Tulsa chosen for innovation fund program
BY P.J. LASSEK World Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
8/18/10 at 4:53 AM
Tulsa is one of eight cities to partner in the federal 2010 Social Innovation Fund, a new public-private investment vehicle designed to identify and expand proven anti-poverty programs, Mayor Dewey Bartlett announced Tuesday.
"This is a very prestigious opportunity," he said.
The federal program, established by the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act, was one of several items Bartlett announced during what he called a "good news" press conference.
Of the approximate $110 million in the federal grant program, $50 million has been allocated to the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, Bartlett said.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who oversees the Mayor's Fund, has selected eight cities across the country, including Tulsa, to participate in the program, Bartlett said.
The mayor said he and the Tulsa Community Foundation will spearhead Tulsa's involvement.
Tulsa will allocate the funds through a competitive-bidding process to qualifying local nonprofit agencies to provide services in three innovative pilot programs - Jobs-plus, $aveUSA and WorkAdvance, Bartlett said.
Jobs-plus addresses entrenched poverty among public housing residents by saturating housing developments with job support, community building and rent incentives.
$aveUSA offers a matched savings account to low- income tax filers.
WorkAdvance creates work-force programs that employ sector-focus and skills-building strategies.
Good year for PAC: The Performing Arts Center had a record-breaking revenue year, giving more than $2 million back to the city, Director John Scott said Tuesday.
"We're doing a little more than our part in helping the revenue picture for the city," he said.
The news came as Bartlett was recognizing Scott for a Great Plains Award that the PAC's Intermission magazine received for best public relations magazine in an eight-state competition.
Scott said the revenue spike is a result of the successful four-week run of the Broadway musical "Wicked."
Transparency: The city also received an A-plus grade from Sunshine Review for the city's website, up from a C last year, Bartlett said.
Sunshine Review rates governmental entities on their transparency.
"As mayor, I knew we deserved better than just an average, OK transparency," he said.
Bartlett said his staff made changes to the city's website to make information easier to access.
Raising that grade, he said, "is indicative of the attitude of this government's desire to not just give lip service to the concept of transparency, but to really come through with the concept of transparency."
Bartlett also announced that the city's Finance Department had received a certificate of excellence in financial reporting.
Original Print Headline: Tulsa one of 8 cities chosen for innovation fund
P.J. Lassek 581-8382