Mayor Nir Barkat with his bodyguard..
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
Aided by philanthropists and numerous foundations, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat helped raise NIS 240 million in 2014 for the city’s coffers to fund a series of initiatives to improve the capital’s infrastructure, the municipality announced on Sunday.
The funds, which will buttress the municipality’s NIS 6.7 billion annual budget, will go toward investments in urban renewal, culture, education, social services, affordable housing, sporting events, and business development, the mayor said.
Noting that the city’s annual budget falls short of addressing all the capital’s needs, Barkat emphasized the importance of outside fund-raising.
“It is clear to all that the municipal budget does not allow for Jerusalem to return to where it deserves to be,” he said. “Thankfully, contributors and investors can see what’s going on in recent years in Jerusalem and believe in the direction we are leading the development of the city.”
During his first term as mayor, Barkat initiated a department, in coordination with the Jerusalem Foundation, to identify developmental projects and solicit funding that matches with the interests of prospective international donors.
The department went on to raise more than NIS 5b. during its first five years, the mayor said, of which NIS 206 million has been spent on education; NIS 197m. on culture; NIS 20m. on community development; NIS 11 m. on entrepreneurship; NIS 9 m. on residential development; and NIS 7m. on youth centers. The additional NIS 240m. will be spent on similar endeavors, Barkat said.
In a statement, he applauded the many donors who contributed to the city’s ongoing development.
“We were able to translate the love of Jerusalem worldwide into contributions of hundreds of millions of shekels for the city,” said Barkat. “It is a vote of confidence in the direction we are leading to Jerusalem.”
According to the municipality, Barkat worked in coordination with The Jerusalem Foundation, the Friendship Fund, the Schusterman Foundation, and the Leichtag Foundation, as well as philanthropists from around the world.