Publications

    BenePhilly, City of Philadelphia: Innovations in American Government Award Case Study

    Betsy Gardner, January 2022 

    The American social safety net exists to meet needs for: unemployment assistance, supplemental money for food, help with health care costs and medical expenses, and more. However, the process of signing up for these services is often time-consuming, confusing, repetitive, and frustrating.

    To address these challenges, the Philadelphia-based nonprofit Benefits Data Trust (BDT) developed BenePhilly, in partnership with the City of Philadelphia and the Pennsylvania Departments of Aging and Human Services, to inform people of their eligibility for benefits and assist them in quickly and efficiently enrolling. This paper is a case study of the BenePhilly program and will serve as a guide to replicate its success. By using proven, data-driven methods, the program connects high-need, eligible individuals with up to 19 different benefits, all while reducing overall poverty, providing a better application experience, and increasing trust in local government.

    BenePhilly is a network of government agencies, nonprofits, and community-based organizations connecting Philadelphians to benefits through targeted, data-driven outreach, referrals from a network of organizations, and in-person and telephone application assistance. The trained staff at both BDT and the nonprofit organizations embedded in the communities they serve help individuals easily find and enroll in benefits. According to BDT’s Chief Strategy Officer Pauline Abernathy, BenePhilly has helped more than 125,000 Philadelphia residents secure over $1.6 billion in benefits as of January 2021.

    The 2020 Election Season and Aftermath: Preparation in Higher Education Communities
    Leonard, Herman B. "Dutch", Arnold M. Howitt, and Judith B. McLaughlin. 2020. “The 2020 Election Season and Aftermath: Preparation in Higher Education Communities”. Read the full report Abstract

    Herman B. "Dutch" Leonard, Arnold M. Howitt, and Judith B. McLaughlin; October 2020 

    There is widespread uncertainty and heightened anxiety on higher education campuses and elsewhere about what might happen during the 2020 election season in the United States. At every turn, we see elevated emotions and anxieties generated by the election process and related events, together with the potential for disruption of various kinds in the election process itself – before, during, and/or after the end of voting on November 3. This is compounded by the possibility of uncertainty, perhaps over many days or even weeks, about who has won various contests and about who will take office.

    A wide range of scenarios related to the election process and possible election outcomes have been described in mainstream media, in social media, and in other forums. Given the considerable (and, generally speaking, desirable) involvement and energy invested in these events within higher education communities among faculty, staff, students, and alumni, a number of these scenarios might well result in situations on campuses, in higher education communities, or in the surrounding communities where they reside that would call for institutional response. Many campus leaders and management groups are now thinking through what might be necessary or desirable and figuring out what they might usefully do in advance to prepare to provide the best response possible. Obviously, the difficulties of planning for the many possible circumstances that might confront us are compounded by the fact that all of this is taking place during an ongoing (and, indeed, now intensifying) pandemic accompanied by calls for racial justice and police reform. In this brief note, we suggest some ideas that might be helpful for higher education communities organizing themselves in the face of these uncertainties.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, July 2020 

    Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States and guidance on how to safely reopen schools. Juliette Kayyem, the Senior Belfer Lecturer in International Security at the Kennedy School, addressed mayors on strategies for effective communication in the midst of a complex and evolving crisis, contradictory or unreliable information, and a constantly shifting operational environment. The session was moderated by Harvard Business School Professor Rawi Abdelal, the faculty co-chair of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

    Rivkin, Jan, Susie Ma, and Michael Norris. 2020. “Design Decisions for Cross-Sector Collaboration: Mini-Case Modules”. Abstract

    Jan Rivkin, Susie Ma, and Michael Norris; June 2020

    These five short cases aim to help city leaders explore whether working with sectors outside their own government organizations is the right path forward, and how to be effective if/when they choose to engage in cross-sector collaboration. The cases especially highlight key design decisions that every cross-sector collaboration must make, to help students reflect on design decisions of their own collaborative efforts.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, June 2020 

