Skip navigation

Denver Receives $100,000 Grant to Measure Air Quality at Public Schools


Denver Receives $100,000 Grant to Measure Air Quality at Public Schools

Denver is among 35 Champion Cities that will embark on six-month project testing phase as part of

Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Initiative

Feb. 23, 2018 — Denver is one of 35 Champion Cities selected as finalists in the 2018 U.S. Mayors Challenge, a nationwide competition that encourages cities to develop bold, inventive ideas that confront their toughest challenges. Denver’s Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) will use the associated $100,000 grant to develop and implement a real-time, hyper-local air quality data monitoring system at 10 Denver Public Schools (DPS) campuses that will empower communities, families and schools to protect children’s respiratory health.

As children are particularly susceptible to the acute and long-term health effects of air pollution — including decreased lung function, increased respiratory infections and missed days of school — DDPHE will create a city-wide air quality monitoring program using cutting-edge air pollution sensor technology, located on DPS buildings, that informs policy decisions and resident behavior. While the DPS campuses have not yet been finalized, the initiative aims to decrease the health and financial burdens of air pollution for Denver’s most vulnerable residents. Denver families currently spend an average of $3,100 a year on asthma-related medical costs, resulting in more than $30 million spent annually.

The 35 Champion Cities performed the best against four key criteria: vision, potential for impact, implementation plan, and potential to spread to other cities. Champion Cities were selected from a competitive pool of more than 320 applications and will now begin a six-month testing phase to conduct public prototypes of their ideas. This “Test, Learn, and Adapt” phase allows cities to refine their ideas, receive personalized support from innovation experts, and test and build support for their innovations.

The Mayors Challenge is the first investment in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Initiative, a $200 million suite of new and expanded programs that will empower cities to generate innovation and advance policy that moves the nation forward. Following this idea-testing phase, Denver will submit a new application to Bloomberg Philanthropies in August 2018. In October, four cities will be awarded $1 million and one will be awarded $5 million to bring their ideas to life. 

"We received hundreds of bold and creative ideas from cities around the country in response to the 2018 Mayors Challenge, and these 35 really stood out for their potential to improve people’s lives,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, founder of Bloomberg Philanthropies and three-term Mayor of New York City. “The next six months are a great opportunity for the cities to test their ideas and make them even more innovative and effective.”

For more information on the Mayors Challenge or the American Cities Initiative, visit and @BloombergCities on Twitter and Instagram.


The Department of Public Health and Environment (DDPHE) is Denver’s nationally-accredited public health agency.  The divisions of DDPHE include Animal Protection and Shelter, Community Health, Environmental Quality, Office of the Medical Examiner and Public Health Inspections.

For more information about DDPHE visit Follow us on

Bloomberg Philanthropies works in over 120 countries around the world to ensure better, longer lives for the greatest number of people. The organization focuses on five key areas for creating lasting change: Arts, Education, Environment, Government Innovation, and Public Health. Bloomberg Philanthropies encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg’s charitable activities, including his foundation and his personal giving. In 2016, Bloomberg Philanthropies distributed $600 million. For more information, please visit or follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter.


Media Contact

Bloomberg Philanthropies, Courtney Greenwald, (212) 205-0361,