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Seattle receives national recognition for data-driven decision making, joins international City Data Alliance

This week, Mayor Bruce Harrell celebrated national recognition for Seattle’s exceptional use of data in its government and policy after the City received a prestigious award from What Works Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies. Seattle achieved Gold Certification after demonstrating a dedication to making data-informed decisions that generate better outcomes for residents. 

“Thoughtful use of data is central to our work,” said Mayor Bruce Harrell. “Exemplified in everything from our homelessness response to tracking the outcomes of American Rescue Plan Spending and our upcoming Downtown Activation Plan, we strive to create a culture of effective data-based decision-making. We are exceptionally grateful to Bloomberg Philanthropies and What Works Cities for recognizing and uplifting our effective use of data and commitment to being a learning organization. This honor is thanks to the hard work of our City employees and their ongoing effort to be one of the most well-managed, data-driven local governments in the nation.” 

The What Works Cities Certification program, launched in 2017 by Bloomberg Philanthropies  and led by Results for America, is the first-of-its-kind standard of excellence for data and evidence-based local government. What Works Cities recognizes and celebrates local governments for their exceptional use of data to inform policy decisions, allocate funding, improve services, evaluate the effectiveness of programs, and engage residents. The Gold Certification status signifies cities who are “great at understanding data, tracking progress, and using data and evidence to make decisions.” 

Mayor Harrell’s collaborative One Seattle approach to data has also resulted in the City’s inclusion in the City Data Alliance, a Bloomberg Philanthropies program, which helps local governments improve and expand their data use. The Data Alliance offers expertise and partnership to support Seattle’s efforts to develop a robust data strategy aligned with Mayor Harrell’s vision, with deliverables such as formalizing a demographic data standard, developing an evaluation policy, and forming a plan for workforce development.  

Seattle already follows many data best practices, and the City Data Alliance will institutionalize and expand this good work by building shared best practices and guidelines across departments to better serve residents. As part of the Alliance, Seattle will participate in a six-month curriculum of training, coaching, and opportunities to apply learnings to City work.  

Innovation and Performance (IP) Team Director Leah Tivoli will serve as City Data Alliance Lead, liaising with other cohort members and leading Seattle’s team. IP’s Evaluation, Fiscal & Policy Manager William Chen will lead the Evaluation Track of the program. Staff from across the City will collaborate as members of the Data Alliance core team to advance this work across departments.  

To learn more about the What Works Cities certification, visit To learn more about the City Data Alliance, visit