Atlanta is one of five cities that will be named Thursday by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his Bloomberg Philanthropies to share in $24 million to design and implement programs to meet pressing civic needs.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed confirmed that the city will receive $1.4 million annually -- for the rest of Reed's first term in office -- to address two of its biggest needs: to create and fund a comprehensive 311 system to improve governmental customer service throughout the city and to reduce Atlanta’s street homeless and panhandling problem.
“I am grateful to Mayor Bloomberg’s generosity with advice and time,” Reed said. “This funding will raise the level of performance in Atlanta and focus on what it takes to build a best-in-class 311 center."
In each of the chosen cities, Bloomberg's initiative will fund five- to six-person "Innovation Delivery Teams." In New York, Bloomberg established teams to develop anti-poverty, sustainability and efficiency movements that were adopted into his administration.
Atlanta's team would develop the 311 system and provide expertise; salaries would be paid by Bloomberg Philanthropies, which will provide support for the project's duration.
Last year, Atlanta hired Amy Phuong as the city's chief services officer by using a $200,000 Cities of Service Leadership Grant from Bloomberg and the Rockefeller initiatives. Chicago, Louisville, Memphis and New Orleans also received grants for various projects.
“This grant was heavily influenced by the kind of talent we have been attracting here in Atlanta,” Reed said.