New York – June 17, 2016 – The following statement was issued by John F. Calvelli, Executive Vice President of Public Affairs at WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society):

“Today, New York City’s cultural organizations are singing, dancing, and leaping with joy over the news that Mayor de Blasio increased operating support of the city’s cultural organizations by $10 million.  This is the first increase to operating support in a decade and it shows the City’s commitment to supporting culture – the lifeblood of this great city. We express our sincere thanks to the mayor for support cultural organizations and all they do to benefit New Yorkers.

"We are also delighted to learn that the budget includes major increases to City Council initiative including the Cultural After School Adventure Program (CASA), the Cultural Immigrant Initiative, and SU-CASA, which brings artists to senior centers throughout the city. We are deeply grateful to Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Majority Leader Van Bramer, Minority Leader Steven Matteo, Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, and the entire New York City Council for scoring this major victory on behalf of culture.”

“All told, this is a nearly $17 million increase in operating support for culture in New York City.

“I am extremely proud of the The NYC Inspires (#NYCInspires) campaign which highlighted cultural organizations of all kinds across the city and showed how they have inspired their audiences. It told the stories of individuals that were so inspired by culture as children that they have devoted their lives and careers to pursue a life that reflects those beginnings – bettering the city, their communities, and future generations of artists, musicians, performers, educators, curators, conservationists, scientists, and more.”

“With this increase, New York City culture will continue to inspire the world for many years to come.”