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Issue N°1 April 13th, 2015







Read more page 14






High Profile New Yorkers Defend Former Met Council Head To AG By WAY NE BARRETT







anaging money is one of the

most challenging tasks that nonprofits face. The job can be made much easier by partnering with a bank that properly serves the organization’s needs. Banks differ considerably in terms of fees, interest rates and services. Larger commercial banks may not provide the same level of attention and support as community banks, while small local banks may not offer the cost savings or range of services that larger banks often provide. Read more page 4


t started 127 years ago when the

Daughters of Charity, an order of Roman Catholic nuns, purchased the Schuyler Mansion in Albany to create an orphanage for sick children. St. Catherine’s Center for Children evolved and now operates a child welfare program that includes a 25-bed group residence, a group home for eight additional children and a therapeutic foster boarding

home program that provides care for 50 children. It has a series of prevention programs in Albany County and operates an “853” school for children with special needs. About half of the 68 students come from St. Catherine’s group programs and the rest are referred from school districts in the Capital Region and beyond. However, St. Catherine’s evolution did not stop there. Read more page 9




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April 2015


APRIL 2015


4. Business of Your Nonprofit 5. Grant Tips 6. Building Your Brand: Communication and Advocacy


8. Frontline Hero: Bernice Alexander 9. Agency of the Month: St. Catherine’s Center for Children 11. CEO Corner: Phoebe Boyer, Children’s Aid Society




12. Honoring Five Nonprofit Leaders 14. Costly Childcare Prompts Kin Care 15. Private-Nonprofit Partnerships 16. Letters for Rapfogel 18. Budget Breakdown 20. Three Nonprofits Breaking the Mold 15. Caring for Our Children 21. Autism Awareness Month 22. AIDS-Free New York Within Reach

23. Filling the Gap 24. Sharing the Burden

PLEASED TO BE HERE New York has one of the highest concentrations of nonprofit organizations in the country and our government often relies on nonprofits to fill gaps in services. This partnership between government and the nonprofit community inspired the partnership between City & State magazine - the only media outlet in New York dedicated to covering government and politics - and New York Nonprofit Press. This new partnership between the two outlets will better inform both sets of readers while still maintaining the highly-targeted coverage of the nonprofit and human services world you expect - adding mix of in-depth investigative reporting, lighter editorial features, lists, profiles and more! Under the leadership of founder and editor Fred Scaglione, New York Nonprofit Press built a strong reputation that City & State is honored to inherit, and build upon. That’s why we’d like to explain the changes and encourage you to reach out with any questions or feedback. Starting with the new name: NYN Media. New York Nonprofit Media is dedicated to continuing the targeted human service nonprofit coverage Fred Scaglione spearheaded alongside former publisher Robby Long. We have also challenged ourselves to expand the scope of nonprofit coverage, which will be comprised of four distinct divisions: NYN Review, the monthly print publication; NYN Digital, the website and daily e-newsletter; NYN Careers, the job listing service; and NYN Events, a new statewide nonprofit networking and issue event division. Under the direction of City & State Creative Director Guillaume Federighi, we will feature a new look for each platform to better serve our readers, starting with the publication you are reading right now. We also encourage you to get to know the new team. You can contact NYN Publisher Lissa Blake or to learn about partnership opportunities and more about the exciting changes ahead, or simply to introduce yourself and offer feedback. Samantha Diliberti will serve as managing editor overseeing the editorial quality and content. City & State CEO Tom Allon and Group Publisher Andrew Holt will also oversee both City & State magazine and New York Nonprofit Media. Finally, we would like to thank the many people who helped make this transition and relaunch possible. Thank you to Fred Scaglione for building such a strong and reliable news firm, and also for working so closely with us over the past few months. Thank you to the New York Nonprofit Press team for your hard work, and a big thank you to all on City & State who worked long hours to get everything right. Perhaps most importantly, a thank you to you - our readers – for your loyal readership and for all you do to serve New York. We are so pleased to be part of New York’s nonprofit community and hope to serve you well. Sincerely, Tom and Lissa Tom Allon, CEO Lissa Blake, Publisher


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Issue N°1


expenses. Once the activity level of the organization’s financial transactions has been analyzed, the nonprofit can put together a request for proposal (RFP) spelling out its needs; this will be sent to candidate banks during the selection process.





anaging money is one of the most challenging tasks that nonprofits face. The job can be made much easier by partnering with a bank that properly serves the organization’s needs. Banks differ considerably in terms of fees, interest rates and services. Larger commercial banks may not provide the same level of attention and support as community banks, while small local banks may not offer the cost savings or range of services that larger banks often provide. KNOW THE FINANCES Before a nonprofit can determine

which bank best fits its needs, a number of key questions must be asked: • How many deposits are made during an average month? • How many checks are written in a typical month? • Does transaction activity shift seasonally with months of very frequent or very infrequent deposits or withdrawals? • What is the average monthly account balance? Most banks set minimum balance requirements for accounts, and those requirements vary widely. If account balances fall below required levels, the bank may impose additional charges on those accounts, raising the nonprofit’s

SHOP AROUND A nonprofit can often identify potential banking partners simply by asking its peers. Working from a list of at least three candidate banks is a good start. “Most nonprofits use recommendations from other similar nonprofits and then send out RFPs,” says Nancy G. Wallace, a CPA who provides finance and accounting consulting to nonprofit organizations. “Reputation is huge,” Wallace explains. “I would say that if no other organization that the nonprofit knows uses a particular bank, that would be a red flag.” The geographic scope of a nonprofit’s activities is also a determining factor. “If the nonprofit is regional or national, they will need a regional or national bank,” Wallace notes. “Same with international. But if they are local, then a local bank would work fine.” Community banks may also be willing to partner with local nonprofits for special programs and events. In response to a nonprofit’s RFP, interested banks will usually prepare a detailed breakdown of the accounts most appropriate for the nonprofit’s financial profile and the fees and terms associated with them. There may be room for negotiation. For instance, some banks will waive minimum balance requirements on nonprofit

accounts, potentially avoiding additional costly penalties. Meeting with bank officials during the selection process is important, says Molly Vanderloo, president of Vanderloo Financial Services, which consults with nonprofits. A face-to-face meeting allows the nonprofit to more accurately assess the bank’s willingness to service the account and potentially negotiate better terms. SERVICES THAT COUNT Most banks offer basic electronic services like online viewing of account activity, which can be crucial in protecting against fraud. Many popular payroll and accounting software packages—including Quickbooks, Sage 50 and Centerpoint Payroll—can be linked to bank accounts to print vendor checks, make direct deposits and compile transaction reports. Positive Pay is another service that can help nonprofits guard against theft. Under Positive Pay, every time a check is issued by an account holder, the check number, account number and amount is electronically communicated to the bank. If the bank receives a check that hasn’t been included in Positive Pay data, it will hold the check for the account holder to review. “I’ve had more than a few nonprofit clients over the years who had someone obtain one of their checks and create copies that looked enough like their real checks that they cleared their accounts,” warns Vanderloo. Some banks offer remote deposit capture, a service that allows a nonprofit to scan checks for electronic deposit from any location that has an Internet con-

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April 2015

Issue N°1


etting a foundation grant has always been a competitive endeavor. What would make a program officer pick up your grant proposal amid the huge stack on her desk? Better yet, what would motivate the foundation to fund your cause? To make your proposal stand out from the crowd, be sure it embodies the “Five Cs”:


CONVENIENCE MATTERS Services and fees aren’t the only things a nonprofit should consider when choosing a bank. For example, does the bank have branches close to the nonprofit’s office? Is it open at convenient times and days? Can nonprofit officials speak with a bank manager in a timely manner? Is the bank willing to provide a dedicated account representative who understands the nonprofit’s needs? “A banker should be checking in with a client organization at least once a year,” Vanderloo says. “If you don’t get that once-a-year call, that’s a sign that the bank isn’t paying enough attention to the account.”


nection. This added convenience makes it easier to deposit checks and accelerates the speed with which those funds become available. Night drops are a valuable service for nonprofits that conduct fundraising events that generate cash proceeds after normal banking hours. Night drops allow the nonprofit to reduce the risk of keeping large amounts of cash overnight in an office or with personnel. When considering this service, it is also helpful to evaluate the location of the bank branch where the night drops will be made. Is the branch located in a safe area? Is it well lit at night? “At least once a year, a nonprofit should request that its bank send it a copy of the list of signers for each of the organization’s accounts,” notes Vanderloo. “Banks sometimes forget to remove signers from accounts even after they have been notified to do so.”



1 2 3

Clear: Your narrative must be a comprehensible and logical read. Start with an outline to organize your ideas. Wordsmith until not one superfluous statement remains.

entire proposal? Be sure your title answers the question, “What is the intended impact?” Conclude with an inspiring story that touches the reader’s heartstrings.


Credible: Drive home the strength of your organization and its commitment to see the project succeed. Build trust through your organization’s history, leadership and track record of accomplishments.


Concise: Your executive summary must summarize your entire proposal, yet encourage the reader to continue for more details.

Collaborative: Describe your network of allies and collaborators that will serve to support successful outcomes. Securing a foundation grant can be a long, complex process, but you can gain a competitive edge by following the “Five Cs” in your proposal.

Compelling: What if your project title is your one and only chance to persuade someone to read your

Luz M. Rodriguez is a training specialist at the Foundation Center.

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Joan McDonald, NYS Department of Transportation


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Issue N°1




COMMUNICATE YOUR MISSION Effectively brand your organization to engage donors, volunteers and the media. By JEFF STEIN


rafting an effective and impactful brand has never been more important for nonprofit organizations. In an increasingly globalized world, getting your nonprofit noticed by donors, volunteers and media heavily relies on the ability to effectively brand your nonprofit, engage your community digitally, and relate your story to the masses through media outlets. On March 18, New York Community Trust hosted its workshop “Pathways to Excellence: Excellence in Communications” to discuss best practices for nonprofit communications and branding.

New York Cares iconic coat drive image

THE ART OF REBRANDING Panelists agreed that sometimes an organization’s brand must be completely reworked to best convey its mission. Ken Small, development director of Bronx-


Works, discussed the organization’s successful rebranding from Citizens Advice Bureau to BronxWorks in 2009. “The name didn’t help us tell our story,” Small explained, and it often prompted more confusion than interest in the organization’s mission. So began a process of settling on a new brand with which potential donors and volunteers could more readily connect. After much deliberation, and the retention of a communications firm, the organization settled on BronxWorks, a name that captures the positive and community-specific spirit of the institution. “For those of us who have lived and worked in the Bronx,” explained Small, “it has been a generational struggle to overcome negative associations with our community.” The results were swift and irrefutable. The institution’s Internet searchability skyrocketed and community engagement improved. Small highlighted this point by sharing an anecdote about a Fordham University student who Googled “Bronx nonprofits” and found BronxWorks within a couple of clicks, leading the student’s church group to host a holiday toy and clothing drive in partnership with BronxWorks. “That’s 18 bags of toys and clothes that never would have made it to children in need were it not for our rebranding,” said Small.

