NYAPRS Note: Advocates for New York’s nonprofit workforce gathered in Albany to call on the state to increase funding to hard pressed agencies and employees. Stay tuned for what you can do to support the efforts of the 270 member “Restore Opportunity Now” campaign, of which NYAPRS is a member!
Human Services Activists Push for Increased Funding For Nonprofits
Politico December 8, 2016
ALBANY — A handful of Democratic Assembly members joined dozens of activists at the Capitol on Thursday to call for improving funding for human services nonprofits.
Ronald Deutsch, executive director of the Fiscal Policy Institute, said that after years of belt tightening in the wake of the recession, many nonprofits are at risk of insolvency or drastically cutting services without increased funding.
“We’re at a tipping point right now and we’ve seen first hand the struggles that many groups are facing,” he said.
A coalition of more than 270 nonprofit health and human services organizations launched a campaign called Restore Opportunity Now in order to push for increased state money to these groups.
Glenn Liebman, chief executive of the Mental Health Association in New York State, said increased money is essential preventing burnout among employees.
“We’re all mission driven, we all truly believe in the mission, but people have loans to pay, need to live and eat and make a substantive living,” Liebman said.
Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, said one of the campaign’s specific goals is for state contracts with the nonprofits to include provisions that help pay for the state’s newly increased minimum wage.
“It needs to be funded in our contracts, otherwise it’s just another budget hole for us,” she said.
Democratic Assembly members Phil Steck, John McDonald and Patricia Fahy spoke in support of Restore Opportunity Now.
What has not followed completely are the financial resources to invest in the human capital,” McDonald, who also works as a pharmacist in Cohoes. “We talk about the physical capital at the end of the day this is human services, it involves human beings working and caring for each other.”
The Assembly members said that the upcoming budget is likely to be tight, but that it is critical to fund these services.
Deutsch said the group does not yet have a specific dollar amount that it would like to see invested into human services nonprofits, but said they are hoping to realign government priorities in their favor.
“There is a real misalignment between the way we’re paid through our government contracts, and what we have to do on the front lines,” said Allison Sesso, executive director of the Human Services Council, which is one of the leaders of the effort.
“There is an expectation that we are coming to government with a basket full of goods that we just don’t have.”
“We’re dealing with human beings,” said Scott McDonald, who represented Urban Pathways, an organization that connects homeless New Yorkers with social services.
“[We’re] not dealing with statistics, not dealing with reports, we’re dealing with human beings.”
On December 8th, with your support, 270 coalition members launched Restore Opportunity Now, a campaign to advocate for key investments in the human services sector, along with the release of the campaign’s Voices of New York’s Human Services Sector report.
At ourpress conferencein the New York State Capital Building, we were joined by more than 50 of our nonprofits partners, legislative staff, and Assemblymembers Fahy, McDonald and Steck. Each speaker addressed the essential role the human services sector plays in our communities and spoke to the need for the Governor and Legislature to demonstrate progressive leadership through an investment that strengthens the sector.
Following the press conference, participants worked together to drop campaign materials and copies of the report in all legislative offices. We also collected stories from clients, workers, and nonprofit leadership to demonstrate the importance of restoring opportunity through human services investment. It’s not too late—submit your stories in writing or on video! (Template here.)
Thank you again for all your support and work in developing and launching this important campaign!
Senior Policy Analyst, FPWA