ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) – It’s all about opportunity. Mayor Berry says his administration is raking in big bucks for the city through grants and partnerships. He even has an employee whose sole job is to look for opportunities for the city and she’s not even funded by taxpayers. News 13 spoke to Mayor Berry to find out more about some of the city’s most recent scores and the importance of securing these funds.
Berry says he’s been in tune with opportunities for the city since the start of his administration. He says these programs and partnerships are vital to making improvements without tapping into your wallet. Berry says the city wouldn’t have access to nearly as many resources without them.
“So much of what we’re trying to do is take resources and if we can go out and bring resources from outside Albuquerque and the taxpayer dollar, it just adds a lot of value,” Berry said. “There’s millions of dollars now that can come in to our community other than what the taxpayers contribute to help us thrive and grow.”
There’s no set type of grant or partnership the mayor’s looking for- these initiatives range from education to workforce development. Take the Kauffman Mayor’s Prize Program. It’s a partnership between the Kauffman Foundation and the Albuquerque Community Foundation. The idea is to create a competition that seeks new ideas from innovative programs that support new and blossoming businesses. Of course, the winners are handsomely rewarded with funds contributed by both foundations. Come this fall, you can expect a conference of mayors in town. That’s when Berry’s staff says they’ll make more announcements on this program.
There’s also a $45 million dollar project Bloomberg Philanthropies heads up. It’s called Bloomberg Philanthropies Innovation Team. Albuquerque was one of twelve cities chosen to participate in the United States. The program aims to improve City Halls’ ability to design and put into place new ideas that improve your life, helping mayors address immediate challenges in their cities.
“The Bloomberg Foundation has come in and brought resources in and they’re also actually going to help us bring more people into the mayor’s office other than on the taxpayer dime to help us move some of these initiatives forward so there’s more of this coming,” Berry explained.
When it comes to the innovation team, Bloomberg Philanthropies is set to dole out $400,000 a year for three years to create the team.
Right now, the mayor’s staff says people are being interviewed for the team and they hope to have it in place by the end of the summer.
Wednesday, the city announced a Microsoft youth camp is returning for the second year in a row. It’s designed to help kids learn about careers in technology and connect with Microsoft employees
“All of these things, if you look at them in totality, are about improving lives in Albuquerque,” said Berry.
Mayor Berry says he believes outside organizations want to work with Albuquerque because of his team and because they’re so in tune with the community. He says that comes from hitting the streets and talking with a wide cross-section of Albuquerque’s population.