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Issue N°13 December 5th, 2016


S P O T L I G H T : E N GA G E M E N T


Spotlight on engagement p.18-23 AGENCY OF THE MONTH




N Y N MEDIA’S FIRST CAUSE AWARDS Read more on page 9


Issue N°13


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December 2016




5. New liquidity disclosure requirements for nonprofits 6. How and why you should build out your volunteer program 7. Tips for the new board chair 8. Successful management practices from the Excellence Awards selection committee


9. NYN Media’s first Cause Awards 10. Sampling of the Season: Gala Coverage 11. Civic engagement & tackling discrimination: A Q&A 12. Front-Line Hero: Noelene Smith 13. Agency of the Month: Urban Resource Institute 14. Lessons from the Robin Hood Foundation’s




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15. As street homelessness rises, Home-Stat tracks numbers and names 16. Bronx housing nonprofits respond to a new set of challenges 17. VENDEX reforms in the works 24. City, foundations team up to fund programs 25. HHS Accelerator a slow “success story”

18. Citywide campaign case study: Jericho Project’s First Annual Day of Action 19. Engaging young Jewish students in social issues 20. How three New York City nonprofits mobilize voters 22. Nonprofits on the defensive after getting out the vote 23. Disability Rights Advocacy

27. Mary L. Pulido: On supporting child protective services workers 27. Gerard McCaffery: On ACS and accepting the unacceptable 28. David Jones: Nonprofits lining up behind ‘Fair Fares’ campaign

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Issue N°13



AIMÉE SIMPIERRE Editor-at-large


t’s true. Among the various ways our world has changed since the last issue, one small one is this: This is the last print edition of the New York Nonprofit Review. NYN Media’s content will now be exclusively featured in a nonprofit-dedicated section in City & State magazine. Staff of nonprofit organizations can subscribe to C&S’ weekly edition for free by going to: We will continue to present all of the interesting content you’ve become accustomed to – including our Agency of the Month and Frontline Hero profiles. However our website,, will now become the primary home of our full-length original content and selected pieces will appear in condensed form in C&S’ magazine. There will be no changes to the NYN

Daily e-newsletter. It will become an even more vital instrument for alerting you to the content on our website and sector-related news from across the state. Though this change is sudden, there is much to gain. By becoming a part of C&S’ magazine, we will become a weekly – meaning more timely and relevant coverage. Our coverage will also become more comprehensive as C&S’ reportage on New York policy and politics provides context for much of your work. The spotlight section of our final issue covers advocacy and engagement, a timely focus indeed when the presidential election’s results portend this to be a season where advocacy for the most vulnerable among us will require more courage, determination and vigilance than before. Note that many articles have been condensed for the print edition; see the full length versions on our website. As always, keep in touch so that we can continue to be a forum for the news and trends that directly affect you. To our future, Aimée Simpierre PS: We are distributing an online survey about our services, events and reporting. Please respond and help us prioritize what matters most to you.


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December 2016





nder the Financial Accounting Standards Board’s new financial reporting standards for nonprofits released on August 18, 2016, nonprofit organizations are required to provide enhanced disclosures about the liquidity and availability of its resources in the audited financial statements. The disclosures must be both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Qualitative information communicates how a nonprofit manages its liquid resources available to meet cash needs for general expenditures within one year forward of the balance sheet date. Quantitative information, reported either on the face of the balance sheet or in the notes, communicates the availability of a nonprofit’s financial assets as of the balance sheet date to meet cash needs for general expenditures within one year of the balance sheet date. The key words to understand are – liquidity, availability, qualitative, quantitative and general expenditures. Liquidity is measured as to how quickly a financial asset can be converted to cash. Availability of a financial asset may be affected by its nature: external limits imposed by donors, grantors, laws and contracts with others, and; internal limits imposed by governing board decisions. The objective of the new disclosures is to provide more useful information about an entity’s resources and any changes in those resources that will be helpful to donors, grantors, creditors and others in understanding a nonprofit’s financial viability. For example let’s consider a non-

profit organization with the following assets as of its balance sheet date: In this example, it is safe to assume cash, receivables and investments can be converted to cash within one year of the balance sheet date and are considered liquid assets under the new disclosure requirements. The next step is to look at the details of each of these assets and identify any type of restrictions on the use. Restrictions could be either internal or external. For example, if investments include donor-restricted endowment funds for a particular purpose, such funds are not considered "available" for general expenditures of the organization. Another example is board-designated funds for a special purpose such as, for constructing a building or other capital improvements. Such board-designated funds could be liquid, however they may not be “available” for general expenditures within one year. This also highlights the importance of board decisions and its impact on financial reporting. How does an organization make sure it has enough liquidity? The answer could be maintaining a line of credit or bank account balances to cover a certain number of weeks’ expenses. There is a greater level of flexibility as to how organizations report the liquidity and availability information. It could be presented in a tabular format or a management discussion and analysis type format. It’s important for organizations to start thinking about this now, and to evaluate their financial position by looking at the balance sheet on a “classified” basis and considering the “availability” factor. Often times, social service agencies carry mortgage liabilities on their balance sheet for residential programs. Payments for such mortgage liabilities may be supported by governmental funding sources and included in the rate or budget for the particular residential program. In those situations, nonprofits should consider including in the disclosure requirements that such obligations

