Route Fifty’s Parent Company Buys Community Platform for Local Government Leaders


Connecting state and local government leaders

The Atlas for Cities focuses on case studies and other tools to connect local officials and enable them to share ideas and best practices.

Government Executive Media Group, parent company of Route Fifty, announced Wednesday that it has acquired The Atlas for Cities, a digital platform that provides a community for local government leaders to exchange ideas and best practices. 

The Atlas enables city leaders to connect with colleagues around the country, engage with member-written case studies, follow trending topics and post questions to crowdsource ideas and advice. 

Headquartered in San Diego, The Atlas was founded by three women: Elle Hempen, former special assistant and communications director in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of International and Tribal Affairs; Ellory Monks, a former fellow at the Science and Technology Policy Institute, where she acted as the executive secretary of the Obama administration’s Climate Data and Tools Initiative; and Shalini Vajjhala, a former Obama administration official who currently is CEO of re:focus partners

Hempen and Monks now run The Atlas and will continue to do so. 

“The Atlas delivers on our promise to look for companies that complement and supplement the full suite of offerings that we provide to our partners to reach decision makers across all facets of the public sector,” said Tim Hartman, CEO of Government Executive Media Group. “With Elle and Ellory, and the entire team at The Atlas, we have found cutting-edge technology and like-minded leaders who value the power of community to unite government decision makers and industry to make informed decisions, create sustainable connections and drive government innovation forward.”

 “State and local governments in the United States spend $3.7 trillion per year. That's almost 20% of GDP," said Hempen, who serves as CEO of The Atlas. “Our mission to increase transparency and access for local leaders has the opportunity to transform this enormous, inefficient market and enable tangible progress on the most important issues of our times.”

The Atlas launched its digital platform in 2019. It now has served about 21,000 local government leaders across 3,400 cities. Members have posted more than 500 case studies to the platform. 

“We are so proud of The Atlas’ robust and engaged community of local government leaders and the ways that they share best practices and support each other’s learning, no matter the size or location of their city,” said Monks.

In 2017, The Atlas was a finalist for a Route Fifty Navigator Award, which honors excellence and innovation in state and local government. 

Earlier this year, The Atlas and Route Fifty collaborated on a survey of local officials about how the Covid-19 pandemic is affecting their operations. The Atlas developed the survey, along with ELGL and SeeClickFix, while Route Fifty helped promote it and published a series of stories about the results.

The two organizations will remain separate, but will explore and develop ways to share information across their platforms. 

Explore The Atlas here

Tom Shoop is executive vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group.

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