WEBSITE ENHANCEMENT EVENT PROMOTION MARKETING DEFINE YOUR BRAND In many ways, a pre-existing, recognizable brand can present its own host of challenges. Steve Streicher, director of communications for New York Cares, stressed the importance of building a well-defined brand to ensure the entirety of an organization’s work is communicated to the public. Streicher noted the 26-year-old New York Cares coat drive, which can be a double-edged sword for the organization because the mission of New York Cares is much larger than its annual drive. “[The coat drive is] a brand in and of itself, an image that really speaks to the goals and mission of the program,” he said of the drive’s iconic logo featuring a shivering Statue of Liberty. “But quite honestly,” he continued, “the coat drive is not what we do 365 days per year, and the challenge becomes getting


that larger message across.” To convey that message, New York Cares has instituted a well-orchestrated online presence, including a dramatic overhaul of its website. Streicher underscored the necessity of clarity in website design. New York Cares, like many volunteer-based nonprofits, hinges on its ability to engage an ever-growing pool of volunteers. To fulfill this need, New York Cares redesigned its website homepage to feature volunteer sign-up almost as prominently as the organization’s logo. “Hurricane Sandy really brought all of this into focus,” Streicher noted. “Everyone was off of their computers and needed to get information from our website on their phones. Designing the website with smartphones in mind was key.” Streicher also noted that social media sites should be used to engage the public, given their unique ability to cultivate an active online community and provide a forum for people who are invested in an issue and want to get involved. “Given that it is extremely difficult to redirect social media users to our website,” Streicher explained, “our focus with pages like Facebook and Twitter became engaging our community in conversation.” Additionally, nontraditional media sites which often gain traction on Facebook and Twitter can be extremely helpful in building an online brand. Taeko Frost, executive director of the Washington Heights CORNER Project, cited the unexpected success of a recent article about the organization on BuzzFeed, a popular online platform. “The article ended up getting over a million views and was one of the most read articles of the year for BuzzFeed,” Frost said, which dramatically increased traffic to the CORNER Project website. PUT YOUR BEST MESSAGE FORWARD A nonprofit organization’s passion for its work is rarely called into question, but unfortunately an abundance of passion doesn’t always translate into the most inclusive messaging. Frost explained that the CORNER Project had difficulty engaging a broad range of donors due to its unique harm-reduction mission, which offers services like providing clean syringes to drug addicts. “You can imagine that our work is not always the easiest pitch to big donors,” Frost said. But the problem, according to Frost, was not necessarily the lack of understanding with regards to the importance of the CORNER Project’s work. Rather, Frost said that their vehement, yet abrasive initial messaging was limiting the

April 2015


ers of the organization. “I had no idea that we would be able to tap into this community,” Frost said, but they have now become a cherished part of the organization’s base.

tential reach of the organization. “We really had to figure out how to tell our story to a broader audience,” Frost said. Part of that strategy became seizing upon relevant stories in news media, such as the overdose death of actor Philip Seymour Hoffman. “While incredibly tragic,” Frost said, “it really did become an opportunity for educating the public about what we do and why it’s important.” This more inclusive approach led the CORNER Project to connect with the families of overdose victims, some of whom have become continual support-

PITCH THE RIGHT STORY Placing stories in larger traditional media outlets like The New York Times or Washington Post can offer incredible exposure, but pitching your nonprofit so that it will rise to the top of the pile can seem like a gargantuan task. Streicher said that the most successful media pitches are often those that tie an organization to a topical discussion or debate. He urged nonprofit directors to look outward and find ways to connect their work to hot-button issues on both local and national levels. Small noted that BronxWorks has found media success in highlighting its clients, citing a New York Times feature of a swim team based at a BronxWorks-sponsored community center which led to donations from as far away as California. “The clients are the ones who have stories that resonate with the general public,” Small said. “They’re not going to cover your gala. They want a story that really shows that what you’re doing is touching lives in the community.”



A lot of folks tweeting on a subject can suddenly launch a revolution in parts of the world, but if you’re trying to change policy at the state and local level, it’s about more than just having a hashtag,” said Evan Stavisky, a partner at The Parkside Group, kicking off City & State’s “Art of Advocacy” event. In two panel discussions, leading media and nonprofit strategists then went on to explain exactly how, in a digital age, such advocacy campaigns play out. While in the past the media landscape was dominated by just a handful of outlets, Michael Woloz of Connelly, McLaughlin & Woloz, told the audience that advocacy campaigns are now more exciting. “There are so many interesting, creative ways,” he said, “to get your message out through third parties.” Just as the panelists agreed that social media has become essential to advocacy, they repeatedly stressed the importance of assembling the right team to manage it. “People can blast this stuff out ad nauseam,” Antonio Ortolani, director of Brunswick Group, said. “If you are going to say something, make sure it has impact.” While strategists will often analyze data to single out who the wielders of real influence are, Ortolani pointed out that sometimes the key is actually to zero in on that small fish whose ideas influence a big fish—and who, in many cases, is easier to reach. In that way it’s possible, he said, to get your “viewpoint rerouted through a third party.” In the event’s second panel, Power of Nonprofits, the emphasis shifted from the power of digital data to that of the human touch.

“I am more a believer in back to the basics, no-frills campaigns,” said Taryn Duffy, director of public affairs at Empire City Casino and principal at TSD Strategies. During her fifteen years working for lawmakers in Albany, Duffy observed that the most successful non-profit advocates were “very in tune with the decision-maker they were sitting in front of, and came up with ways to personalize [their pitch] and get them invested.” According to Duffy, they would ask: “How do you run that program in their district? How do you service the constituents for that elected?” Dr. William Weisberg, executive vice president and chief operating officer at the Children’s Aid Society, recalled early career setbacks in dealing with elected officials, when he would ask himself questions like: “How could they not support after-school [programs] for children?” As time passed, Weisberg came to understand the importance of establishing a feedback loop. It’s essential to ask, he said, “What is favorable for them? What support do they need?” According to Duffy, elected officials appreciate the role of non-profits, and genuinely want to help out, but she also conceded that no matter how brilliant your strategy, there is never a guarantee of success. “This is politics,” she said, “and unfortunately decisions are made as much on politics as they are on the merits of the issue—and it’s unfortunate, but it’s reality.”

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Issue N°1






hether assisting with day-today activities or serving as a confidant for clients, Bernice Alexander consistently goes above and beyond in her role with Job Path, a nonprofit that enables people with developmental disabilities to lead productive and fulfilled lives. Alexander has worked with Job Path for over a decade, providing support to her clients who have sought an alternative to the organization’s group home model. In her role as a direct support professional, Alexander interacts with clients on a daily basis, visiting their homes to provide practical assistance as well as emotional mentorship. “Bernice is always willing to share her experiences and is very sensitive to the needs of the people she supports, who all have their own interests, strengths and challenges,” said Maureen Martinez, co-director of supported living for Job Path.

Alexander’s strength stems from her exceptional ability to create a personal connection with her clients. One such special relationship is with Richard*, whom Alexander assists with financial planning and encourages to pursue his passion in Job Path’s Outside Voices Theater Group. Her perceptivity has also helped her form unique connections with clients who have difficulty communicating. For example, Alexander has become particularly adept at reading the body language of Nancy*, a nonverbal client. At times, Alexander translates Nancy’s needs for new Job Path staffers to ensure they provide the best possible care. Alexander also works closely with Terry* and Erin*. Terry has difficulty with transitions and will often challenge new staffers, while Erin is visually impaired and requires a unique routine. “[Alexander] helps [staffers] figure out

when Terry needs just a little space,” said Martinez. “For Erin, she makes sure new staffers know how to lay out her clothes so that Erin can dress herself.” Alexander takes the time to fully train new employees on how to best serve each client and assists in the transition process. “I consistently rely on Bernice to mentor new staff,” said Martinez. And yet Alexander says that she gains as much from working with her clients as they gain from her. “I learn something new from the people I support every day,” Alexander said. “Everything I experience makes me feel like it’s the first day with them.” Frontline Hero features a nonprofit staffer who works directly with an organization's constituency and goes above and beyond to serve people. *Names have been changed for privacy.

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April 2015




ST. CATHERINE’S CENTER FOR CHILDREN Building Today’s Innovative Services on 127 Years of Tradition By FRED SCAGLIONE


t started 127 years ago when the Daughters of Charity, an order of Roman Catholic nuns, purchased the Schuyler Mansion in Albany to create an orphanage for sick children. St. Catherine’s Center for Children evolved and now operates a child welfare program that includes a 25-bed group residence, a group home for eight additional children and a therapeutic foster boarding home program that provides care for 50 children. It has a series of prevention programs in Albany County and operates an “853” school for children with special needs. About half of the 68 students come from St. Catherine’s group programs and the rest are referred from school districts in the Capital Region and beyond. However, St. Catherine’s evolution did not stop there. “We are not just a child welfare agency,” emphasizes William T. Gettman Jr., who was named executive director in late 2011. “We are a multifaceted human services agency. We try to respond to the needs we see in the community. And we are very community-based. We believe that bricks and mortar don’t work long term for the children and families we serve.” For more than 15 years, St. Catherine’s has run homeless services programs. “We operate Albany County’s Marillac shelter for homeless families as well as community-based homeless prevention and supportive housing programs designed to stabilize families and help them stay in their own apartments,” says Gettman. Late last year, the state Department of Health named St. Catherine's the Capital Region recipient for the Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Health Home Pilot Project. This innovative program is designed to engage Medicaid recipients whose homelessness or lack of stable housing prevents them from effectively managing their health care conditions and makes them among the most expensive users of Medicaid because of

their high reliance on hospital emergency rooms. The award, one of only 10 across the entire state, not only recognized the quality of St. Catherine’s ability to reach out, engage and support the most vulnerable people in the community, but also placed the agency squarely at the center of the state’s effort to redesign its health care system—including the provision of community-based social services— based on managed care principles. RENEWAL When Gettman arrived in 2011, St. Catherine’s was facing a host of serious challenges. Some were purely financial, some were cultural. Agencies with more than a century of service history face the risk of getting set in their ways and have to work at building on their traditions rather than being constrained by them. St. Catherine’s, it seemed, had become removed from the surrounding community and found it difficult to try new ways of delivering services and engaging children and families.

“We were on the verge of a serious financial cliff,” says Gettman, who arrived after having served as executive deputy commissioner at the state Office of Children and Family Services. This sudden realization by both the board and staff helped him put together a recovery plan that included some strong medicine. “We restructured, did layoffs and furloughs; there were no raises for a year. We cut expenses and sold a couple of pieces of property to bring in some badly needed revenue.” Gettman and his leadership team went out and started talking to customers, finding out what was working and what wasn’t—and what kinds of services they needed but weren’t getting. St. Catherine’s began getting its kids out into the community. “Community activities are a good way to motivate kids,” says Gettman. “If the kids are busy and engaged and the staff are engaged, we are having a good day.”

The Capital District YMCA in East Greenbush began giving St. Catherine’s kids a seven-week program of swimming lessons. When Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy was looking to reactivate Lawson Lake as a community resource, St. Catherine’s was right at the head of the line, agreeing to send staff to supervise its children during a weeklong camping opportunity. “We took kids from our residential and community-based programs and our homeless shelter to camp,” says Gettman. “This is not the kind of opportunity they were able to get before.” The agency also opened up its programs so that the community could come in. “We tried to engage our donors and volunteers in a more active way,” says Gettman. St. Catherine’s began a “room makeover” program in which outside groups—scouts, church groups, etc.— could redecorate rooms in the community residence and group home based on themes that matched a child’s interests.





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Issue N°1


critical factor. “We tell the landlord that the family has a case manager and that if there are any problems, they only need to call us,” says Gettman. St. Catherine’s also provides community-based homelessness prevention services designed to keep families from losing the apartments they have. Once again, the supportive services help clients address a range of issues that may place their housing at risk.