LIQUIDITY IS MEASURED AS TO HOW QUICKLY A FINANCIAL ASSET CAN BE CONVERTED TO CASH. will be paid down through future reimbursements from the funding source and not from existing assets as of the balance sheet date. Lastly, the disclosure information will be audited by external auditors - so be sure to have verifiable audit evidence to support the information disclosed. Nonprofit organizations should develop sample disclosures internally and assess the impact of the new disclosures on its banking relationships, funders, donors and other stakehold-

ers. The effective date of the new disclosure is calendar year 2018 or fiscal year 2019, as applicable. Sibi Thomas CPA, CFE, CGMA is a partner at the Nonprofit and Government Group at Marks Paneth LLP. Thomas conducts audits of various large and medium nonprofit organizations in New York. He is also a CPA Practice Advisor 40 under 40 award recipient for leading the accounting profession. Thomas can be reached at sthomas@, follow him on twitter @SibiThomas_ .

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Issue N°13





olunteerism brings people together to address needs and unite communities. Volunteerism also benefits the volunteer: the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the federal agency focused on engaging Americans in service, has issued reports linking volunteering to better health, longer lives and higher likelihood for employment. There is great potential for growth in volunteerism throughout the city, and those volunteers can impact a variety of areas including education, parks, homelessness, and workforce development. NYC Service is dedicated to increasing New York City’s volunteerism from the current rate of 18 percent to the national average of 25 percent, as stated in the city’s OneNYC plan. The increase to 25 percent translates into 500,000 additional adults in New York City volunteering in their communities. NYC Service, established in 2009, is a division of the Office of the Mayor focused on promoting civic engagement and volunteerism throughout

the city. As our mission states: “NYC Service promotes volunteerism, engages New Yorkers in service, builds volunteer capacity and mobilizes the power of volunteers and national service members to impact New York City’s greatest needs.” Our vision is to “inspire and empower all New Yorkers to volunteer and serve New York City and each other.” Right now, NYC Service is spearheading several initiatives to increase the number and impact of volunteers including: • Researching the ways in which New Yorkers volunteer in their communities, with our Neighborhood Impact and Expansion Pilot which is exploring civic engagement in Sunnyside, Woodside, and Jackson Heights in Queens. • Administering the NYC Civic Corps AmeriCorps program, in which corps members are assigned to 50 community-based and city agency host sites to focus on building volunteer management systems and capacity throughout the five boroughs. • Partnering with New York Cares on the creation of the Great Volunteer Management System. • Partnering with Points of Light to train organizations about how to incorporate volunteerism into their strategic plans, through the NYC Strategic Volunteer Planning - Service Enterprise Initiative.

• Encouraging community-based organizations to post their volunteer opportunities and connecting New Yorkers to opportunities across the five boroughs on our website, nyc. gov/service. • Increasing the rate of volunteerism and deepening volunteer engagement among private-sector employees in New York City. Bringing volunteers into your nonprofit deepens their familiarity and engagement with your mission, and creates capacity for high-impact areas. Volunteers based in the communities you serve increase your visibility within that neighborhood. In addition, volunteers can create a real return on investment. While volunteers donate their time and talent, the Independent Sector has determined that volunteerism has a discrete monetary value. According to the Independent Sector, the value of a volunteer hour in New York state was $27.59 in 2015. Using this figure, a nonprofit that engages 100 dedicated volunteers who donate 10 hours over the course of one year would see a value of $27,590. To build a lasting volunteerism program, create a plan to bring in volunteers, keep them engaged and interested in their service, and honor their accomplishments through volunteer recognition. NYC Service has partnered with New York Cares to

create a toolkit, the Great Volunteer Management System, to help organizations increase the impact their volunteers make. The system gives step-by-step instructions about how to build volunteer systems, and includes worksheets to assist users with developing their volunteer management systems. The Great Volunteer Management System walks through the various stages of volunteer system development, giving users a primer in areas that include: incorporating volunteerism into your strategic plans; setting up the infrastructure for volunteers - including creating position descriptions and getting volunteers into an organization; keeping volunteers engaged in an organization’s mission; and recognizing volunteer service. In partnership with NYC Service, New York Cares also offers monthly online or in-person trainings based on the Great Volunteer Management System that are accessible from the New York Cares website. Remember, building your volunteer capacity will increase your impact, build the community and benefit the volunteer. Bridgette Blair is AmeriCorps and volunteer management program director at NYC Service, a division of the Office of the Mayor.