    In the first session of the Leading Social and Economic Recovery series convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, discussed racism and protests in the context of COVID-19, offering mayors recommendations on measures to consider when protesting to reduce exposure of COVID-19. Professor Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, addressed the mayors on how the global pandemic, economic recession, and renewed focus on racial justice provide city leaders with an opportunity to reinvent public governance. The session was moderated by Harvard Kennedy School Professor Jorrit de Jong, and Harvard Business School Professor Rawi Abdelal, the faculty co-chairs of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, May 2020 

    In the eleventh session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Juliette Kayyem, the Belfer Senior Lecturer in International Security at the Harvard Kennedy School, and Dutch Leonard, the George F. Baker Jr. Professor of Public Management at the Kennedy School and Eliot I. Snider and Family Professor of Business Administration and Cochair of the Social Enterprise Initiative at Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at the Kennedy School, review the crisis leadership tools to help mayors and city leaders navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, May 2020 

    In the tenth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Rebecca Henderson, the John and Natty McArthur University Professor at Harvard University, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, discussed scenario planning in a pandemic and offered tools for imagining and working through the implications of various plausible futures. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci, NIAID Director, offered guidance and answered mayors’ questions on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, May 2020 

    In the ninth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Amy Edmondson, the Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management at the Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, discussed leading diverse and dispersed teams in times of crisis. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dr. Caitlin Rivers, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide critical public health updates and general guidance for what organizations, businesses, and other settings need to do when they reopen, with information on how mayors can both help as well as support these efforts.

    Vice President Joe Biden highlighted the ongoing role mayors have in leading the response to the crisis.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, May 2020 

    In the eighth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Linda Bilmes, the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and a leading expert on budgetary and public financial issues, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, discuss budgeting during a COVID-19. Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide critical public health updates and examine metrics mayors need to have in order to reopen their communities. Chef Jose Andres offered words of inspiration in his welcoming remarks to the mayors.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, April 2020 

    In the seventh session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Mitchell Weiss, Professor of Management Practice in the Entrepreneurial Management unit and the Richard L. Menschel Faculty Fellow at the Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, lead a discussion on public entrepreneurship and how mayors can generate, try out and scale up new ideas while managing risk. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Dr. Lisa Cooper, Bloomberg Distinguished Professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provide critical public health updates, examine racial disparities we are seeing during COVID-19, and offer actions mayors can take to address these disparities in their cities. Governor Hogan offered advice on convening a coronavirus response team to address the crisis in his welcoming remarks to the mayors.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, April 2020 

    In the sixth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Nancy Koehn, James E. Robison chair of Business Administration at Harvard Business School, and Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School, explored principles of leadership to effectively guide teams and communities during an unprecedented, multi-stage crisis. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and Dr. Jennifer Nuzzo, Senior Scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security and an Associate Professor in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering and the Department of Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, provided critical public health updates and guidance on preventing the spread of the virus in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi advised the mayors to rely on science in her welcoming remarks.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, April 2020 

    In the fifth session of the COVID-19 Local Response Initiative convened by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative in collaboration with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Howard Koh, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard Kennedy School; Jorrit de Jong, Faculty Director of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative and Senior Lecturer in Public Policy and Management at Harvard Kennedy School; Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Tom Frieden, former director of CDC, president and CEO of Resolve to Save Lives, explored collaboration—across sectors, departments, and levels of government—and the challenges, conflicts, and opportunities for effective leadership and a resilient recovery that come with this work. Bill Gates stressed the importance of relying on science to guide reopening the economy in his welcoming remarks to mayors.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, June 2020 

    In the first session, Dr. Josh Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health provided a briefing of critical public health information on COVID-19 within the United States. Georges Benjamin, Executive Director of the American Public Health Association, discussed racism and protests in the context of COVID-19, offering mayors recommendations on measures to consider when protesting to reduce exposure of COVID-19. Professor Danielle Allen, the James Bryant Conant University Professor at Harvard University, and Director of Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, addressed the mayors on how the global pandemic, economic recession, and renewed focus on racial justice provide city leaders with an opportunity to reinvent public governance. The session was moderated by Harvard Kennedy School Professor Jorrit de Jong, and Harvard Business School Professor Rawi Abdelal, the faculty co-chairs of the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative.