There is a “SpongeBob” room, a sports room with autographed football jerseys, a very pink Cindrella Room, a NASCAR room, etc. Particularly interesting is St. Catherine’s Volunteer Reader program. “Every night, we have to put 25 kids, ages 6 to 12, to bed,” says Gettman. “It’s hard. They need a transition time.” In response, the agency began a program in which a dozen adult volunteers are trained to come in one night a week and read bedtime stories to the children. “We ask for an eightweek commitment,” says Gettman. “We think that this has improved behavior and helped the children. It certainly has helped our staff. We are arranging for Siena College to do a formal evaluation of the impacts.” The new outlook has helped St. Catherine’s financial situation, through a number of significant new contract awards, and improved the working environment for its staff. Last year, the agency was selected by the Albany Times Union as one of the top 25 places to work in the Capital Region. CHILD WELFARE St. Catherine’s has its roots in child welfare programming and it continues to offer a full continuum of services. Its in-home prevention programs help families avoid the removal and placement of children into care. At the other end, its 25-bed Community Residence offers intensive treatment for children facing severe behavioral health challenges. What makes St. Catherine’s relatively unusual, however, is its focus on younger children—even in its congregate programs. “We serve children aged 6 to 12,” says Gettman. “These are not the traditional children who have been placed in care because of parental neglect. These kids have experienced severe abuse—often sexual abuse—and are suffering from significant trauma.” Generally speaking, he explains, St. Catherine’s is a final opportunity for these children to find services close to home. “If we don’t take them, they are going out of state. These are just little kids; it tears your heart out.” In response, the agency has strengthened its clinical resources. Its 853 Special Education School also houses a licensed Day Treatment Clinic with a variety of on-staff therapists to assist children with mental and behavioral health problems. St. Catherine’s has also added new clinical supports, including sex abuse and trauma-informed therapists. Children typically stay with the agen-


SPREADING OUT In 2013, St. Catherine’s entered into an agreement with the Columbia County Department of Social Services to help homeless families find their way out of motels and support them in individual apartments. “Within seven months, we were able to get all of the homeless families out of the motels. Now we are talking to the county about expanding the program to work with single adults,” says Gettman. Now, the agency is in discussions with a number of other counties about the possibility of contracting to provide similar

cy’s Community Residence for a little less than a year, although some required more extended services. The goal is to step children down gradually from the community residence to an eight-bed group home, and then to a therapeutic foster boarding home with specially-trained foster parents and enhanced staff supports. For the past several years, St. Catherine’s has been running at close to its maximum capacity in most programs and is now looking to expand. “We would like to reopen a group home that we had closed about 10 years ago and utilize it as a short-term diagnostic program,” says Gettman. “Counties don’t really know what to do with many of the children they are sending us. No other foster care programs will accept them. This program would do a complete 6090-day assessment and provide them with specific treatment recommendations.” HOMELESS SERVICES St. Catherine’s began providing homeless services for Albany County in 1988 with the opening of its Marillac Homeless Shelter. Funding for the new shelter came through HELP, or Housing Enterprise for the Less Privileged, a program founded by Andrew Cuomo at a time when his father was governor. The shelter accommodates 24 families with swing units that can be adjusted to handle larger families. “The largest family I’ve seen here was one parent with 10 kids,” says David Healy, homeless manager. St. Catherine’s staff work to help families address a range of issues and then find a stable apartment of their own. “We have some HUD vouchers that we can use but it is also possible to find apartments in Albany that are affordable using their shelter component of the public assistance grant,” says Gettman. The agency’s role and relationships working with landlords can also be a


services for them. Similarly, St. Catherine’s offers other community-based services to individual counties on an as-needed basis. For example, Schoharie County Department of Social Services makes use of the agency’s supervised visitation programs. And St. Catherine’s will soon be opening satellite offices in both Hudson and Kingston to strengthen its service offerings in Columbia, Greene and other nearby counties. LOOKING AHEAD Going forward, St. Catherine’s plans to continue building on its core services— child welfare programming for younger children facing significant behavioral challenges, community-based programs, homelessness prevention services, and expanding opportunities in the new world of managed care. “We want to know what our customers—county governments, local school districts and state agencies—need and how we can work with them to meet those needs,” says Gettman.


t. Catherine’s selection by the state Office of Mental Health to operate the Capital Region’s Medicaid Redesign Team Supportive Housing Health Home Pilot—Project HOST—was a major win for the agency. Project HOST caseworkers will help identify eligible individuals, or those with multiple chronic health and/or behavioral health conditions which make them particularly costly users of Medicaid services through hospital emergency departments. “We identified an individual who had been in the Albany Medical Center ER 32 times since the beginning of the year,” says Gettman. “Our workers will engage this individual, stabilize him, and get him into an apartment. If we can reduce his use of the ER by only 50 percent, we will be saving an enormous amount on his health care costs—far more than the cost of our services.” Project Host will serve up to 50 individuals in Albany and Rennselaer counties. Project Host is not the only way in which St. Catherine’s has been testing

the managed care waters. “A lot of this is going to be building relationships and finding ways in which providers can meet each other’s needs,” says Gettman. “We reached out to the Whitney M. Young Health Center. They just got a new mobile health van and we have 100 children and adults in our homeless shelter. This helps us to get health care for our people and it helps them to get Medicaid eligible clients.” In another venture, Gettman identifies incoming homeless families that may be Capital District Physicians' Health Plan enrollees. “They reach out to engage them and in the process they are becoming more engaged with us.” Fidelis, another managed care organization, even sends its staff out with St. Catherine’s caseworkers to engage with families who are enrolled in the program who may be receiving in-home preventive services. “The real question is whether they will write contracts and pay us for these kinds of engagement services,” says Gettman. “I am cautiously optimistic.”

April 2015





ew York Nonprofit Media sat down with Phoebe Boyer, president and CEO of Children’s Aid Society, a 160-year-old organization that founded the first foster care and kindergarten programs in New York. Boyer offers her perspective on leadership and women in the workforce. The following interview has been edited for content and clarity.


NYN: YOU HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE ACROSS THE GOVERNMENT, NONPROFIT AND PRIVATE SECTORS. HOW ARE YOU APPLYING ALL OF THAT EXPERIENCE TO YOUR CURRENT POSITION? Boyer: I spent fifteen years investing in some of the best nonprofits across the city and in the country through the work of the Tiger and Robertson Foundations so I learned a lot about the field and best practices. One of the things that attracted me to Children’s Aid Society was that, in many ways, it has the full portfolio of things that I like working on in one place. But the nature of being in a foundation is that you are a little bit removed from the work, so now

I have the ability to have a little bit more influence on how we actually do our work. I now have a great deal of perspective of the rest of the different organizations in different fields. So while we do foster care, we’re also involved in education, we have job training programs, and because I’ve had this varied background, I can bring all of that expertise to this. NYN: HOW HAS ALL OF YOUR EXPERIENCE AFFECTED YOUR LEADERSHIP PHILOSOPHY? Boyer: From my perspective, I’ve always been a pretty open and direct manager. I have an incredibly talented team at Children’s Aid Society—it’s really about harnessing that talent and being open and direct. My approach is really about being a team player. I’m a part of the team, and I have the privilege of representing the organization. The foster care worker who’s up late at night with a kid in crisis is critically important to the work that we do. I get to talk about that but they get to do the actual work. So my job is enabling them to do their work in the best way possible.

NYN: YOU’RE THE FIRST FEMALE PRESIDENT AND CEO IN THE CHILDREN’S AID SOCIETY’S 160 YEAR HISTORY. COULD YOU SPEAK ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF HAVING WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP ROLES? Boyer: I think it means a tremendous amount. The majority of our staff at CAS are women. We work with a lot of single working moms. It means a different thing when I walk into a graduation of a parenting class and mothers are talking about their struggles. In that moment, it’s the first time that the CEO is a mom and can reflect on those experiences. So it’s a really important set of perspectives and understandings.

Each month, New York Nonprofit Media sits with a nonprofit leader to discuss his or her professional experience, lessons learned, perspectives on the industry and more. Be sure to visit www.NYNmedia to view the video interview. To recommend a candidate for CEO Corner, contact Jeff Stein at


Issue N°1





ach year, City & State NY, LLC, the parent company of New York Nonprofit Media, honors 25 women across industry sectors who exhibit exceptional leadership in their fields and have made important contributions to society at their annual Above & Beyond gala. Below are the five honorees of the nonprofit category. City & State was also pleased to donate $5,000 to Covenant House NYC, the nonprofit selected by the Above & Beyond Chairperson. Covenant House NYC provides care and services to homeless, abandoned, abused, trafficked and exploited youth.

Interview with Commissioner Julie Menin


RESHMA SAUJANI CEO and Founder Girls Who Code HARRIET MCDONALD Executive Vice President The Doe Fund

MARGARETTE PURVIS CEO Food Bank for New York City

McDonald grew up in Greenwich Village, but moved to Los Angeles to be an actress and screenwriter. Those writing skills certainly came in handy for grants and fundraising when she and her husband started the Doe Fund—a New York City nonprofit that provides paid transitional work, housing, education, counseling and career training for the homeless, formerly incarcerated and recovering substance abusers. Beginning at their kitchen table with no money, the Doe Fund has grown into a comprehensive program with an annual budget around $60 million.

Purvis oversees 178 staff members and thousands of volunteers that provide more than 63 million free meals each year to New Yorkers in need, while also providing services like free tax preparation that returns millions each year to the pockets of the most needy. Purvis has a hand in all parts of the Food Bank’s efforts, from organization to informing the public. She also serves as chair of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s New York State Anti-Hunger Task Force, where she is working to craft hunger relief policy for New York State.

C&S: WHAT KEEPS YOU MOTIVATED? HM: The people. I’ve been fortunate to know them, to see their potential. When we started and we said we were going to pay people to work, and it was the height of the crack epidemic, everybody said we were insane. Somehow the formerly incarcerated and the homeless have been infantilized. But these people are human beings, and they want to be independent.


C&S: AS A WOMAN, WHAT WAS THE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO SUCCESS IN YOUR FIELD? MP: To still see so many smart, funny charismatic women who doubt their voices. Doubt their voices as leaders, doubt the impact that they can and should have. I think it’s startling, especially when you come to a city like New York. Most people are not really seeing just how kick-ass they really are.

After years of fundraising and campaigning for Democrats, Saujani became the first South Asian woman to run for Congress in 2010. During the campaign, she noticed a lack of women in New York City’s burgeoning tech sector. In response, she founded Girls Who Code, a national nonprofit that teaches young women computing skills and inspires them to pursue careers in the tech industry. She advocated for women’s issues while running for public advocate of New York City in 2013 and penned a book titled “Women Who Don’t Wait in Line” to encapsulate her vision for a model of female leadership that embraces risk taking. C&S: WHAT IS THE ONE THING SOCIETY COULD DO TO MAKE IT EASIER FOR WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE? RS: Paid parental leave—I am a new mom. I’m on my fifth week, and it’s really hard. I feel so blessed that I have paid leave for three months. It’s completely unjust and unfair and wrong that we don’t offer paid leave to mothers and to parents. And we just don’t have workplace policies that are friendly to mothers and to parents at all.

CAROL CORDEN Executive Director New Destiny Housing Long before Corden joined New Destiny as its executive director she was fighting to provide housing for low-income residents and help communities with development in the private, public and nonprofit sectors. In her current job, Corden is working to end the cycle of violence and homelessness for many families who struggle to find affordable and permanent housing. The organization also focuses on helping many New Yorkers achieve economic independence as a way to avoid homelessness. C&S: HOW DOES GENDER PLAY INTO THE WORK THAT YOU DO? CC: We are dealing with women and children and they’re easier in many ways to push aside. We're seeing more and more families coming into the shelter system, and very frequently, domestic violence is the cause of that. One of our big challenges has been to get this population recognized as a really important segment of the homeless population, one that deserves to have both permanent housing and services that can help them sustain their housing and create a healthy, stable environment.

April 2015


Chairperson Award Winner Maggie Moran giving acceptance speech


I think that we have a whole group of women a decade or so older than I am who really broke barriers, and we have been continuing that struggle


City & State donates $5,000 to Covenant House NYC on behalf of Chairperson

ALISON OVERSETH Executive Director Partnership for After School Education As one nominee said, Overseth’s genuine care for people is just one of the qualities that makes her an incredible leader at the Partnership for After School Education. The organization delivers services to 1,600 after-school programs helping half a million youths in New York City—a monumental task that Overseth achieves by setting high expectations for her staff, mentoring them and stepping in to lend a helping hand as necessary. With an open-door policy and a constantly filled candy jar, she has been able to help PASE grow into the positive force it is today. C&S: AS YOU REFLECT ON YOUR CAREER, HAVE YOU SEEN A POSITIVE CULTURAL SHIFT IN REGARD TO HOW WOMEN ARE TREATED? AO: I think on the whole we are moving forward. I think that we have a whole group of women a decade or so older than I am who really broke barriers, and we have been continuing that struggle. We have some really dynamite women who are leading the way each in their own very individual ways, and we are getting away from a one-size-fits-all perception of leadership—I think that’s really important.

