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 BRIDGE BUILDERS TO ASSUME RESPONSIBILITY FOR CITY’S DIVERSITY EVENTS 

 Non-profit group will combine the Mayor’s Unity Dinner with Bridge Builders' Gala for Excellence in Community Service 

3/24/2010 | Contact: Contact: Sarah Erkmann (907) 343-7103
Mayor's Office

ANCHORAGE - Mayor Dan Sullivan announced today that Bridge Builders, the organization created by Mayor Rick Mystrom in 1996 to promote harmony and respect among all cultures, will assume responsibility for planning and promoting the City’s diversity events.

“I can’t think of a group better suited than Bridge Builders to spread the word about Anchorage’s diverse cultures,” said Mayor Sullivan. “They have a wealth of experience and expertise available to encourage participation in a wide array of great events throughout the year.”

“We are very pleased with all aspects of this partnership,” said Bridge Builders President Elsa Sargento. “Bridge Builders was started in City Hall and having the mayor committed to these values has a very positive impact on our community.”

The offer made to Bridge Builders, which was approved unanimously by its 16-member Board of Directors, contained the following items:

  • The mayor will support and encourage the Anchorage community to participate in the Bridge Builders annual signature events, including: the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration in Jan.; “Meet the World in Anchorage” in Feb.; the Annual July 4th Celebration; and the Bridge Builders International Potluck in Nov.
  • The Mayor’s Unity Dinner will be combined with the Annual Bridge Builders Gala for Excellence in Community Service in late summer/early fall. To launch this partnership, the Mayor’s Office will provide $19,000, the approximate sum remaining from proceeds raised by the 2009 Unity Dinner.

The City’s Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) previously managed many of the City’s diversity events. With Bridge Builders taking the lead, the OEO is better positioned to focus on its core functions:

  • Investigate employer/employee discrimination complaints.
  • Ensure that companies that do business with the Municipality of Anchorage follow contract compliance regulations.
  • Ensure that Minority, Disadvantaged and/or Woman-Owned Businesses have equal opportunity.
  • Ensure Non-Discrimination in federally assisted projects.

“The work we do at the OEO is critically important in ensuring that the City meets and adheres to federal laws and regulations pertaining to equal opportunity,” said Marilyn Stewart-Richardson, Director of the Office of Equal Opportunity. “We’re also tasked with investigating charges of discrimination. It’s a big, important job, which is why I’m pleased to have a group as well-respected as Bridge Builders assume the diversity events. Our community’s diversity is an asset worth celebrating, and I’m confident Bridge Builders will do an outstanding job.”

More information about Bridge Builders can be found at: http://www.bridgebuildersak.org/.

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