To address the city’s violent crime problem, the Birmingham City Council unanimously approved a consulting agreement with the Aspen Institute, an international non-profit funded largely by Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The council voted in favor of the agreement with the Aspen Institute in their meeting on Tuesday and will now pay $275,000 for the non-profit to compile criminal justice-related statistics from neighborhoods in Birmingham and Jefferson County. This will include data such as arrests, inmate releases, emergency room admissions, traffic violations, probation, income, race, ethnicity and even discipline issues in public schools.

“It will be the most comprehensive data set down to the neighborhood level than any other initiative in the country, “said Aspen Institute’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative Direct Douglas Wood. 

Wood said the data would be completely transparent, and everyone would have access to it. 

The Aspen Institute has been accused of supporting left-wing policies though it claims to be non-partisan and non-ideological.

In 2019, The Economist called it “the mountain retreat for the liberal elite.” 

In 2021, the Aspen Institute created a Commission on Information Disorder. Former top Twitter official Yoel Roth, who was influential in censoring the Hunter Biden laptop story shortly before the 2020 election, served on the commission.  

According to, people associated with the Aspen Institute donated almost exclusively to Democrats in the 2022 election cycle, including U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Georgia). In 2020, President Joe Biden was the largest recipient of Aspen-affiliated donations, followed by the DNC Services Corp and current U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, an establishment liberal who lost the race for the Democratic presidential nomination that year. 

Along with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Aspen Institute has received funding from foundations, corporations and government entities such as Bloomberg Philanthropies, Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase Foundation, Google, Amazon, Pfizer, Raytheon and possibly even the United Arab Emirates

In 2022, Birmingham experienced its deadliest year since the early 1990s, with at least 144 homicides. Birmingham homicides have been on the rise since 2018. In 2020, there were 122 homicides, followed by 132 in 2021. Several of the victims in 2022 were children.

The Jefferson County Commission already discussed working with the Aspen Institute in November when it considered a crime prevention plan that would cost the county $3.2 million over four years. However, the plan hasn’t been brought up to vote by the council.

Jefferson County Commissioner Jimmy Stephens told 1819 News on Tuesday the council could consider the plan in the coming weeks.

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