    Norgaard, Stefan, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “In the Green: Negotiating Rail Expansion in Somerville, MA”. Read full the case study Abstract

    Stegan Norgaard, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020

    Successful litigation against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts made an original, legal, and moral case for building alternative transportation in Somerville: the Green Line Extension (GLX). Having campaigned on extending the Green Line—first as alderman, then as mayor—Joe Curtatone took office as mayor in 2005. His first victory was creating a MBTA “T” stop for the Orange Line at Assembly Station. Working with the same coalition of nonprofits, he pursued a participatory visioning process (“SomerVision”) that brought together over sixty organizations from different sectors in Somerville, that had a common vision for the GLX. Curtatone overcame hiccups surrounding industrial parcels and successfully kept the project eligible for a federal NewStarts grant; using an economic-development narrative, he acquired the problematic parcels through eminent domain. By 2014-2015, though, the project was running over budget and it was uncertain whether the Commonwealth would support the GLX.

    Curtatone negotiated with the State of Massachusetts and agreed on simplifications to the original GLX, including a shorter route that would no longer directly benefit neighboring regional communities. He also negotiated project funding by the Cities of Cambridge and Somerville and the Boston Regional Metropolitan Planning Organization board (BRMPO). But then, the Commonwealth announced a shortfall of roughly $200 million, that Curtatone resolved through an agreement: Somerville paid $50M, Cambridge $25M, and the BRMPO diverted funding for the rest. The narrower GLX project was approved and construction began in May 2018. This case is designed as the capstone case in a series of negotiation cases developed by the Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative. 

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Roberts, Brady, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “The Queen City’s Collective and Compassionate Approach: Fighting Opioids and Homelessness in the Granite State”. Read full the case study Abstract

    Brady Roberts, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020 

    Elected at the height of the opioid epidemic, Mayor Joyce Craig came to represent the City of Manchester, New Hampshire as it grappled with the dual tragedies of substance abuse and chronic homelessness. An idealist in a state that valued personal responsibility and financial restraint, Craig had successfully expanded her City’s services to those seeking treatment for opioid use disorder and shelter. But these were hard-fought victories at every stage, and there was still work to be done. With just a few months remaining in her first two-year term, the mayor found herself on the eve of another difficult negotiation. She had recently established a diverse Task Force on Homelessness and set her sights on permanently solving Manchester’s homelessness and opioid crises. Next, Craig had to convince her counterparts at the state and local level to dedicate equitable funding to solving these intractable, moral challenges. (See Teaching Case Appendix 1 for a timeline of events in the case.)

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Vo, Hung, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “Many Ways to Get There: Securing Public Investments in Richmond, VA”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Hung Vo, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020 

    The City of Richmond elected Levar Stoney as its youngest mayor in 2016. Mayor Stoney campaigned for better-funded public schools, government accountability, and crime prevention. One of the mayor’s main responsibilities was to propose biannual budgets to a nine-member city council, which could approve the budget as proposed or pass it with amendments. This case illustrates Stoney’s efforts to increase Richmond’s real estate tax from $1.20 to $1.29 per $100 of assessed value. This tax increase was quickly rejected by a majority of city council members. Disagreements climaxed when the mayor’s administration walked out of a city council budget hearing, prompting council members to respond by voting to pursue legal action against Stoney.

    This case focuses on how positional bargaining prevents creative deal-making when negotiators fail to understand the interests of other parties. By exploring Stoney’s relationship with city council, the case emphasizes the downsides of positional bargaining and the opportunities for better outcomes with an interest-based approach to negotiation. This case also introduces the four negotiation concepts of interests, options, criteria, and alternatives, and examines their relevance to city-level negotiations.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Norgaard, Stefan, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “In the Weeds: Securing a Grass-Mowing Contract in Stockton, CA”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Stegan Norgaard, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020

    Kurt Wilson, the City Manager of Stockton, CA, joined the city government ten months after the City declared bankruptcy. After successfully steering Stockton out of bankruptcy, Wilson committed to implementing a set of permanent financial control measures to ensure that the City remained fiscally solvent well into the future. He had an extensive background in both the private and nonprofit sectors and had served as city manager in four other California cities.

