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Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Central New Mexico Community College Win National Recognition for Innovative Film School Project at the Rail Yards

The United States Conference of Mayors and Wells Fargo award $300,000 grant at CommunityWINS® Ceremony, funding to be matched by State Legislature

October 16, 2019

Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) came together today to accept the 2019 First Place CommunityWINS® Grant Award, presented by the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and Wells Fargo. The $300,000 grant will support CNM’s Film Production Center of Excellence at the Albuquerque Rail Yards. Launched in 2015, the nationwide CommunityWINS® (Working/Investing in Neighborhood Stabilization) program recognizes nonprofits and cities that drive neighborhood stabilization, economic development and job creation. It will be matched by an additional $300,000 from the New Mexico State Legislature.

“It’s an honor for Albuquerque to win first place out of over one hundred other cities for a national grant to support our local efforts to revitalize the historic Rail Yards in the heart of our city,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “This funding, and matching funds from the state legislature, will further our efforts to partner with CNM to bring their film school here to the site as an anchor tenant. Reinventing the Rail Yards is a key to driving job creation and growing our local economy. We are working in collaboration with the surrounding neighborhoods to ensure that the redevelopment empowers our local communities and that the site serves as a place for people to gather for all kinds of community events.”

Funded in collaboration with USCM and the Wells Fargo Foundation, the CommunityWINS® grant will be used for an innovative effort to revitalize the historic Rail Yards building in support of the state’s growing film industry and local economic development. The future CNM Film Production Center of Excellence aims to expand its film production program and continue to train the workforce for the film industry. More than 200 major productions have filmed in New Mexico since 2003.

“The Conference and Wells Fargo share similar values focused on helping communities across the country succeed and the 2019 CommunityWINS® Grant Program is an opportunity to honor productive neighborhood revitalization efforts that are making a difference,” said Tom Cochran, CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “We appreciate Wells Fargo and the Wells Fargo Foundation for their support of the CommunityWINS® Program, which also highlights the leadership of mayors and city governments.”

The 2019 CommunityWINS® awards include monetary grants to city-based nonprofit organizations and recognize mayors for exemplary leadership in developing local programs that promote long-term economic prosperity and improve the quality of life for residents in three categories: neighborhood stabilization, economic development, and job creation. An independent panel of judges, selected by USCM, determined the eight winning cities from a pool of 139 applicants in three population groups - small, medium, large and metropolitan. The Film Production Center Excellence at the Rail Yards, managed by CNM, was among those chosen for funding.

“CNM is honored to be part of such an inspiring team effort with Mayor Keller and Wells Fargo to help revitalize downtown by locating CNM’s Film Production Center of Excellence at the historic Rail Yards,” said CNM President Katharine Winograd. “CNM has been producing skilled film technicians to support our state’s film industry for 15 years, and we’re very excited about this grant helping us to expand our capacity to meet the growing demand for these skilled professionals. We’re looking forward to providing more community members with the training opportunities they need to secure quality employment while contributing to economic development in downtown Albuquerque.”

“Wells Fargo is pleased to team with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support neighborhood revitalization efforts,” said David Hockmuth, Region Bank President. “The work being done by CNM Film Production Center of Excellence to fund the efforts to revitalize historic Rail Yards building embodies the spirit of what our CommunityWINS® grant program collaboration is all about. We applaud Mayor Keller and CNM for their vision and passion to empower their communities.”

In June, Wells Fargo announced an evolution of its philanthropic strategy and that it would commit $1 billion in philanthropy by 2025 to address the U.S. housing affordability crisis by working with community partners, non-profits and policymakers to develop new housing affordability solutions.