Presents a Nonprofit Seminar:

New York City: Global Leader in International Nongovernmental Organizations Thursday April 23, 2015 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Baruch College, Administrative Building, 3rd Floor, Room 301 135 East 22nd St. (Lexington & 3rd Ave.) New York, NY New York City is a world leader in finance, policy and the arts. A new report published by the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management indicates it is also a global leader in civil society through its thriving and diverse collection of international nongovernmental organizations (INGOs). This panel will discuss: •

What does the INGO Sector in NYC look like in size, focus, and mission?

What added advantage does headquartering an INGO in NYC offer an organization?

Network with over 100 leading nonprofit organizations in NYC

Attend one or two workshops led by experts in the nonprofit sector

MODERATOR: John Casey, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Baruch College, School of Public Affairs

SPEAKERS: Cristina Balboa, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Baruch College, School of Public Affairs Ellen Agler, CEO, The END Fund Jacques Sebisaho, Founder, Amani Global Works and New Voices Fellow, The Aspen Institute George Biddle, Executive Vice President, International Rescue Committee

RSVP: Email: Call: 646-660-6743 Admission is free, space is limited – RSVP Required

OUR MISSION The mission of the School of Public Affairs and its programs is to enhance the performance of governmental and nonprofit institutions in New York and the nation in the interest of effective and equitable public service and public policy in a diverse society. We place special emphasis on educating responsive and accountable leaders who combine managerial expertise, creative and critical thinking, and rigorous analysis in the formation and execution of public policy.


Issue N°1





ver the past year, advocates have hailed progress in providing quality child care in New York. Mayor Bill De Blasio’s universal prekindergarten initiative in New York City enrolled over 50,000 4-year-olds. Congress also passed the $5.2 billion Child Care and Development Block Grant Act setting down long-awaited reforms and infusing nearly $800 million—an increase of $55 million over the previous year—into New York State’s child care system. But now, child care advocates are busy shuttling between New York City and Albany to try and sort out how the new federal reforms will be implemented in the state. Most importantly, who will bear the costs for new mandates to inspect child care centers, run background checks on child care staff and train them in first aid and CPR. Advocates warn that mounting costs are being passed along to parents. New York already has the most expensive child care in the country and the state’s poorest parents often struggle to

pay for it. “A perfect storm of diminished federal and state funding, a growing low-wage workforce and the steadily increasing cost of child care is straining New York's child care to the breaking point,” the Empire Justice Center grimly reported last year. And while the block grant is a wel-

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come improvement, experts say, it hardly solves the larger problem. Reports show a low-wage single parent would have to shell out roughly half of their income every year to enroll one child in a child care center, according to a 2014 report by Child Care Aware of America. The average cost for a private child care program now tops $13,000 a year in New York, an expense that rivals public college tuition here. And last year, 1 in 5 working mothers in New York, with a child under 3, earned an hourly wage of $10.10 or less. While government programs provide vouchers to some of these mothers to help pay for child care, the voucher system fails to deliver this money to all of the women who qualify to receive it. In fact, only 27 percent of income-eligible families receive subsidized child care in New York City. Funding has been a persistent problem, says Betty Holcomb of the Center for Children’s Initiatives. The city aims high: A single parent with one child qualifies for subsidized care if they make up to 275 percent of the federal poverty level—about $42,000 annually—but the city can’t actually dole out those subsidies because of budget limitations. “We don’t actually deliver,” Holcomb explains, “because we run out of money.” These women often turn to their family, friends or neighbors to care for their children, a segment of child care that the state calls “license-exempt” and experts call “home-based” or “informal child care providers.” Despite being one of the most common choices for child care among low-income mothers, “home-based” child care is often the least discussed and the least supported segment of America's chronically underfunded child care system. Angelica Velazquez at CUNY’s Informal Family Child Care Project explains that, aside from the daunting issues of affordability, accessibility is the other chief barrier for low-income mothers seeking child care. A parent might choose informal child care because it’s close to home, because they speak the same language or because the care is better. For example, Velazquez

explains, “there are not a lot of quality after-school programs in many communities and in many schools.” Moreover, many single parents are mothers who work irregular hours that child care centers rarely accommodate. A center may be open between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m., but that won’t be much help to a mother working an evening shift or a rotating schedule. “As we see more jobs being created with odd hours and erratic hours,” says Helen Blank of the National Women’s Law Center, “the need [for flexible child care] becomes more important.” She adds that “New York is a place that is characterized by a lot of these odd hours.” In 2006, New York had over 116,000 children in subsidized child care—including centers, group home-based care and informal “kin care.” This year, there are slightly more than 94,000. Somewhat mysteriously, there are 10,000 fewer children in subsidized child care today than a decade ago. “So, what’s happened to 10,000 children?” asks Jeremy Hoffman of the United Federation of Teachers, who represents thousands of child care providers. “They have to put their children someplace, somewhere.” No one really knows the answer. But Hoffman has a guess: “I think they end up in completely unregulated settings. The underground child care system.” Holcomb has heard stories as well. “We hear reports of the nice woman down the street who’s running a program out of her home, underground, taking money off the books.” There isn’t any data on these unregulated, unsubsidized home-based child care providers, according to advocates. With no oversight, no health and safety inspections, and no idea how or where these invisible providers operate, some policymakers are opposed to supporting any home-based providers at all. And this wary mindset leads to a recurrent push-pull over regulation and funding: first pushing for tighter regulation to control the quality of home-based child care and later pulling the funding needed to support child care subsidies and oversight, which drives children back into cheaper, unregulated child care. “You know, no low-income New Yorker is choosing to put their child in harm’s way,” Hoffman says. “People who don’t get a subsidy make some very difficult and painful decisions. They have to go to work to make money to put food on their plate, try to put a roof over their family’s head … and they’re going to turn to somebody they know and they trust.” If parents are going to choose a family, friend or neighbor to care for their child, Hoffman argues, it’s better to support that decision and try to bring those “kin care” providers under the regulatory umbrella with government subsidies. New York State has deputized regional nonprofits that cater to “kin care” providers to enroll them in government subsidies so they can receive government funds for their child care work. “Many of those folks are brought into the system by the parent.” Hoffman says. “Frankly, from a health and safety standpoint, these vouchers are essential.” For now, it doesn’t seem like anyone is arguing with that. Although some questions remain about who will pay for what, both child care regulation and funding are on the upswing in New York. Those involved on the nonprofit side are hoping both of those trends last long enough to bring about a more permanent change for the better in the state child care system.

April 2015





Companies seek nonprofit thought-partners By KRISTEN BAHLER


espite increased enrollment in after-school programs across the country, Congress proposed a bill in March that would eliminate the primary federal revenue stream of many of these programs, with $86 million on the chopping block for New York State. To fill these types of funding shortfalls, many after-school nonprofits turn to private businesses. However, many private companies are approaching their nonprofit relationships differently and look to form thought-partnerships rather than simply write a check. “I think a misconception that some nonprofits have is the only thing a company is good for is writing a check,” said Tessie Topol, Time Warner Cable’s vice president of corporate social responsibility. “That’s not how we approach philanthropy.” Time Warner Cable partnered with the national nonprofit 826 to create a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workbook. The project took three years to complete and, after a soft launch in two of 826’s locations, the book is now available in 1,000 YMCA centers nationwide. “We’re not chasing the money, we’re building relationships,” said Gerald Richards, CEO of 826. “Corporations are looking for ways to partner with the community [and] nonprofits need to bring on people who know about the relationship mechanics of connecting with them.” Richards joined 826 in 2010 and was adamant about connecting the nonprofit to the private sector. Under Richards’ leadership, 826 has fostered relationships with Cole Haan, Sappi Fine Paper, and other private companies, in addition to Time Warner Cable. “This is a very different kind of relationship,” Topol said regarding Time Warner Cable’s partnership with 826, noting that the project was successful, chiefly, because Richards “wanted a thought-partner,” and not a handout. While private-nonprofit partnership models come in various forms, many often involve the sponsorship of a project or activity the nonprofit wouldn’t be able to provide on its own. “Our organization gets some public funds, but in order to support more kids, we also get private money—we call it ‘braiding,’ ” said Lucy Friedman, president of The After-School Corporation (TASC), a nonprofit focused on expanding urban afterschool programs. “It offers opportunities and experiences to kids they wouldn’t have otherwise, particularly kids coming from communities of concentrated poverty.” TASC has fostered business

ships that have led to a significant expansion of services. Motorola, for instance, funded multiple conservation clubs for TASC schools. Barnes & Noble has sponsored story-making workshops, while Fania, a record company, supports a salsa program. “[These programs provide] a platform for innovation and opportunity,” said Friedman. For smaller nonprofits, which lack the name recognition of an organization like 826, approaching a potential business partner can be daunting. Candace LaRue, a nonprofit fundraising consultant and president of AfterSchool Works!, a membership organization for after-school professionals in New York state, said it’s a challenge worth taking. Many businesses have dedicated social outreach programs, with social outreach managers, said LaRue. If nonprofit leaders bring them actionable, engaging data, business will be more likely to want to participate. “Don’t just show up at the door and ask for money—rather, build relationships,” said LaRue. “Businesses are interested in hearing about results, so using data is language they will understand. Make clear: ‘Here’s how we serve our population, here’s how we’re changing the community and here’s why you want to be a part of this.’ ” For smaller nonprofits, it also helps to look for non-monetary partnerships. James Kim, founder of Bridging Education and Art Together, or BEAT, is in the process of doing just that. As of now, BEAT, which helps kids in New York City schools hone creative thinking and career skills through music production, writing and dance, gets most of its funding from the schools it serves. On a recent field trip to the headquarters of Spotify, the music streaming service, Kim had a flash of inspiration. “The kids’ eyes lit up when they saw the Spotify office,” said Kim. “They were so intrigued as to how [the employees] could get such a cool job, and were able to discuss the various avenues they can take to get there themselves. You can’t show that in a slide show or a textbook.” Today, Kim said, he’s in the process of reaching out to other corporations who might want to provide similar experiences for his students. “Fundraising, grant writing, and all the normal ways nonprofits raise money … that space is so competitive,” he said. “But with corporate partnerships, I think there are more opportunities to show that the impact that we’re making is real. And maybe they will be inspired to help us grow.”

