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The city of San José was a finalist for the 2018 Engaged Cities Award for its Unleash Your Geek initiative, a collaboration with citizens to tackle the city’s graffiti issue. The award elevates city-led strategies that most successfully engage citizens to help create and implement solutions to pressing local problems.

In 2017, Cities of Service partnered with San José to address potential undercounting of vulnerable residents for the 2020 Census. Their innovative efforts were featured in the New York Times and served as a model for other cities to do this and similar work using the Citizen-Sourced Data in Your City guide.

In 2017, Mayor Liccardo launched #BeautifySJ to unite the city and reclaim public spaces. The initiative has engaged thousands of volunteers, removed thousands of tons of trash from the city’s streets, cleaned up creeks and supported neighborhood groups’ efforts to beautify their communities. Mayor Liccardo launched #ServeSJ during his 2017 State of the City Address, where he asked residents to imagine how the city could transform with a renewed culture of service.

For example, in partnership with Encore.org and several local organizations, San José’s Gen2Gen campaign serves as a conduit for adults 50 years and older to unleash their spirit of service, empower their creativity and leverage their professional expertise in support of local youth. In addition, Mayor Liccardo works closely with a wide cadre of partners in an attempt to create hundreds of additional service year opportunities for local youth in San José.

As part of its efforts to strengthen the city’s resilience to droughts, flooding, and other extreme weather events, San José participated in the Cities of Service Prepared Together program and the Bay Area Impact Volunteering program, and was also a recipient of an Impact Volunteering grant in 2014. In total, San José has received $125,000 from Cities of Service, along with support from AmeriCorps VISTA members, and ongoing technical assistance.

San José has been a member of the Cities of Service coalition since 2009, when former Mayor Chuck Reed signed the Declaration of Service. Current Mayor Sam Liccardo reaffirmed the city's commitment to service by signing the Declaration in 2015.

Mayor Sam Liccardo

Since taking office in 2015, Mayor Sam Liccardo has launched a number of initiatives designed to help create a more equitable San Jose. Among these, Mayor Liccardo launched after-school, academically-focused learning programs in 16 of San Jose's poorest neighborhoods through SJ Learns; provided more than 2,000 at-risk youth with job opportunities, career skills, and financial literacy through the SJWorks program; and worked with schools and private sector partners to expand internet access and provide devices for thousands of low-income students and their families.

Budget Director and Chief Service Officer, Nicholas Almeida

In his role, Khanh Russo develops a shared agenda and tangible strategies with partners that leverage innovation, community resources, and investments for creative public problem solving. Prior to joining the Mayor's office, he worked at Cisco where he guided the global strategy and implementation of internet- and technology-based solutions that address critical human needs.