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Columbia’s mayor helps arrange $5k private donation for anti-gun violence nonprofit amid city action

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Published: May. 18, 2022 at 7:17 AM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2022 at 7:18 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Columbia Mayor Daniel Rickenmann moved thousands of dollars to combat gun violence earlier this month, but they weren’t tax dollars.

Rickenmann confirmed to WIS on Monday he helped arrange a $5,000 donation from the New Direction Foundation to Building Better Communities (BBC) for its ambassador program.

Rickenmann said he is an ex-officio member of the foundation’s board, and S.C. Secretary of State documents from Dec. 2021 show him as the foundation’s director.

The check is dated May 11.

BBC’s ambassador program helps provide at-risk children in the Columbia community skills and mentors to remove them from situations where gun violence could be an issue.

BBC Founder Perry Bradley held a news conference about the initiative in March with Rickenmann by his side.

Perry said Rickenmann “put his money where his mouth is.”

“He is ready for action and change,” Bradley said.

Rickenmann said donation is part of establishing a “pilot” to see what works.

“Let’s figure out is this something that can be an opportunity to invest more in,” he said.

The mayor said he is looking to combat gun violence through collaboration with city government and community leaders.

In pursuit of that goal, he said the city will be announcing an Office of Gun Violence Prevention in the coming weeks, with the hopes it will be funded by July 1.

Rickenmann said it will operate out of the mayor’s office, but utilize city and 3rd party funds so grant money not available to the city can be accessed.

He described it as a “committee” which will help determine where future public funds are spent on the issue.

“One of the things that we want to make sure is we invest in programs that there goals and achievable goals that can be measured, because we got to hold each other accountable. There’s good intentions, but at the same time we’ve got to have outcomes,” he said.

He said those metrics will largely be based on gun violence statistics.

Bradley was confident in the ambassador program.

“The community has embraced it and we’ve gotten so many different calls to do so many different things and sticking to what we’ve said the ambassador program is going to be, we’ve been able to increase our numbers from 12 to now 30.”

The Columbia Police Department reports so far in 2022, there have been four fatal shootings. Two have resulted in arrests.

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