GLADYS CARRIÓN Commissioner, NYC Administration for Children’s Services


s Commissioner of the Administration for Children’s Services, I oversee one of the largest publicly funded early care and education systems in the country, serving approximately 100,000 infants, toddlers, preschool and school-aged children. I see firsthand the dramatic impacts quality early education has on the development of intellectual, social and emotional skills for all children. Through our EarlyLearn NYC program, ACS provides services that support healthy child development and assist low-income working families, eligible public assistance recipients and families that are receiving child welfare services. When I started as commissioner of ACS, one of my goals was to enhance the agency’s ability to be a helping agency, one which exists to make a difference in the lives of children and families. Our early care and education programs provide immeasurable support to not just children, but also their families. Quality child care provides more than just babysitting. The holistic services provided through EarlyLearn NYC are especially important for children coming from highly stressed environments. Instituting strong developmental and emotional screening, skills and supports can help children mitigate the terrible impact of toxic stress. It should be noted, especially in a year that has included an unprecedented prekindergarten expansion, that children who have the opportunity to participate in quality early childhood education are less likely to be held back in school, and are more likely to graduate from high school, which can ultimately improve their socioeconomic mobility and allow them to realize future success. The benefits of our early care programs also extend to families. In particular, EarlyLearn NYC programs provide care 8-10 hours a day, 12 months of the year to meet the needs of working families. Programs are culturally responsive and many feature wraparound medical and dental services for families. We want to ensure that families throughout the five boroughs are aware

that safe, clean and nurturing settings with experienced, certified, and caring teachers are available for their children. And to do that, ACS is collaborating with our partner city agencies to initiate a series of outreach efforts to inform parents of the available comprehensive and quality EarlyLearn NYC options for their children—especially families who are particularly vulnerable. This includes working with Department of Homeless Services to conduct intensive outreach to enroll children who reside in homeless shelters and place them at the closest and most convenient EarlyLearn NYC centers, helping to facilitate the matching of child welfare system involved children to vacant EarlyLearn NYC seats, and partnering with the Department of Education as part of citywide Pre-K for All recruitment fairs. Additionally, ACS will host a series of recruitment fairs, including the launching of “pop-up” pre-K recruitment fairs across the city—with the goal of helping parents understand their options in choosing the best option for them and their child. As demographics in the city shift, we fully realize that our services must also shift to meet the new reality. To address this, ACS is planning to conduct an updated community needs analysis to ensure that our seats are located where the need for subsidized care is greatest. We remain cognizant that pockets of poverty persist in otherwise affluent neighborhoods and that the cost of real estate continues to skyrocket. Our aim is to create an approach that is as nuanced as possible in our analysis of the needs for subsidized care. At ACS, we remain committed to laying a foundation for a stronger, more sustainable early care and education system. We know there is always room to do better, but I am confident that working together with providers, agencies and other stakeholders, we can continue to make improvements to the system. Ultimately, we must continue the work of stimulating young minds as early as possible, especially for children living in our most vulnerable neighborhoods.


Issue N°1



LETTERS FOR RAPFOGEL High Profile New Yorkers Defend Former Met Council Head To AG By WAY NE BARRETT

William Rapfogel speaking at the Met Council's Builders Luncheon in 2011.


illiam Rapfogel, the city’s legendary giant of the Jewish nonprofit world and good friend of indicted ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, is in prison for looting $9 million from the organization he ran for two decades, the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty. A reverse Robin Hood for poor Jews, the 59-year-old Rapfogel, who pocketed $3 million and was caught with $420,000 in cash, appeared unlikely to prompt much support when he pleaded guilty last year. Exploiting a mine lode of public subsidies funneled mostly through Silver, Rapfogel admitted to financing what court papers called “a lavish lifestyle” by taking up to $30,000 a month from an insurance company his organization delibLETTER EXCERPT

JULIUS BERMAN Chair of the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany “We could always rely on Willie’s fertile mind – whether it be in the communal affairs arena or that of poverty – to come up with new, innovative ideas and programs that would advance the cause to which he and the organization was devoted.”


erately overpaid. Every dollar consumed by this scam was a dollar less for services to the poor. Nonetheless, 70 Rapfogel backers, including 19 rabbis, several politicians, and some of the city and country’s most prominent leaders of Jewish organizations, petitioned Attorney General Eric Schneiderman to go easy on Rapfogel, who The New York Times said was frequently called the “prince of the Jews.” The letters—sent shortly before his April guilty plea—were obtained by City & State (C&S) under the Freedom of Information Act. They are a triumph of congeniality over conscience, with the call of the club taking precedence over the betrayal of the mission. The Jewish poor are invisible in this correspondence. Asked if the letters had any effect on the A.G. or the court’s handling of the case, a Schneiderman spokeswoman, Elizabeth DeBold, emailed C&S that they “had no impact” partly because “it was clear from the substance of the letters” that Rapfogel had “concealed the full extent of his misconduct from the letter writers.” In fact, the letters were written six months after Rapfogel’s arrest, a period clogged with one juicy news story after another detailing his misconduct. It’s hard to imagine the letter-writers didn’t see them. Schneiderman took five weeks to provide slightly redacted copies of the petitions, which were submitted by Rapfogel’s attorneys. Schneiderman’s office said it had no records related to a fund created by Rapfogel that raised much of the $3 million he was required to pay in restitution, a part of his plea deal with Schneiderman. No explanation of what happened to the $3 million he stole was ever made public. Since Rapfogel was not required to name the beneficiaries whose generosity to this fund allowed him to minimize his personal financial accountability, it’s impossible to tell if the

letter-writers also donated. The letters credited Rapfogel for acts of kindness that he was paid $410,000 a year to do at Met Council, and for his devotion to his kids, one of whom got $350,000 of Rapfogel’s criminal booty to buy a house. Many of the letters praised Rapfogel’s “integrity,” paying only passing reference to his crimes. Even if the letters had no impact on the handling of the case, they offer a window into a circle of wink-andnod philanthropic connections starkly similar to the political culture long occupied by Rapfogel and his wife Judy, who has been Silver’s chief of staff since he arrived in the assembly in 1977. Three of the letters were written by men who have made the Jewish Daily Forward’s list of the 50 most powerful Jews in America in recent years—Julius Berman, the chair of the Conference of Jewish Material Claims Against Germany, Rabbi Menachem Genack, CEO of the Orthodox Union’s Kosher Division, and Shmuel Lefkowitz, the chief lobbyist for Agudath Israel of America. Lefkowitz, who personally appealed to Schneiderman on the basis of their own long-term relationship, explained Rapfogel’s misdeeds by writing: “We are all only human.” Genack, the most influential certifier of kosher food in the country, has a track record of questionable ethic endorsements. Years after a massive 2008 federal raid on the largest supplier of kosher meats led to prosecutions of plant supervisors and illegal immigrant workers, Genack did an op-ed that blasted the 27year jail term for the CEO and co-owner of the plant, Sholom Rubashkin, a member of a prominent Orthodox family. Genack said the fraud case “sullied our justice system” and was “grossly overzealous.” Earlier, he’d called the Kubashkins “good people,” despite the evidence of their use of hundreds of illegal workers, including many children allegedly exposed to chemical dangers at the plant. Other national notables on the letter list include: • Howard Friedman, the first Orthodox president of AIPAC; • Richard Stone, ex-chair of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations; • Malcolm Hoenlein, the Conference of President’s longtime executive director; Grand Rebbe Moishe Rabinowich, leader of the Munkatsh sect; • Ruth Lichtenstein, publisher of the Orthodox newspaper Hamodia; • Raphael Butler, former president of the Orthodox Union; • Steven Weil, current top executive of the Union. Rapfogel “used his contacts in the political, communal and business communities for every cause that arose,” wrote Hoenlein, including, apparently his own. Letter writers well known in New York

were: • Joseph Potasnik, president of the Board of Rabbis; • Michael Miller, who runs the Jewish Community Relations Council; • David Niederman, executive director of the United Jewish Organization of Williamsburg and North Brooklyn; • Assemblyman Dov Hikind; • CUNY trustee Jeff Wiesenfeld;


MICHAEL MILLER Executive Vice President, CEO, Jewish Community Relations Council “Willie’s character was such that his sincere desire to serve the needy overwhelmed everything else…He regularly quoted from the Torah about the imperative of serving those who were less fortunate…Mr. Attorney General, I beseech you to be compassionate as you determine Willie Rapfogel’s fate…I hope you have seen that his righteousness far overweighs his imperfections.”

• Former state Democratic Party executive director Chung Seto; • NYU city affairs expert Mitchell Moss. Hikind was acquitted of corruption charges in the late '90s, even though two leaders of a Borough Park charity were convicted of bribing him. Rapfogel swooped in at the time to help Hikind keep the charity’s services going. Lobbyists George Arzt, John LoCicero, Joni Yoswein and Yehiel Kalish also sent letters, as did former elected officials Harrison J. Goldin, Lew Fidler, and Herb Berman. Yoswein, a former assemblywoman, described her and Rapfogel’s joint meeting with a congressman whose views on Israel required massaging, citing Rapfogel’s successful persuasion as a rationale for early release. Ex-City Councilman Herb Berman, who died within months of writing the letter, was the recipient of a $4,500 contribution in 2001 from Rapfogel’s co-defendant, insurance executive Joseph Ross, funneled through Rapfogel, who was the bundler. The donation to Berman was part of $120,000 in Ross/Rapfogel engineered contributions that became part of the Schneiderman

April 2015


probe. Kalish, the onetime Agudath Israel official who now heads a national lobbying firm, described how Rapfogel helped boost his own career when he came to New York a few years ago. “That’s the real Willie,” he wrote. “That’s the one you should get to know.” Miller contended that Rapfogel’s “righteousness far outweighs his imperfections.” Niederman, who boasts that he controls 11,000 Satmar votes in Williamsburg, cited an example of Rapfogel helping a family in need in upstate Monroe, far away from Met Council’s service area. His organization is a Met Council affiliate. Some of the petitioners were particularly tied to Silver: Charles Moerdler, a senior partner in the law firm representing the speaker in his criminal case; Simon Pelman, whose nursing home was a Silver donor; Harold Jacob, the manager of the co-op where Silver lives and close Silver ally; Azriel Siff, a Lower East Side rabbi whose father was rabbi to Silver’s father; Nathan Sklar, whose bid for a Lower East Side restaurant site was backed by Silver and Norman Dawidowicz, a financial advisor who chaired the 125th anniversary dinner for Silver’s synagogue, where Silver was honored. Others were directly connected to Rapfogel. Developer Bruce Ratner attended Rapfogel’s son’s bar mitzvah, partnered with a Rapfogel housing company, gave a million dollars to Met Council on Jewish Poverty, and hired Rapfogel’s son at the same time that Silver and Rapfogel supported his effort to take over a prize Lower East Side site. Harold Jacob, Isaac Stern, Naftoli Solomon, Yaakov Bender and other letter writers are top officers of Chevra Hatzolah, the ambulance service

run for years by David Cohen, who pled guilty with Rapfogel in the Met Council case. Rapfogel backers also included Bernard Hoenig, an attorney retained by the council, and Moshe Weiner, the director of two Brooklyn organizations funded through the council for years who was selected at one point to take Rapfogel’s old job (he eventually withdrew). Weiner was one of ten officers of neighborhood councils affiliated with Met Council to submit letters. Even top leaders of the organization Rapfogel plundered sent letters. The ubiquitous Jacob once chaired the Met Council board. Another letter-writing board member, Haskell Lookstein, rabbi at Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, was honored at a 2012 council event sponsored in part by Century Coverage, the insurance company whose owner was convicted in the Rapfogel insurance case. That event was organized by Rhonda Barad, ex-regional director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who chaired the Met Council’s Food for Life program and also contributed a letter. Lookstein, the former president of the New York Board of Rabbis, asked for “lenient punishment.” Stone and Goldin were also board members, their loyalty to Rapfogel apparently unshaken by his admitted sacking of their own anti-poverty group. At least two of the letter-writers were major donors to Schneiderman: Bruce Ratner and his wife gave $37,500 and Jack C. Bendheim, the CEO of Phibro Animal Health Corporation, gave $25,000 since 2013—$10,000 of it at the very time he sent the letter. Perry Weitz and Arthur Luxenberg, the lawyers whose firm employed Silver, gave $225,000 to


MALCOLM HOENLEIN, Executive Director. Conference of Presidents “I can attest that there were few who were Willie’s peer in caring, compassion, responding and acting for the good of others. By his hard work he took Met Council to new levels of achievement and broadened its services to make it a model agency. He was personally generous, and public and private people responded to him, his leadership, his decency and his unquestionable concern for the poor and challenged in society.”

