The City of Bloomington and Fellows launch CiviForm benefit application portal

BLOOMINGTON – The City of Bloomington is pleased to announce the public launch of three online applications made available through the innovative collaboration between Bloomington’s Information & Technology Services Department (ITS) and to deploy the CiviForm platform.

CiviForm is an open-source tool originally developed by the City of Seattle with support from Fellows to simplify and centralize online applications for government assistance. Bloomington is the second city after Seattle to deploy the CiviForm system. 

Rob Biederman

“Google believes that technology can make our lives easier, so it’s a thrill to see the launch of CiviForm in Bloomington. This new tool will save residents time and improve access to government programs,” says Rob Biederman, Director of External Affairs for Google. 

The collaboration with to deploy CiviForm was first announced in May.  The applications currently offered through CiviForm are the Utilities Customer Assistance program, Parks & Recreation Scholarship, and ITS Computer Surplus Request process. The portal for City applications and forms can be found at

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. The City of Bloomington Information & Technology Services Department led this initiative in partnership with Parks & Recreation and the City of Bloomington Utilities (CBU).

Mayor John Hamilton

“The outcome of this collaboration is improved access for Bloomington residents,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “This is what we should always be working toward – greater equity, fewer barriers, and better quality of life. I want to extend a special thanks to Rick Dietz and the ITS department for their work on this project. In particular, thanks to the Applications team, especially Assistant Director for Applications Greg Overtoom and Application Infrastructure Analyst Cliff Ingham.” 

The initial CiviForm launch features improvements to these application processes:

Utilities Customer Assistance Program 

CBU budgets $50,000 annually for assistance to active utility (water, wastewater, or sanitation trash pickup) customers experiencing financial hardship. Making utility payments is important to avoid disconnection or building up a large balance that will be harder to pay off later. This assistance program is a partnership between the City and the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP). Goals for implementing this application in Civiform include fully utilizing funds available every year, increasing awareness of the program, reducing delinquent shut-offs, and improving staff efficiency.

Parks & Recreation Scholarship Program

Bloomington Parks Foundation seeks and receives contributions from individuals, social groups, clubs, businesses, and service organizations to assist in providing scholarships for youth, providing them opportunities to participate in recreation programs. Financial need is the primary criterion upon which scholarships are considered. The goals for implementing this application in CiviForm include reducing complexity in the application process and fully utilizing funds available every year.

ITS Surplus Computer Request Process 

The City of Bloomington replaces approximately one-fourth of its computer equipment each year to keep up with new technology. Where still usable, this equipment is declared surplus and donated to local 501(c)(3) Non-Profit organizations. Goals for implementing this application in CiviForm include simplifying the application process, reducing administration time, and increasing the percentage of computer donations, which support the City’s digital equity goals. Read more about digital equity and the City of Bloomington at:

Rick Dietz

“We are happy to be among the early innovators to use CiviForm and to shape its development and growth as an open-source project,” said Rick Dietz, Director of Information Technology Services for the City. “Bloomington has joined the Governance Committee for CiviForm and plans to remain active in its development in the coming months and years. This is another tool in our portfolio of important digital services making government programs and benefits more readily available to the Bloomington community.”

This project has already resulted in process improvements prior to going live.  Through the development process we were able to:  

  • Reduce overall processing steps,
  • Reduce paper-based steps,
  • Remove unnecessary notarization requirements, and
  • Improve communication and interactions between City of Bloomington staff and community organizations providing assistance.

After the Fellowship ends, ITS staff will continue using CiviForm further to improve online access to other City services. Other services we are assessing for future CiviForm deployment  include:

  • Grant applications
  • Loan applications
  • Social services funding

The portal for CiviForm applications and forms can be found at

About Fellowship Program

  • works to bring the best of Google to nonprofits and civic entities that 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.
  • The Fellowship is’s flagship employee engagement and professional development offering. 
  • The Fellows participating have expertise in software engineering, user experience research and design, marketing, product management, data science, and more.