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* Hampton City News

Posted on: May 2, 2017

Hampton named finalist for Harvard Innovations In American Government Awards

IAG-Awards-finalist logo

May 2, 2017 – Hampton’s “I Value” budget input program was announced as a finalist in this year’s Innovations in American Government Awards competition by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

As one of seven finalists for the Innovations Award, Hampton will compete for a $100,000 grand prize during presentations to the Innovations Awards National Selection Committee, chaired by Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, on May 17 in Cambridge, Mass. City Manager Mary Bunting, who kicked off the concept in 2010, and Chris Snead, then budget director and now city councilwoman, will present Hampton’s innovative process.

Hampton’s budget input works because the city goes to residents instead of expecting them to come to City Hall  - and because input is given proactively, Bunting says. Through collaboration, residents in 2013 overwhelming said they could support increasing the tax rate to maintain services and to invest in the future of the city and its school system. Hampton uses a variety of ways to reach people and allow them to give input – informal chats, larger meetings with keypad polling, social media, online polling, cable and YouTube videos.

“This recognition goes to the entire community, because our residents care so much that they took the time to become involved,” said Bunting. “The budget might sound like a complicated topic, but there are clear choices about what services residents value the most from their city government.”

Stephen Goldsmith, director of the Innovations in Government program at the Ash Center, called these programs “the vanguard of creative, solution-oriented governing, demonstrating that the drive to make government work better and do more comes from all levels and jurisdictions of every size. These programs are focused on an impressive range of areas and some of the country’s most pressing social concerns, including the opioid epidemic, government efficiency and efficacy, environmental conservation, homelessness, and the school and workforce readiness of our citizens.”

The Innovations in American Government Awards was created by the Ford Foundation in 1985 in response to widespread pessimism and distrust in government’s effectiveness. Since its inception, over 500 government innovations across all jurisdiction levels have been recognized and have collectively received more than $22 million in grants to support dissemination efforts. Such models of good governance also inform research and academic study around key policy areas both at Harvard Kennedy School and academic institutions worldwide. Past winners have served as the basis of case studies taught in more than 450 Harvard courses and over 2,250 courses worldwide.

For more information, contact:

Daniel Harsha
Associate Director for Communications, Ash Center

About the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation advances excellence in governance and strengthens democratic institutions worldwide. Through its research, education, international programs, and government innovations awards, the Center fosters creative and effective government problem-solving and serves as a catalyst for addressing many of the most pressing needs of the world’s citizens. For more information, visit

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