Santa Monica, California: Is Your City Happy?

Is your city happy?  Well, Santa Monica was just granted $1 Million to find out.  Welcome to LA.

In the first ever Bloomberg Philanthropies' Mayors' Challenge, several million dollars was granted to major cities across the country to promote and find innovative local solutions to national problems. One grand prize winner and four runner-ups have been granted funds to continue research on proposed projects that will better their respective communities and residents.

More than 300 cities submitted proposals to the foundation, led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.  The Grand Prize of $5 million went to Providence, Rhode Island for the "Providence Talks" program, which aims to improve language skills for children of lower income households.  Santa Monica, Chicago, Houston, and Philadelphia were all awarded runner-ups, and granted $1 million.

Santa Monica's proposal involves the happiness of it's residents, hence the name "Wellbeing Project".  The hope is to gather enough information to create a well-being index, which will indicate how connected residents feel to their community.  Based on how connected they feel, project workers can get an idea about how well they can recover from a natural disaster or any other devastating event.  When they have an idea about how well residents are doing, they will have a better idea about how and where to spend money on the things that matter.

Santa Monica Mayor Pam O'Connor calls this a "game-changer".  She sees this as an opportunity to build a "resilient community", and a resilient community is where "people thrive".

We would love to hear your feedback in the comment section below, and welcome any thoughts on the subject.  Thank you for your time.

How do you feel about this grant project?

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