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Keller Administration Joins Living Cities’ Year of Reckoning on Racism

Network to close gaps in homeownership and entrepreneurship, promote wealth-building for people of color

ALBUQUERQUE – Mayor Tim Keller’s Administration and the City of Albuquerque are joining the Living Cities’ Year of Reckoning cohort, a part of the Closing the Gaps Network. The cohort brings together local government leaders with the philanthropic, private, and non-profit sectors to reckon with the history of systemic racism, develop shared language and analysis, and commit to being accountable to low-income communities of color. Participating leaders will be engaged in anti-racism practices over the next decade to close racial income and wealth gaps in their cities.

Albuquerque City Leaders who are participating in Living Cities’ Year of Reckoning are: Michelle Melendez, Director of the Office of Equity and Inclusion; Dawn Begay, Native American Affairs Coordinator; Andrea Calderon, Race and Equity Data Analyst; Lisa Huval, Deputy Director of Housing and Homelessness; Doug Chaplin, Family & Community Services Operations Director; Karen Meyers, Consumer Financial Protection Initiative Director; Mariah Harrison, Nonprofit Philanthropy Coordinator; and Shawn Watson, Urban Design & Development Associate Planner.

The City is using a $75,000 grant from Living Cities to support the City of Albuquerque's participation in the Closing the Gaps Network's Year of Reckoning Cohort and will focus on closing the gaps in homeownership and entrepreneurship to promote wealth building for people of color.

“Albuquerque’s inclusion in Living Cities’ Year of Reckoning cohort demonstrates our commitment to closing the racial wealth gap,” said Michelle Melendez. “Albuquerque has made progress in addressing racial inequity, but we have more work to do in the community. I look forward to learning what other cities are doing and sharing the policies and actions Albuquerque has enacted with other city leaders.”

The other cities included in the Year of Reckoning cohort are Austin, TX; Memphis, TN; Minneapolis, MN; Rochester, NY; and St. Paul, MN. The first convening of city leaders was held in November 2020. Read Michelle’s profile on Living Cities’ website here. Read Dawn Begay’s profile here.

“We’ve made equity and inclusion central to City Hall and in the community, and we’re putting our top leaders on these issues in the Year of Reckoning cohort to empower the decision-makers within City government. This effort will lead to a more equitable Albuquerque for everyone,” said Mayor Tim Keller.

Shortly after taking office, Mayor Keller reorganized the former Office of Diversity and Human Rights into the new Office of Equity and Inclusion and added an Office of Civil Rights. The Office of Equity and Inclusion was expanded in 2019 with support from a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

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About Living Cities

Founded in 1991, Living Cities is a collaborative of the world's largest foundations and financial institutions. Living Cities fosters transformational relationships across sectors to connect those who are willing to do the hard work of closing racial income and wealth gaps. The organization partners with cross-sector leaders in cities across the country to imagine and create an America in which all people are economically secure, building wealth and living abundant, dignified, and connected lives. To learn more about Living Cities and its member institutions, visit www.livingcities.org.

About the Closing the Gaps Network

The Closing the Gaps Network is a new ten-year effort launched by Living Cities with founding support from the Citi Foundation. It builds upon Living Cities' decade-long work at the intersection of municipal innovation, economic and racial justice. The Network brings together leaders from cities across the country who are committed to imagining what an antiracist society might look like, and to playing an important role in building it through the transformation of government policies, practices, and operations.

About the W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life.