City of Memphis receives grant from New York mayor - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

City of Memphis receives grant from New York mayor

(WMC-TV) - Memphis is one of only five cities selected by a major philanthropy group to receive almost $5 million.

The program is designed to allow mayors to work together to find solutions, and Memphis Mayor A C Wharton agreed it will help him tackle some of the city's most pressing challenges.

Wharton had a lot to smile about as he announced Memphis' role in the new Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative Thursday.

"We're just really overjoyed about this," he said.

Billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is handing out millions of dollars in grants to mayors in at least five major cities, including Memphis.  The money will help fund various issues, from energy efficiency to handgun violence.

"What are we going to use it for?  Hire a bunch of people?  Absolutely not," said Wharton.  "Build a building?  No.  This is for one thing.  It's for talent to help us really get the best and the brightest."

Memphis will receive $4.8 million.

"The people who are wise stewards of their funds are going to use these funds to support intellectual capital, so I see this as the beginning to attract other intellectual capital and other financial capital," said Wharton.

As part of the program, Wharton will have the next three years to tackle two priorities: increase small business growth in target neighborhoods through economic development, and approach handgun violence as a public health crisis.

"You cannot sustain the pursuit of economic development if the image you're not safe is out there, so it all ties together," said Wharton.

All the mayors chosen for the program are in their first 18 months of their terms in office.

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