children and parents in hopes of equalizing opportunities for all social and economic classes. “The Mayors Challenge is dedicated to the idea that cities are the new laboratories of democracy. If an innovative program or policy can work in one city, it can spread across the country and even across the globe,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, philanthropist and Mayor of New York City. “Too often, great ideas don’t get the support—or the funding—they need. The Mayors Challenge helps eliminate those obstacles by elevating and funding the most promising and innovative ideas. In the months ahead, we look forward to seeing these ideas implemented, take root locally, and then hopefully spread across the nation to improve the lives of all Americans.” Click here to watch Bloomberg's official announcement on MSNBC's Morning Joe. Watch here

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Jim DeRentis
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