Schneiderman, putting them among his top donors and signaling close ties between Silver and the A.G. Weitz and Luxenberg did not write letters on Rapfogel's behalf. Two Rapfogel supporters—Claims Conference chair Berman and Orthodox Union executive Butler—have had their own experience with scandal, unrelated to the Met Council on Jewish Poverty. A

shocking 31 people associated with the Claims Conference, including 28 employees, were convicted of stealing $57 million from its coffers over many years, either filing or facilitating false claims, with some awarded payouts though the supposed Holocaust victims were actually born after World War II. Called “one of the greatest scandals of contemporary Jewish life” in a Jerusalem Post op-ed, it wasn’t addressed by Berman and other conference brass for nine years after it initially surfaced. Berman’s letter said that the council was a “prime beneficiary of the Claims Conference’s allocations for the needy” (the allocation this year is $626,000 for council help for Nazi victims). Berman also pointed to “the increasingly close relationship between the professional and lay leadership” of the conference and Met Council on Jewish Poverty. While this would appear to be a reference to Abe Biderman, a former top city official who’s been both vice president of the conference and the council, he says he doesn’t believe it is. Others, like Rabbi Niederman’s organization, are Met Council affiliates funded by the conference. Butler was forced to resign as chair of the Orthodox Union after a lengthy investigation found that he had “direct knowledge” of allegations of child sex abuse against a top staffer and took no action for years. The staffer was eventually convicted of abuse. While the case had nothing to do with Rapfogel, it makes Butler a dubious reference at least. This rally list for Rapfogel plants one overriding and troubling question: Who really stands up for the Jewish poor? This article originally appeared on


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Issue N°1



BUDGET BREAKDOWN State Budget a Mixed Bag for Nonprofit Providers By FRED SCAGLIONE

Gov. Cuomo delivers 2015 State of the State and Budget address


he nonprofit sector had reasons to be hopeful that this might be a good year when it came to negotiations over the state budget for fiscal year 2015-16. The state was sitting on more than $5 billion in unallocated surpluses that had accrued from various court settlements with financial institutions and other major corporations—and additional settlement income seemed to be on the way. Moreover, the human services sector could clearly demonstrate that it had taken it on the chin during the lean years following the fiscal crisis, going six years without any across-theboard cost of living adjustment (COLA) to cover the rising costs of delivering services. In the first five of those years—fiscal year 2009 through fiscal year 2014— nonprofits had seen inflation reduce the purchasing power of their budgets by approximately 12 percent. One major problem with the state’s overflowing new pot of legal settlement income, however, was that it was “onetime” funding and not the kind of recurring income that could support permanent adjustments to financing that nonprofit service providers needed. In response, a coalition of leading nonprofit associations and advocacy groups—the Human Services Council, UJA-Federation of New York and United Neighborhood Houses—put together a campaign urging the governor and Legislature to create a $500 million Nonprofit Infrastructure Fund that would make one-time investments in human


services provider agencies to support specific projects involving core facilities, new technology, improvements in outcomes and performance, facilitation of mergers and partnerships, program innovation and pay for success contracts. The request also included another $50 million to capitalize an existing Contract Cash Flow Stabilization Fund that would provide interest-free revolving cash fund loans to nonprofits whose state contracts and payments were delayed. The other major problem with the litigation settlement money was that a lot of different groups wanted to use it for a lot of different things. There were bridges to build, economic development projects to fund, Metro-North stations to add, highspeed Internet access to provide, etc. In the end, nonprofits actually did get a Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program, although funded at just $50 million—10 percent of what advocates had hoped for. “While we did not receive the full amount requested, we are grateful for this critical investment that comes at a time of increasing inequality and instability in our state,” the Human Services Council said. “This is a dedicated fund for the nonprofit sector, and HSC will advocate for its expansion and continuation in future years. We thank UJA-Federation, United Neighborhood Houses, and all of you who carried our request in your meetings, participated in our Twitter rally, and joined our direct advocacy efforts. We look forward to working with you to

continue our push for adequate investment and support for human services.” The $50 million Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program will enable "targeted investments in capital projects that will improve the quality, efficiency, accessibility, and reach of nonprofit human services organizations that serve New Yorkers." Grants from this fund will be awarded through a competitive process to eligible nonprofits that provide direct services to New Yorkers through state contracts, state authorized payments, and/or state payment rates. In fact, the new fund does not come through the litigation settlement monies at all—probably a good thing. The budget legislation specifies that the program will be administered by the Dormitory Authority, as proposed by the Assembly. It authorizes the Dormitory Authority and the Urban Development Corporation to issue bonds or notes to fund the project costs. As mentioned above, the funds will be distributed through a competitive process to eligible nonprofit organizations. They can be used for: • Technology upgrades related to improving electronic records, data analysis, or confidentiality. • Renovations or expansions of space used for direct program services. • Modifications to provide for sustainable, energy efficient spaces that would result in overall energy and cost savings. • Accessibility renovations. The state agencies that will be includ-

ed in the award decision-making process include the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, the Office of Mental Health, and the Dormitory Authority. The budget bill sets forth the information that organizations must include in their applications for funds from the infrastructure program. “Over the coming months, HSC will be actively engaged in advocacy and capacity building to ensure that our members compete for these much-needed funds,” the Human Services Council said. “We will keep you updated as we find out more details about eligibility—particularly as it relates to building ownership.” WORKFORCE COLA II The enacted budget also includes funding to both extend and expand on last year’s 2 percent COLA for the lowest paid members of the direct service workforce. Last year, for the 2014-15 fiscal year, the Legislature made salary increases for the “lowest paid” direct service employees a priority and included a 2 percent adjustment for the last quarter of the fiscal year—Jan. 1 through March 31. At that time, the budget also included language—although no funding—to add another 2 percent COLA effective April 1 for those staff members who had received the prior year adjustment as well as additional direct service staff who had been left out of the first-year workforce COLA program. During the recent budget negotiations, the governor and legislature came up with the money necessary to implement this plan. “While we are still parsing out the COLA budget items, we know that COLAs are funded at $84 million for fiscal year 2016,” said the Human Services Council. “This is another significant victory for our sector, which has been forgotten for too long. This funding will help to stabilize our workforce so that we may continue to deliver essential services to New Yorkers who need them.” It is important to keep in mind, however, that these targeted “workforce” COLAs provide no funding for the many other kinds of staff it takes to run an agency— maintenance staff, billing clerks, drivers, administrative staff, etc. Nor do they provide any funding for agencies to cover the rising costs of non-personnel-related expenses. And, as New York Nonprofit Press has reported, targeted COLAs for which only certain categories of employees are eligible are well known as bureaucratic nightmares for the agencies that have to administer them. Provider agencies have to identify specific individuals by title and program who are eligible for the increase. Providers say guidance as to who is eligible and how the funds can be allocated among eligible staff varies depending on the source of the contract—the Office of Children and Family Services, the Office of Mental Health, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, etc. Last year, providers were required to send copies of their plans for how they would use the 2 percent to all local social service districts with which they have contracts. And they were required to have a board resolution attesting that the funding received will be used solely to support salary and related fringe benefit increases. This year, state overhead agencies are already preparing administrative guidelines that providers must follow to access the new 2 percent COLA.

April 2015


A “MIXED BAG” Looking beyond funding to directly support nonprofit provider organizations and their staffs, advocates found both good news and bad. “The NYS FY2015-16 Enacted Budget presents a mixed bag for New Yorkers and the nonprofit settlement houses and community centers that serve them,” said Nancy Wackstein, executive director of United Neighborhood Houses. “In the ‘plus’ column, several key investments such as the Settlement House Program and School Aid support for New York City’s SONYC afterschool program were continued at FY15 levels, preventing a disruption in critical services.” “The passage of the New York State budget provides sustained funding for key initiatives that support some of New York’s most vulnerable,” said Bich Ha Pham, director of policy, advocacy and research at the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies. “We applaud the Governor’s and State Legislature’s efforts to combat poverty with the continued expansion of Pre-K, as well as employment opportunities for youth, supportive services for runaway and homeless youth, $10 million initial investment to materialize the plan to Ending the AIDS Epidemic by 2020, and additional funding for senior services.” “Of the many worthy causes and initiatives included in the budget, we are particularly grateful for the efforts that were made to help the most needy and vulnerable,” said Eric S. Goldstein, CEO of UJA-Federation of New York. The organization applauded the $50 million funding for the Nonprofit Infrastructure Capital Investment Program as well as

the funding for the Safe Harbor program for sexually exploited children, an increase in after-school slots, and funding for a health information technology infrastructure program. “Furthermore,” the group continued, “the $4.5 million investment to fight hunger by bolstering New York State’s 2,600 emergency food-service providers will help UJA-Fed-

working with State leaders in the legislative session ahead to implement policies that support New York’s children, youth, immigrants and older adults.” “While the Governor’s plan to combat poverty is a significant step in the right direction, the final budget falls short of truly addressing the growing economic divide in our state,” said FPWA’s Pham.

THE PASSAGE OF THE BUDGET PROVIDES SUSTAINED FUNDING FOR KEY INITIATIVES THAT SUPPORT SOME OF NEW YORK’S MOST VULNERABLE eration’s beneficiary agencies feed our city’s neediest.” NEEDS IMPROVEMENT At the same time, however, advocates cited a range of issues where additional funding was necessary. “In the ‘needs improvement’ column, other enhancements fell far short of need, as in the case of child care and the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP),” said UNH’s Wackstein. “In still other areas, funding actually remained flat despite growing need, as in the case of Community Services for the Elderly (CSE) and Adult Literacy Education (ALE). For many New Yorkers the cumulative funding decisions in this year’s budget will yield new opportunities, but for far more, their challenges will remain. Still, UNH remains committed to

“The removal of an increased minimum wage and paid family leave requirement undermines a family’s ability to lift itself out of poverty. We strongly support a $15 minimum wage for New York City where the cost of living is unstable and unattainable for millions of residents. We are also troubled that the State Budget has not restored many cuts made to human services and public health during the recession. Families rely on these vital services and it’s critical we continue to provide services that help the most vulnerable achieve economic equity.” SUPPORTIVE HOUSING “The budget contains much good news for Network members continuing to build on several successful supportive housing initiatives,” said the Supportive Housing Network of New York. “Unfor-

tunately, the budget does not include a larger statewide supportive housing agreement. Over the next several weeks, the Network will begin a post-budget advocacy campaign for an expansion of the program.” Among the specific highlights, SHNNY pointed to the following: • Inclusion of $74.5 million of the JPMorgan settlement funds to support a statewide supportive housing program. This is $8.5 million more than what the executive proposed but falls significantly short of what is needed to support a statewide supportive housing agreement to build 30,000 units in New York City and 5,000 in the rest of the state. The network will be advocating for an expansion of the program. • An additional $50 million in JPMorgan settlement funding ($10 million per year for five years), to help offset cost increases in scatter-site housing in areas with rapidly escalating fair market rents. This is a much-needed funding boost, but represents only 10 percent of the current need across all OMH housing types, which is $99 million annually. • A $32 million increase in MRT Supportive Housing Program. This funding will continue to provide service funds, rent subsidies and capital dollars to create supportive housing for high-cost Medicaid recipients. STILL ON THE TABLE At the same time, budget negotiations left a number of key initiatives still unresolved, including passage of the state DREAM Act and language to Raise the Age for consideration as an adult in the criminal justice system from 16 to 18.


