Michael Hancock

Mayor

Denver, CO

Michael B. Hancock is Denver's 45th mayor. During his time in office, Mayor Hancock and his administration have eliminated the city’s budget deficit, fostered a diverse economy and restored much needed services that were lost during the recession. With a drive toward increasing opportunity for every resident, he has prioritized innovative solutions to investing in the city’s children and youth; increasing mobility options, affordable housing and services for the homeless; supporting economic mobility, entrepreneurs and small businesses; and making government work smarter for residents.

Prior to becoming Mayor, Michael Hancock served on the Denver City Council for eight years, including two as City Council President. In his early career, he worked for the Denver Housing Authority and National Civic League, and was the youngest President of an Urban League chapter in America.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

In order to make Denver a world-class city, Mayor Michael Hancock is striving to evolve the definition of Transit Oriented Development to an idea of developing transit communities that are walkable, livable places that provide citizens with access to most of their daily needs.

Solution

As Denver continues to develop its mass transit system, Mayor Hancock is also looking to leverage the great redevelopment opportunities around station areas, increasing job and business and changing the mix of traditional uses in these development, thus transforming formerly disinvested neighborhoods. By bringing together the ideas of transit oriented development and innovation business districts, Mayor Hancock is working to create an exceptional transit system with great stations that connect to walkable communities.


Problem

Governments today - at the federal, state, and local level – must accomplish more with fewer resources while ensuring taxpayer funds are wisely spent. Decision making and problem solving often rely on institutional inertia and a top-down managerial approach, making the entire organization less responsive to constituent demands. By contrast, startup businesses and entrepreneurs generally embrace innovative solutions that leverage unique insights into action, regardless of where those insights come from. In short, governments tend to operate as a hierarchy; entrepreneurs and startups tend to operate as a network. The challenge is how to apply an entrepreneurial mindset and skillset to the public sector to both spur innovation and manage resources, creating workable solutions to pressing problems.

Solution

The innovative Governmental Entrepreneurial Leadership Accelerator (GELA) fellowship explores a new model of governmental problem solving and leadership development, graduating 30 fellows in 2 years, building a new model of professional development and collaboration. GELA begins with a boot camp, which integrates a range of books and articles, guest speakers from the entrepreneurial community and hands-on exercises. This boot camp was followed by six weeks of work on difficult city problems, from bridging the digital divide to addressing overdoses from the opioid epidemic. During pitch night, fellows pitched their ideas to public sector leaders such as Mayor Hancock and Stephanie Copeland, a member of the governor’s cabinet.


Problem

Government often relies on outside experts and hiring consultants to improve city systems and advise city employees on how to do their jobs better. By focusing only on this outsider, top-down approach, government is spending more money on solving its problems and not inspiring a culture of innovation and trust in government amongst city employees.

Solution

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock launched Peak Performance to invest in Denver’s employees by giving them the tools to solve city problems. Peak offers classes to city employees to help them identify areas for improvement and embrace a new culture of innovation to provide the best service possible. By empowering city employees to find their own straightforward reforms, Mayor Hancock has restored public trust in government, while making city projects run more efficiently and save money.


Problem

The sustainability and economic success of nonprofits is often impacted by an organization’s ability to find affordable space, reduce overhead, and find innovative ways to effectively advance their mission.

Solution

Through the Denver Office of Strategic Partnerships, Mayor Hancock helped create the Denver Shared Spaces project in 2009 to maximize nonprofit resources through a shared space model. Resources for the project have been raised by public investment (dollars from various city agencies), and some private investments. This model is an effective tool for increasing efficiency and effectiveness in nonprofit partners by reducing duplicative efforts, sharing overhead costs and creating a space for sharing best practices and collaboration.


Problem

Every child in Denver deserves access to quality afterschool programs. Decades of research indicate that participation in quality afterschool programs keep kids safe, helps working families, and improves student engagement in school, thus improving academic achievement. Yet like many other cities across the nation, Denver’s afterschool field is fragmented, quality is inconsistent, and there is no sustainable source of funding to support programs.

Solution

The Denver Afterschool Alliance is working arm in arm with every stakeholder citywide to establish a comprehensive, sustainable afterschool solution that will ensure equity in access to quality afterschool programming throughout the city. This coordinated approach will help keep kids safe and inspire them to be successful in school and graduate ready for career, college, and life. By working collaboratively with Denver Public Schools and other community stakeholders, the Alliance will be able to identify which programs are the most effective and dramatically accelerates the City’s progress in supporting Denver’s youth.


Problem

Many local governments lack efficient ways to provide their constituents with easy access to city information and the services they need, resulting in an overwhelming number of calls to 311 systems. 

Solution

Mayor Michael Hancock helped launch Pocketgov.com last year, Denver’s online service center, which provides access to city services and information from anywhere, at any time, on any device. With pocketgov.com, users can make a variety of payments, report potholes or graffiti, find property values, sign up for customized services like street sweeping reminders and waste removal notifications, and much more. With new features rolling out every month based on citizen feedback, pocketgov.com is an innovative solution for direct, easy connections to the City of Denver. 


Problem

For too long, far too many of Denver’s children have grown up without a full opportunity to succeed, and in a city as resource rich as Denver that shouldn’t be the case. Incredible organizations and people have been tirelessly working to provide Denver’s youth the opportunities they deserve to access a high quality education. However this work was often done in silos. There were often competing interests and scattered strategies. This led to unnecessary overlap, limited financial resources, and not enough students getting the supports and services they deserved.

Solution

Mayor Michael Hancock helped coordinate the creation of “The Education Compact,” a citywide collaboration between 20+ key Denver institutions working to create a robust cradle-to-career continuum for Denver’s youth - where all students enter kindergarten prepared, graduate high school prepared, complete a postsecondary pathway and obtain a job. By having a diverse group of community leaders that represent Denver’s many neighborhoods, industries, and sectors housed under one organization means that resources can be brought to bear and deliberate collaboration can occur to increase educational attainment for all Denver students.