FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 6, 2009
MAYOR BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES NEW INITIATIVES TO HELP NEW YORK CITY NONPROFITS COPE WITH CASH CRUNCH AS A RESULT OF THE ECONOMIC DOWNTURN
Steps Will Reduce Organizations’ Fixed Costs, Improve City’s Contract Procedures and Build New Partnerships to Help Strengthen Nonprofits
Assistance Will Support More than 40,000 Nonprofit Organizations and their 490,000 Employees
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today outlined new initiatives to help New York City’s more than 40,000 cultural, health and social service nonprofit organizations survive the economic downturn. A growing number of nonprofit organizations in New York City – which collectively employ more than 490,000 New Yorkers or 15 percent of the City’s non-government workforce – are experiencing an increase in demand for services while facing major cash flow problems and steep declines in operating support. To address these challenges, the City seeks to reduce nonprofit organizations’ fixed costs, expand loan programs, enhance the responsiveness and efficiency of City contracting procedures to speed payments, and build new partnerships to help foster stronger nonprofits. The Mayor announced the initiatives at a public forum of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. Also attending the forum were First Deputy Mayor Patricia E. Harris, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Cultural Affairs Commissioner Kate D. Levin, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky, Information Technology and Telecommunications Commissioner Paul Cosgrave, Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Administration for Children’s Services Commissioner John B. Mattingly, Homeless Services Commissioner Robert V. Hess, Youth and Community Development Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav, Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar, NYU President John Sexton and NYU Wagner Dean Ellen Schall.
“Almost half a million New Yorkers who make up our nonprofit workforce contribute profoundly to the heartbeat of our city by helping residents across the five boroughs – particularly during these trying times,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Whether by training people for jobs, providing access to arts and culture or building affordable housing, the nonprofit sector is a vital part of the City and our economy. As nonprofits face increasing challenges due to the economic downturn, it’s critical that the City take concrete steps to strengthen the sector and help it thrive.”
“Mayor Bloomberg has shown unprecedented acknowledgement and support of the vital role that the nonprofit sector plays in New York City,” said Dean Schall. “As the dean of the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, I applaud the Mayor for focusing needed attention on the critical needs of nonprofits, which have been particularly hard hit by current economic conditions. Streamlining the process for nonprofits to contract with the city strengthens the bottom line. Just as important is the Mayor’s call for increased collaboration and partnership. NYU Wagner, through its faculty, students, and alumni, is proud to partner with the city in its efforts to maximize the positive impact of the city’s nonprofit sector.”
“It is an honor to work with Mayor Bloomberg and an Administration that so clearly values the contribution of the nonprofit human services sector,” said Human Services Council Executive Director Michael Stoller. “From the cost-of-living adjustments instituted early in the Mayor’s first term, to the unprecedented public-nonprofit partnership led by the Deputy Mayor and the Human Services Council dedicated to innovation in service delivery and fundamental improvements in the contracting process, Mayor Bloomberg has shown a deep understanding of our work and a commitment to the people we serve.”
“During these challenging times, it is invaluable to have a Mayor that recognizes the nuts-and-bolts of what it takes to run a nonprofit organization, as well as our sector’s impact across every neighborhood in this City,” said Alliance for the Arts President Randall Bourscheidt. “From increased access to Department of Cultural Affairs funding through today’s announced initiatives, the cultural community has been strengthened enormously by this administration’s thoughtful engagement.”
The initiatives are:
Helping to Reduce Nonprofit Organizations’ Fixed Costs
Improving the City’s Contracting Procedures to Help Nonprofits to Work with City Agencies
Over the past seven years, the City has negotiated two much-needed cost of living raises for workers in human services agencies through productivity and administrative reform savings, and streamlined contracting rules so that it is easier for nonprofits to do business with City agencies. Building on that success, the City will implement new actions to improve processes further.
Providing Dedicated Support to Strengthen Nonprofit Management
Since 2002 the City of New York has dramatically reformed the way it works with the more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations that hold City contracts. In 2007, the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services created the Capacity Building and Oversight Unit to assist nonprofit organizations who provide services to New Yorkers through contracts with the City. The City instituted more accountability then ever before by sharing comprehensive annual human services plans, publishing Concept Reports before all major request for proposal (RFP) processes – to allow vendors to comment before RFPs go out – and by making all RFPs available online and easily downloadable.
In 2006, the City created a nonprofit assistance desk at the Economic Development Corporation specifically to assist nonprofits. Since then EDC has assisted nearly 1,000 organizations. EDC has also assembled $2.6 billion in tax credits and other benefits to help nonprofits in all five boroughs, creating and sustaining almost 50,000 nonprofit jobs.
Since November of 2007, the City has added more than 2,500 nonprofit services to the 311 referral system, which now has a team of 50 specially-trained operators dedicated to helping callers with social service-related needs around the clock. The 311 Call Center is now the nation’s largest social service information and referral call center.
In 2008, the Department of Cultural Affairs instituted an open, competitive process for all eligible applicants to the Cultural Development Fund, with a goal of expanding access to funds, ensuring equity in funding allocations, and improving accountability for taxpayer dollars. For Fiscal 2010, Cultural Affairs has expanded on these improvements to bring its paper-based applications online, helping to streamline the process for the more than 1,000 nonprofits that apply for funding each year, and to speed oversight and fiscal procedures. The agency has also implemented a new Cultural Capital Grant procurement process that will dramatically reduce paperwork for nonprofits, and allow the City to accelerate funding processes for many projects by 50 percent.
Stu Loeser/Andrew Brent/Kathleen Carlson (212) 788-2958
Kate de Rosset (Cultural Affairs)
Robert Polner (NYU) (212) 998-2337
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