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Issue N°1



THREE NONPROFITS BREAKING THE MOLD Nonprofits think outside the box to serve their communities By GABRIEL ROM

into a housing complex for the homeless of Yonkers, and the organization grew rapidly. Glassman established the Greyston Foundation in 1982. Today, Mike Brady leads the organization as president and CEO, continuing to carry out Glassman’s motto that “there is no better life led than a life led trying to make others succeed.” BRINGING NONPROFITS INTO THE 21ST CENTURY

Employee at Greyston Bakery


onprofit leaders often have to think creatively to provide optimal services with limited resources. Three nonprofits, Greyston Foundation, NPower and Dollar a Day, are breaking the traditional nonprofit mold by rethinking their structures, building networks and incorporating technology in forward-thinking ways. USING PROFIT TO SUPPORT ACTIVISM

Greyston Bakery is a $14 million business that uses a radical hiring process: walk into the bakery, ask for a job, get a job. No interviews or references are required. This bold formula, which Greyston calls “open hiring,” has helped hundreds of Yonkers, New York, residents, many who were formerly incarcerated, to secure employment and rebuild their lives. Greyston Foundation is a social enterprise that owns and operates the for-profit affiliate, the Greyston Bakery. A portion of the bakery’s sales is used to support the other services the foundation provides, such as the Greyston Family Inn, the Greyston Childcare Center and Greyston Health Services. Greyston’s innovative management approach, which it calls ‘PathMaking,’ connects Greyston’s bakery business with the foundation’s social missions. “PathMaking is our most original contribution to the field of community development,” said Jonathan Greengrass,


vice president of development and public relations at the Greyston Foundation. “The philosophy is that individuals can be supported to achieve self-sufficiency through the holistic support of social services. This is much more than just case management—we look at a person’s entire life.” Greyston provides a unique network of social services to its employees and to the Yonkers community at large. The Greyson Childcare Center offers reliable childcare for employees with children. The foundation also works to provide affordable housing to vulnerable populations as part of the journey to self-sufficiency. Despite its untraditional workforce, Greyston operates a profitable and expanding business, showing that activism and profit can be compatible. “[The bakery] is of critical importance to the structure of the organization,” said Greengrass, since it creates a stream of revenue that is supplemented by government grants and other, more traditional, nonprofit funding sources. A major component of Greyston’s success has come from its 27-year partnership with Ben & Jerry’s, an international ice cream company. Greyston provides all the brownies that Ben & Jerry’s uses in their products. Partnering with a socially active and like-minded corporation like Ben & Jerry’s was crucial to Greyson’s success. Greyston’s untraditional model began with its untraditional founder, Bernie Glassman, a successful aerospace engineer turned Zen Buddhist monk. In 1982, Glassman turned an old spaghetti factory

Nonprofits historically lack the resources to capitalize on new technologies, leaving staffers working on dated systems that hamper their ability to improve or expand services. NPower seeks to connect underfunded, understaffed nonprofits to resource-rich technology companies with a desire to engage in volunteering. By acting as a “virtual matchmaker” for nonprofits and skilled technology professionals, NPower brings nonprofits into the 21st century. NPower has two flagship programs: Community Corps and Technology Service Corps. Community Corps links technology companies and professionals with volunteer opportunities at nonprofits and schools. Technology Services Corps is a program that trains underserved young adults and veterans between 18 and 25 years old for careers in the field of technology. “We have given an outlet to chief technology officers to capitalize on their passion for helping,” said Matt Sudol, director of marketing and communications at NPower. “The Community Corps spread like wildfire; technology people wanted to help and do good. Being a part of the program was like being part of a club that actually matters—something with a tangible result.” Through these two programs, NPower connects nonprofits, communities in need and skilled technology professionals to create a “360-degree ecosystem,” explained Sudol. This network works to uplift communities by supporting nonprofits through technological advancement to increase their services, and by working directly with underserved populations to prepare them for tech careers. “We find more and more that employers are looking at people with non-traditional backgrounds,” Sudol said. Technology companies are realizing that well-trained workers without college degrees are not necessarily liabilities and they can often get quality results from these candidates, Sudol explained.

Sudol attributes much of NPower’s success to its ability to gain insight and guidance from data analytics. By effectively using data, NPower is able to locate where new opportunities are likely to arise, how to expand already successful programs, or when to shutter problematic ones. “Information is power,” said Sudol. “The more data you get, the more you’re learning.” CROWDFUNDING FOR NONPROFITS

Kickstarter founder Perry Chen is harnessing the power of crowdfunding for the nonprofit community through his new nonprofit organization, Dollar a Day. The platform features one nonprofit each day, making it easier for individual donors to fund credible organizations. Chen brings strong fundraising credentials from Kickstarter, where users have contributed over $1.3 billion over the past five years to a wide range of projects, the vast majority of which were for-profit. The power of Dollar a Day lies in its simplicity: subscribed donors automatically contribute a dollar to that day’s organization, which is featured in a daily email that outlines the nonprofit’s mission. The automated contribution payment process removes the donator’s burden of researching organizations. “Every day we’re all supporting the featured nonprofit, together,” states Dollar a Day on its website. Dollar a Day has a few requirements for donors and nonprofits: all recipients must be a U.S.-registered 501(c)(3) organization that is not religiously affiliated or aligned with any government or political party. Subscription donors participate on the grounds that they cannot opt out of contributing to specific nonprofits. Dollar a Day features nonprofits in six sectors: education, health, economic development, arts, environment, and human rights. Dollar a Day “look[s] for organizations that pursue innovative solutions to problems in their fields, such as pushing the envelope with cutting-edge research, designing new methods to solve problems more efficiently, or identifying and tackling underrepresented issues,” it explains on its website. Visit for more information on how to participate.

April 2015



AUTISM AWARENESS MONTH Schools for students with special needs need special attention



or many children, routines and predictability provide the comfort they need to function and flourish at home and in school. For children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, who frequently attend special state-funded schools that have the capacity and trained staff to meet their needs, disrupting a routine or a school setting can be disastrous. Yet, because of New York State’s outdated funding formula, these schools, their students and their families face annual budget uncertainty and the ongoing threat of closure or staff layoffs. Many of these schools have already reduced services or

laid off staff while they provide services to an increasingly challenging student population. Many students diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in New York attend “Special Act Public Schools” or “853 Schools.” Both are types of schools created under New York State law to provide education to students with disabilities where a local district cannot provide the therapeutic environment and academic support needed for these students to succeed. However, due to the complicated funding methodology and historic underfunding of these schools, every year they are in desperate need of additional state operating funds and every year their students and families are uncertain they will be able to continue to operate. Since becoming chair of the Assembly Education Committee‘s Subcommittee on Students with Special Needs, I have been fortunate to learn from parents, students, teachers and advocates about the unique needs of the children and the terrible challenges their schools confront. With no independent taxing authority and no ongoing source of capital funding, year after year they are dependent upon state funding as determined by the State Division of the Budget. For many years, they had no increase in funding while their costs continued to grow.

Last year, the Assembly successfully advocated for a 3.8% across-the-board increase from the Division of the Budget for Special Act and 853 schools for both their direct and indirect costs. In addition, we advocated for the inclusion of these schools in the Smart Schools Bond Act. Our efforts began to make up for some of the chronic deficiencies these schools have faced. However, after years of zero percent increases, Special Acts and 853s still face chronic underfunding. During this National Autism Awareness Month, it

is a special time to renew our commitment to these children and the schools they attend. These students and their families deserve to know the schools and staff that provide them the consistency and routine they need will be there for them from one year to the next. New York State should be a leader – not a follower – for those with special needs. Assemblywoman Mayer is the chair of the Assembly Education Committee’s Subcommittee on Students with Special Needs



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Issue N°1






ov. Andrew Cuomo sent shockwaves around the country and the globe last June with his bold announcement that New York would become the first state in the nation to end its 35-year AIDS epidemic by the year 2020. Even without a cure, new treatment and prevention tools have finally placed this goal within our reach. In February, the governor demonstrated the seriousness of his commitment to a comprehensive solution by adding funding to his 30-day budget amendments for this year. For those of us who have been in the fight since the beginning, the governor’s new commitment brings back memories of another Gov. Cuomo—Mario. In 1983, just six months into his first term in office—and when AIDS was still viewed as a “gay disease”—Mario Cuomo signed into law a bill that created the state Department of Health’s AIDS Institute with $5.2 million in funding, along with the AIDS Advisory Council, making New York the first state in the country to launch a centralized response to the epidemic.

we must double the number of people with HIV who receive the continuous antiretroviral therapy necessary to remain healthy and unable to transmit the virus to others; housing and transportation services for low-income people with HIV must be expanded; laws to expand access to syringes and condoms must be reformed; access to HIV-prevention tools like pre- and post-exposure chemoprophylaxis (PEP and PrEP) for those at high risk must be expanded; and minors must be able to consent to prevention and treatment. These are just some of the aggressive yet necessary actions recommended by the governor’s task force. Achieving this ambitious goal will require a steadfast commitment by the governor and legislature to translate ideas into action. Our expectations are high but so are the stakes. Since the governor’s announcement last June, other states, such as Washington and Minnesota, have made public commitments to end AIDS. To continue to lead this historic move-


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In each year that followed, his administration added more resources, enacted stronger civil-rights protections and enhanced programs. By the end of the governor’s tenure, New York had created the most robust HIV/AIDS prevention and care infrastructure in the world. So it is fitting that Andrew Cuomo is now leading the way with a bold vision to build on his father’s achievements. The governor’s successful Medicaid redesign, along with expanded access to health care, new tools for HIV care, and renewed government and community commitment, make it possible to reduce the number of New Yorkers living with HIV for the first time in over three decades. To achieve the governor’s goal, we must reduce the number of new HIV infections from approximately 3,000 this year to 750 by 2020. While no easy feat, New York has already reduced its annual rate of new HIV infections by 40 percent in the last decade, while the U.S. saw no decline at all. To advance his plan, Cuomo has appointed an Ending the Epidemic Task Force composed of experts on HIV/ AIDS from the public and private health sectors, and from community organizations. After months of intensive meetings, research and public input, the task force developed a blueprint of recommendations for meeting the governor’s mandate to reduce new infections below 750 annually, and even outlined a more ambitious proposal to “get to zero” new infections and HIV-related deaths by 2020. If New York is to end this epidemic,

ment, New York must take decisive steps that can become the model for national and global action. After decades of struggle, we know too well the devastating human costs of inaction. What’s less understood are the substantial economic impacts. The governor’s plan won’t just save lives, it will also produce significant long-term savings for the state. Current investments in health care, prevention and housing will more than pay for themselves over time by dramatically reducing new HIV infections, Medicaid spending and homelessness. Ending AIDS will be a game-changer for the state budget. Full implementation of the task force’s recommendations is expected to generate $5.1 billion in total public health care savings around the state, including nearly $4 billion in savings from averted HIV infections. An additional $1.1 billion in savings can be generated by housing the 12,000 homeless and unstably housed people living with HIV statewide. New York has a unique opportunity to show the world it is the visionary leader the global HIV movement has long awaited. Charles King - president & CEO, Housing Works, Inc.; Perry Junjulas - executive director, Albany & Schenectady Damien Centers and a person living with AIDS; Mark Harrington - executive director, Treatment Action Group; and Kelsey Louie - CEO, Gay Men’s Health Crisis. All four were members of the Ending the Epidemic Task Force, with King serving as its community co-chair. This article was originally published on www. on Feb. 26, 2015.

April 2015




Arts nonprofit fills afterschool need for special needs students By JEFF STEI N


lthough Theresa Alessandra Russo’s life only lasted five short years and was filled with incredible challenges, she brought immeasurable joy to her family and inspired a foundation that has honored her memory by helping children with special needs. Theresa, the third child of Susan and Vinny Russo, was born in 1986 with microcephaly, a neuro-developmental disorder. While unable to speak or walk, Theresa loved movement, music and playing in the water. After her death in 1991, the Russo family committed themselves to helping other children who face similar developmental challenges find happiness in those activities. “We decided that the focus of the organization would be to fund programs in music, art, dance and recreation, because with any budget, those are always the first programs to cut,” Susan Russo said of The Theresa Foundation’s initial mission during an interview on Long Island News Radio’s “The Nonprofit Voice.” But after two decades of supporting arts programs through community events and grant giving, Russo recog-

Students dance at the Theresa Academy for the Performing Arts." nized a gap in available offerings that The Theresa Foundation was uniquely equipped to fill. Through her work as a dance instructor at public and private schools, Russo frequently came into contact with enthusiastic students with special needs.

