Brett Smiley today unveiled the second piece of his economic development plan: his proposal to create an Office of Strategic Partnerships in Providence in order to create and promote public-private partnerships between the city, private foundations and the vibrant non-profit sector. This approach has been employed in both Denver and Los Angeles to find additional resources and to better coordinate efforts to solve important urban problems.
Brett Smiley said, «Providence faces big challenges, and with little left to cut and nothing left to tax, we must work hard to forge the kind of partnerships with the private and non-profit sectors that bring in more federal, state, corporate and private foundation grants into our city. That will be job one for the Office of Strategic Partnerships.»
Smiley cited the Downtown Providence Parks Conservancy’s plan to revitalize Kennedy Plaza as a great example of the type of public-private partnership that will be facilitated by the OSP.
The office will serve as a bridge between the public and private sectors by proactively seeking opportunities for collaboration on a citywide level. An Advisory Board with representation from community-based non-profits, foundations, and the business community will be formed to provide feedback and guidance on the work of the OSP.
Smiley added, «The limited fundraising work currently being done by a small number of government agencies isn’t providing us with the resources we need, and by consolidating these efforts under the purview of a single office we can more efficiently and effectively bring in new funds to our city.»
Smiley noted that he will seek an individual with experience in both local government and private foundation work to head the office. He will also draw on the best practices and lessons learned from municipal, state, and federal jurisdictions where this approach has been adopted.
This is the second component of Brett Smiley’s economic development plan. Last week, he proposed reforming the structure of the Providence Economic Development Partnership (PEDP) by moving its revolving loan functions into a new, independent program.
Brett Smiley is running for Mayor of Providence in the September 2014 Democratic primary.