    Stockton’s Long-Range Financial Plan (L-RFP) indicated that the City could spend, at most, approximately $1.3M in 2019 fiscal year (FY19) on a contract to mow grass on city medians. The City had spent $1.2M the previous year. Wilson believed shortages of tradespeople in the Bay Area—caused in part by demand for construction after California wildfires—would affect price points. At worst, he thought he could justify spending $1.6M on the contract. Wilson cared about the fiscal health of Stockton, but he also wanted to ensure high-quality public services.

    When the City issued its RFP, bids started at $2.26M, well above what Stockton could afford. After considering his options, Wilson issued a new RFP that included a lower “base” scope of services with modular components that the City could accept or decline depending on cost. Stockton ended up spending $1.91M for a year of service, but even as costs increased, tall grasses remained on city medians. Wilson wondered whether there might have been a better way for the City to have anticipated the higher prices.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Norgaard, Stefan, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian. 2020. “You Get What You Pay for: Reforming Procurement in Naperville, Illinois”. Read the full case study Abstract

    Stegan Norgaard, Elizabeth Patton, Monica Giannone, Brian Mandell, Jorrit de Jong, and Guhan Subramanian; May 2020

    Naperville, Illinois is a suburb of approximately 150,000 people in the Chicago metropolitan area. Traditionally, the City focused on price for all procurement negotiations, but it often had few vendors applying for key contracts and struggled to negotiate on both price and quality.

    Naperville’s original procurement process was called Quality-Adjusted Cost (QAC). This process sought to simplify a myriad of concerns and variables (including price, quality, timeline, and scope, among others) into a single metric, so that the City could easily and objectively evaluate bids. Although QAC attempted to incorporate quality into the evaluation, there were instances when it seemed the best vendor was not selected.

    In an effort to improve the quality of City services, Naperville adopted a new procurement approach called “Cost as a Component.” This revamped process allowed the City to negotiate with vendors on more than just price for technology upgrades and aimed to ensure long-term partnerships with relevant firms, creating value for both vendors and the City. This case illustrates the trade-offs between QAC and “Cost as a Component” for Naperville and prompts participants to apply negotiation concepts to the broader process of city procurement.

    Thanks to a gift from Bloomberg Philanthropies, no permission is required to teach with, download, or make copies of this case.

    Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative, January 2019

    This Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative teaching case covers City of Louisville's effort to increase students’ college and career readiness. On the morning of June 4, 2018, members of Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s Louisville Promise Cabinet assembled around a U-shaped table in a downtown office building. 

    On October 29, 2012, Superstorm Sandy made landfall near Atlantic City, New Jersey. Sandy’s massive size, coupled with an unusual combination of meteorological conditions, fueled an especially powerful and destructive storm surge, which caused unprecedented damage in and around New York City, the country’s most populous metropolitan area, as well as on Long Island and along the Jersey Shore. This two-part case study focuses on how New York City prepared for the storm’s arrival and then responded to the cascading series of emergencies – from fires, to flooding, to power failures – that played out as it bore down on the city. Profiling actions taken at the local level by emergency response agencies like the New York City Fire Department (FDNY), the case also explores how the city coordinated with state and federal partners – including both the state National Guard and federal military components – and illustrates both the advantages and complications of using military assets for domestic emergency response operations.

    Part B of the case highlights, among other things, the experience of Staten Island, which experienced the worst of Sandy’s wrath. In the storm’s wake, frustration over the speed of the response triggered withering public criticism from borough officials, leading to concerns that a political crisis was about to overwhelm the still unfolding relief effort.

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