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“Parents would say to me, ‘My child really loves dancing, but I can’t find a dance studio that will take a student with down syndrome, autism or cerebral palsy,’” Russo explained. Out of this need, the Theresa Academy of Performing Arts was founded in 2009.

(NYSAN), last year’s state budget included $57 million for after-school programs, which is 40 percent lower than pre-recession levels. This level of funding neglects an estimated 1.1 million students who want to participate in after-school programs, including many with special needs. Nora Niedzielski-Eichner, executive director of NYSAN, said that funding for after-school programs needs to increase across the board. “In the current environment, three out of four qualified programs are turned down for funding by the state,” Niedzielski-Eichner said. “It makes it very hard for innovative programs like the Theresa Foundation to even make it into the competition.” The Theresa Foundation does not receive any government funding, so its scholarship fund — as well as funding for all of the foundation’s programs — comes from a combination of year-round events and active grant writing. Additionally, the foundation has thrived in partnerships with other community organizations. One of the most fruitful of these partnerships has been with the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Nassau County (UCPN), where Theresa went to school as a toddler. Given this personal connection, the foundation got involved with a project to renovate the UCPN’s playground and park facilities, which serve hundreds of children. Renamed “Theresa’s Fun Place,” the playground and park now include interactive music sensory devices and adaptive equipment specifically designed for students with special needs. “It’s a wonderful space for hundreds of students to enjoy whenever weather per-

IT IS SO IMPORTANT FOR EVERYONE TO HAVE THE EXPERIENCE OF HAVING SUCCESS AT SOMETHING THAT THEY LOVE Russo says the goal was to create a space simply devoted to recreation and improving students’ quality of life. Over the years, the Theresa Academy has expanded to include programs for weekday afternoons and Saturday mornings, as well as a monthly Sunday workshop, offering classes including music, ballet and yoga. “Most of our students have a million therapists and are constantly being evaluated,” Russo said. “They deserve and need a place where they can just have fun.” A major focus of the Academy became ensuring that as many children as possible are included in the program, regardless of their families’ financial status. “What we’ve found is that so many families simply don’t have the wherewithal financially to send their children to programs after school, so the Theresa Foundation has a lot of scholarships that we provide over the course of the year,” explained Vinny Russo, Theresa’s father and co-founder of the foundation. The necessity of organizations like the Theresa Foundation speaks to a statewide lack of resources for after-school programs, especially for those with special needs. According to recent data compiled by the New York State Afterschool Network

mits,” said Russo. This past summer, the foundation also expanded its services to include two separate summer camps. Public schools on Long Island provide a six-week summer program for special needs students, but there has been, until recently, two lengthy gaps during which activities are not available for students. The foundation filled this gap by providing a oneweek camp in July, as well as a two-week camp in August. “The response was overwhelming,” Russo said. “This first year of offering the camps, we already had a waiting list.” The demand is not surprising to Niedzielski-Eichner. “Parents of children with special needs absolutely need, and deserve, substantial assistance,” she said. “And children with special needs deserve access to enrichment activities. It is so important for everyone to have the experience of having success at something that they love.” This is a mission to which the Russo family is firmly dedicated. “We are so thankful that we had Theresa in our lives,” Russo said. “Every day that I go to work at the Academy, I just have to smile because you can’t have a bad day working with our students. They’re just amazing people.”


Issue N°1



SHARING THE BURDEN Sharing Economy applied to nonprofits By SA M ANTH A DILIBERTI and JEFF STEI N

Big Dance Theater Company performers


he concept of sharing is a bedrock principle of society. Private sector companies like Uber, Airbnb and Craigslist have embraced this notion through the sharing economy model. However, the nonprofit industry has been slow to join in. ArtsPool is changing that. The newly established nonprofit cooperative centralizes the administrative processes to cut the costs, time and labor that artists invest in running their organizations, allowing them to focus on their true purpose: providing services. “There is no advantage in keeping nonprofit operating systems proprietary and in-house because these systems are not what make each organization special,”

and Maxfield call “insourcing.” Member organizations then recycle savings back into the arts field. Also unlike a third-party vendor, the cooperative is co-run by its members. Elected members serve on ArtsPool’s governance committees on a rotating basis to review operations. “[ArtsPool] implemented a member-driven governance process to ensure that [it] continually adapts to member needs,” the founders highlighted. The cooperative is currently running its pilot program and is working with a selection of pilot members to provide targeted services. “We’ve purposely started our service offering in areas that are highly regulated,” the founders explained, “[since] regulatory requirements create a common ‘needs framework’ across organizations.” Member organizations work directly with ArtsPool’s management team, which includes the founders and development partner Max Dana. “ArtsPool’s development team has 80 years of combined arts nonprofit experience,” the founders said. Each manager specializes in a specific field, ranging from finance and operations to technology and marketing.

OUR GOAL IS TO USE CO-EMPLOYMENT TO FACILITATE THE SORT OF INFORMAL LABOR SHARING THAT ALREADY EXISTS IN ARTS NONPROFITS explained founders Guy Yarden and Sarah Maxfield in their original concept paper*, from which ArtsPool was born. Yarden and Maxfield believe that by filling the “common needs” of arts organizations, such as budget planning, legal compliance and human resources, these organizations can apply more resources to fulfilling their missions. “ArtsPool is focused on streamlining the areas of administration that can be systematized efficiently,” said the founders via email, “leaving more time and budget for those other elements that are inherently less efficient: the making of the art itself.” A failure of the current nonprofits arts system, Yarden and Maxfield explain, is that it demands that nonprofit organizations operate within a “profit-oriented superstructure.” ArtsPool provides a new structure. Unlike a third-party vendor, ArtsPool operates for the benefit of its members, not to make a profit. The organization aims to leverage resources within the arts community to keep member-costs low, a process Yarden


Additionally, the cooperative provides access to Web-based tools that give members an overview of their data, allowing “members to make informed decisions about their business,” ArtsPool states on its website. One ArtsPool member, Producer Aaron Mattocks of Big Dance Theater said his organization has already benefited from joining the collective. “Big Dance is a mid-size organization as defined by most funders, and there are no full-time staff members,” Mattocks said. “In this type of arts organization, everyone is piecing together different areas of operations. [ArtsPool has] really streamlined systems and put it into a digital space,” he continued. “It’s so much easier to get a holistic view of the organization given the way that they have amalgamated all the data on the organization.” In addition to providing administrative services, ArtsPool is working to implement a co-employment model that will allow for the work of certain employees to be shared among member organizations. “Our goal is to use co-employment to

facilitate, in a more reliable and structured manner, the sort of informal labor sharing that already exists in arts nonprofits,” the founders explained. While Yarden and Maxfield are still working to create a structure that facilitates a self-sustaining co-employment model, they have outlined their goals for the program. On their website, they outline that they are working to create a model that eases short-term, project-based hiring while providing long-term stability; capitalizes on a full-time worker’s “down time” so that it can be efficiently applied at another organization; and leverages reduced costs with vendors and provides access to professional development through collective bargaining. “It’s not uncommon for an artist to supplement their income by picking up administrative work for other art companies on an ad hoc basis,” the founders explained. “Access to benefits for that worker may be nonexistent, even though she’s working a combined equivalent of a

more than full time job for the arts field as a whole.” ArtsPool was designed specifically to service arts nonprofits, though Yarden and Maxfield believe that the model can be replicated nationwide and throughout nonprofit industries. “Because our baseline service provision is tied to core nonprofit compliance requirements, many aspects should be replicable in any nonprofit arena,” the founders said via email. ArtsPool is, however, based on a local model. “Specific aspects will need to be shaped around any additional/different compliance requirements that another sector, state or locality demands,” the founders explained. “But such an adaptation would be about adjusting, not reinventing, the framework that we’re putting in place.” *"Collective Insourcing: A Systemic Approach to Nonprofit Arts Management" by Guy Yarden & Sarah Maxfield can be found at

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April 2015

Issue N°1




BEHAVIOR INTERVENTION SPECIALIST Seeking a Behavioral Intervention Specialist to join our Adult Day Program Team. Qualified candidates must have a Master’s Degree in Behavior Analysis, Behavioral/Clinical Psychology, or a closely related field. Knowledge of managing challenging behaviors within a DD, ID, and autism populations as well as ability to conduct Functional Behavior Analysis and writing Behavior Support Plans are essential. Possession of driver’s license and car ownership required. FT, Rye Brook, NY Contact: Bozena Mazurek

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SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST FULL TIME POSITION Seeking NYS Certified School Psychologist (Doctoral level) to work with our preschool and school age programs to provide direct school based services that include psychological assessments, individual group counseling, Functional Behavior Assessments/Behavior Intervention Plans, teacher consultation and family counseling skills required. Must be able to effectively collaborate with an interdisciplinary team. Will also provide supervision to Master level behavioral staff. FT, Rye Brook, NY Contact: Tom Curnow


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FOUNDATIONS COORDINATOR Seeking a Foundations Coordinator to maintain and maximize a comprehensive foundation-giving program. Position includes providing assistance with grant writing, reports, prospect research and operations, including maintaining online grant files, grant-tracking schedules, correspondence and mailings. At least one year of grant writing experience preferred. Prior experience in a fund development department required. E-mail resume, cover letter and two writing samples (grant applications). Contact: Luy Andor

RESIDENCE MANAGER DIRECTOR OF HUMAN RESOURCES Seeking a dynamic leader who has experience in a fast-paced nonprofit to serve as Director of HR. Responsibilities include improving best practices, cultivating strong cross-departmental relationships, building and executing a long term strategic plan, and supporting organizational growth. Candidates should have a minimum of 6-8 years of HR or talent development experience.

Puerto Rican Family Institute, Inc. is seeking a Residence Manager for an IRA/ICF of ten developmentally disabled individuals located in the Bronx. Driver’s license required. BA Degree and OPWDD are required, as well as field related job experience in Residential Management. Successful candidate will be team oriented and dedicated to Human Services. Supervisory skills are preferred. Salary is $38,000 plus health benefits package. Position to be filled as soon as possible. Contact:


GRANT WRITER Mosholu Montefiore Community Center is seeking a full time Grant Writer. Candidate must have 5-8 years of experience in grant writing. Successful candidate will have a proven track record in government grant writing with DYCD, DFTA, Head Start, DOE and foundation proposals. Responsibilities include writing, editing and coordinating proposals to government agencies, foundations, corporations and individual donors. Bachelor’s degree or higher is required, as well as strong research skills and experience with donor databases.

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Issue N°1

April 2015






Family Services NY Poughkeepsie, NY

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Family Services NY assists people in need and strengthens families in stress. The 2015 Award event will honor the Seaman and Austin families for their commitment to improving their communities.

Panelists from the not-for-profit sector, the real estate industry, and the legal profession will explore themes illustrating how not-for-profit executives, staff, and board members can collaborate in addressing real estate and space needs in achieving their organizations’ core objectives.




MAY 18



Anderson Center for Autism Staatsburg, NY

Anderson Center for Autism will bring together an outstanding group of experts and advocates to discuss autism spectrum disorders from their unique perspectives. The conference will be held on the Anderson Campus from 9:00am-4:00pm — visitors will have opportunities to tour the extensively renovated Anderson Center campus, to mix freely with conference attendees, to participate in the Vendor Fair, and to view The Apartment, a performance piece by Anderson Players, adults from Anderson Community Based Programs.

To Your Health 2015 will celebrate leadership by honoring Ellen Rautenberg for her commitment to public health and 20 years of leadership at Public Health Solutions, as well as David Harris, MD, for his commitment to public health and 40 years of service on Public Health Solutions’ Board. Info:


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Reach New York’s Nonprofit Leaders! Exchange ideas with top government and nonprofit leaders at this full day conference Topics: • Management • Human Resources • Efficient Outcome Reporting • Financial Strategies • Technology Tools • Nonprofit Efficiency

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NYNP - April 2015 Edition