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Page last updated on October 27, 2023 at 3:47 pm

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City Wins Best of Indiana Award for Best Application Serving the Public

The City of Bloomington has been awarded the 2023 Best of Indiana Award for the “Best Application Serving the Public” at the local government level, for streamlining the process of applying for public grants, scholarships, and other assistance programs. 


CiviForm is a free, open source web application that simplifies the process of administering and applying for public assistance programs. CiviForm expands access to critical public services through a simple interface, and saves time for residents and program administrators by streamlining applications across programs. 


At the October 19, 2023 Indiana Digital Government Summit, The City of Bloomington’s Civiform Project was commended for providing residents, city staff, and other stakeholders with streamlined access to the benefit application process. 


“Bloomington continues to innovate and improve our transparency and equity,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “I want to thank the ITS department and our partners for streamlining access and reducing barriers. This innovative collaboration between the City of Bloomington, Fellows, and the State of Indiana demonstrates how public and private sectors can work together for the greater good.”


Bloomington is the second U.S. city after Seattle to deploy CiviForm with support from a pro bono team of Fellows.  Additional state and local governments are currently deploying CiviForm's open source software, expanding benefits access and building a community of practice around shared software for public good along the way, including Charlotte, NC and the State of Arkansas. The City of Bloomington's Information & Technology Services Department (ITS) collaborated to deploy CiviForm with three initial applications: Utilities Customer Assistance program, Parks & Recreation Scholarships, and ITS Computer Surplus Requests. 


A team of 12 Google employees worked with the City of Bloomington pro bono as part of the Fellowship program (​​, which matches Google employees with nonprofits and civic entities for up to six months on full-time technical projects. 


“Local governments and community organizations play a critical role in supporting their communities. The City of Bloomington is leading the way in showing how technology can play a key role in enabling that,” said Winton Steward, Google Head of External Affairs and Public Policy in Indiana. “We are proud to support the City's efforts to make government services more accessible and effective for all residents.”


ITS successfully launched Civiform on November 18, 2022. The department is committed to expanding service offerings and staff are active participants in the growing Civiform community, including governance and product design committees. 


Since Civiform went live, 118 applications that were previously submitted in person using paper forms have been received through the platform. The time and effort required to submit an application has been dramatically reduced to less than 15 minutes for most applications without requiring that the submitter apply in person. ITS further streamlined the process for residents through its partnership with the Indiana Office of Technology (IOT). By integrating Civiform and Access Indiana, residents can use for authentication services. 


“Congratulations to the City of Bloomington for their work improving applications to various benefit services. Their decision to use Access Indiana, the state's single sign-on system, shows that Bloomington is putting its citizens first while taking a longer-term look at user experience,” said Tracy Barnes, Chief Information Officer at Indiana Office of Technology. “This was an innovative approach to partner with the State of Indiana with pro bono support from to build this service, deserving of a Best of Indiana award.”


Several notable elements of this project highlight the City’s commitment to innovative problem solving and process improvement. These include: the pro bono support from highlighting a strong private and public collaboration, the multi-government open source application, the integration with IOT authentication, and Bloomington’s continuing service on CiviForm governance and product design committees.


“The City of Bloomington ITS team members are honored to be recognized for our work,” said Bloomington ITS Director, Rick Dietz. “I especially want to thank the ITS Applications team,  Assistant Director for Applications Greg Overtoom, Application Infrastructure Analyst Cliff Ingham, and Application Analyst Walid Sibo.  Special additional thanks to South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) and Julie Wilson for their work on the Utility Customer Assistance Applications.”


About the Fellowship works to bring the best of Google to nonprofits and civic entities who are tackling the toughest challenges. The Fellowship embeds teams of Googlers with nonprofits or civic entities for up to six months of full time pro-bono work. Fellows and their host nonprofit or civic entity build solutions together to benefit the host organization, working as a team to ensure that the work has a sustained and lasting impact.


About Best of Indiana Awards

A collaboration between Indiana's Office of Technology and Government Technology magazine, the Best of Indiana Awards recognize state and local government organizations for their standout contributions, best practices, and innovations in information technology that improve citizen services. 


Bloomington Civiform:





ITS staff receive Best of Indiana Award
From left: Greg Overtoom, ITS Assistant Director for Applications;  Rick Dietz, ITS Director; and Tracy Barnes, Chief Information Officer at Indiana Office of Technology.  Rick holding award, Tracy Shaking Greg’s Hand.