Column: Global Cities Initiative to kick off 2013 program in Atlanta

By Maria Saporta
Published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Friday, November 2, 2012

JP Morgan Chase and the Brookings Institute have teamed up on an initiative to help cities become more globally competitive.

The Global Cities Initiative, a $10 million, five-year program, will be coming to Atlanta on March 19 and 20. It is one of five cities that will be part of the initiative in 2013. The other cities are Houston (May 14-15), Dallas (May 16), Denver (June 25-26) and Mexico City (Nov. 11-15).

“The kickoff for the 2013 program is going to be Atlanta,” said David Balos,president of Atlanta Commercial Banking for JP Morgan Chase. “I’m pretty excited about putting this all together.”

The Global Cities Initiative began in 2012 in three cities — Los Angeles, Miami and Columbus, Ohio. The intent is to help cities — particularly business, civic and government leaders — explore opportunities for job creation and economic growth by becoming more international.

“Vibrant, global cities don’t just appear on their own. It takes strategy, collaboration, data and insight,” said Richard M. Daley, chair of the Global Cities Initiative, in a statement. “Of course, it also takes leadership. That’s what the Global Cities forums are all about.

We are getting the right people around the table to explore opportunities and actions to drive local and regional economic growth and help cities better compete in the global economy.”
Daley, who is a former mayor of Chicago, also serves as a senior adviser at JP Morgan.

The director of the Global Cities Initiative is Bruce Katz, vice president and founding director of the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program. Katz was the keynote speaker at this year’s “State of the Region” breakfast put on by the Atlanta Regional Commission.

“In the 21st century, cities and metropolitan areas will be the engines of national economies and the hubs of global trade,” Katz said. “The inevitable result: national trade policies will become increasingly locally focused and local economic development will increasingly drive national policies and engage global partners.”

The purpose of the Global Cities Initiative forums is to translate the two-day meetings into “actionable” plans and programs. For example, last year’s forums helped inspire three different communities to develop metropolitan export plans.

Balos said JP Morgan Chase embraced partnering with Brookings because it wanted to differentiate itself in the market by helping customers and clients become more involved internationally and increase their exports.

Coke, Muhtar Kent honored

The Coca-Cola Co. and its CEO, Muhtar Kent, received the 2012 National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee at an elegant dinner at the St. Regis Hotel on Oct. 29.
In his acceptance speech, Kent thanked the audience members for “making a difference on behalf of Jewish people and others” around the world.

In a similar way, Kent said Coca-Cola also is trying to make a lasting, positive difference in the communities where it does business. “It’s not selfless humanitarianism, either,” Kent said. “It’s good business because we know our business can only be as strong and sustainable as the communities we serve.”

Kent described the company’s initiatives to improve access to clean, safe drinking water, to perfect a plastic bottle that is made from plants rather than petroleum, to move medicine that “critical last mile” in Africa; to encourage people going outside and embracing active, healthy living; and to enable the economic empowerment of 5 million women entrepreneurs by 2020.

“Yes, Coca-Cola is doing all these things and more,” Kent said. “Why? Because it’s the right thing to do. It’s good for business. And we feel we can do no less.”

ARCS awards Nov. 14

For 20 years, the Atlanta chapter of the ARCS Foundation — a group of dedicated women — has been giving away college scholarships to students who are dedicated to completing degrees in science, engineering and medical research. ARCS stands for Achievement Rewards for College Scientists.

In 1992, ARCS Atlanta was able to support three scholars with financial rewards totaling $15,000. In 2012, ARCS Atlanta will be supporting 40 scholars with grants totaling $285,000 — the most given away in its history.

The awards will be given at ARCS annual luncheon on Wednesday, Nov. 14, at The Ritz-Carlton in downtown Atlanta. Daniel Barrow, chairman of the Department of Neurosurgery at Emory University Hospital, will be the keynote speaker.

Georgia Tech campaign

For the second year in a row, Georgia Tech has had its second-best fundraising year.

Georgia Tech raised $118.1 million for the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2011; and it raised $118.4 million for its fiscal year ending this past June.

That only includes gifts that the university has received; it does not include pledges that were made in that year.

For the record, 2007 was the year where it received the most gifts — a little more than $119 million.

“Despite the uncertainty of the financial markets regionally, nationally and internationally, philanthropy to the Institute continues strong across all constituencies,” said Barrett Carson, Georgia Tech’s vice president of development. “And the Institute’s strategic plan provides the roadmap.”

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