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December 2016






ll eyes are on you as the new board chair. How best to get started? Here are some essential steps you can take to lay the groundwork for successfully leading the board team and supporting the executive director. Develop a team that hums: Taking the reins can provide a fresh opportunity to organize the effectiveness of the board. Your job will be easier if you place the right people on key committees, for example chairing fundraising, finance and governance. Perhaps you’ve inher-

tion of governance committee chair. That person should be your partner in grooming other leaders and adding new members to the team. Manage the board’s evolution: Are you changing expectations for board service? If so, then be prepared to transition some members off of the board to other forms of volunteer service if they feel unprepared to agree to the new expectations, particularly in regard to attendance and fundraising. A change in board leadership is an ideal time to remove low performers from the board without

Make these conversations safe and supportive. If the executive director is worried about your reaction to bad news, it’s human nature to withhold. Create an environment to candidly talk as partners and tackle small issues together before they develop into big organizational problems. Focus on the long term: As board chair, keep your eyes – and the board’s – focused on the horizon while you monitor current trends. Balance managing immediate issues and the important-but-not-urgent factors that will drive your organization’s future. What changes might be looming that will affect the mission and programs? Where are the avenues to sustainable revenue? The executive director has the pressing assignment of steering the ship in the present. You and the board can assist by asking about and planning for the longer term. Board meetings should be a place for big-picture deliberation. Steer the agenda away from a simple rec-

TELL STAFF AND FELLOW BOARD MEMBERS THAT YOU SEE AND APPRECIATE THEIR HARD WORK. THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE FOR THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WHO HAS NO DAY-TODAY BOSS TO ACKNOWLEDGE THEIR WORK. ited some long-standing committee chairs who’ve grown complacent. Meet with board members individually to hear who is disengaged and who might rise to take on a new challenge if inspired. Ask people to step up to join your leadership team. Don’t wait for them to come forward; it is rare for someone to seek out more responsibility. Your goal? To place people where they can be the most productive, to communicate your expectations and to develop a second level of board leadership so you’re not doing all the heavy lifting on your own. Pay particular attention to the

their losing face. After the board has agreed to hold itself accountable to new standards, a face-to-face conversation to “counsel off ” those not ready to rise to new expectations is essential to easing these transitions without damaging relationships. Partner with the executive director: Maintain a regular meeting schedule with the executive director. Combine in-person and phone formats and set a standing agenda that encourages the executive director to anticipate what information you, as board leader, need to know and advise on – but not to “overshare” minutiae.

itation of reports (which should be circulated and read ahead of time). Use meetings for board members to discuss strategy, make decisions and plan next steps. A lively giveand-take gives board members a reason to attend meetings. Start and end meetings on time out of respect for fellow board members’ commitment to the cause. Be the head cheerleader: Be positive. Even as you help the staff navigate difficult problems, you must be upbeat and confident. Your voice sets the tone for the board, the staff and the public. Tell staff and fellow board members that you see

and appreciate their hard work. This is particularly true for the executive director, who has no day-to-day boss to acknowledge their work. Create a culture of appreciation and “thank you.” Motivate board members. Remind them why they’re present and keep them enthused. This is one of the key responsibilities of a board chair. The payback for these volunteers is their impact on mission, and the joy of being part of a productive, collegial team. Model the behaviors you seek: Be a role model. Take on assignments, and make yourself available to serve as the board’s public ambassador whenever needed. Show the board what an engaged board member looks like: Prepare in advance for meetings, listen fully, think strategically and focus on policy, not operations. Demonstrate the values of personal responsibility and accountability. You must lead the charge on fundraising as well. While you don’t have to be the largest contributor on the board, you do need to give a personally significant gift and regularly champion the “getting” end of the board’s give/get equation. Have fun: Enjoy yourself and the company of your talented colleagues! You’re steering a great ship in partnership with accomplished board and staff teams. Serving as a board chair is a critical way to have a positive impact on the world, enriching your professional and personal life. Your leadership will help your organization make a real difference. Judy Levine is executive director of Cause Effective, a nonprofit that counsels board leaders and staff on effective stewardship and fundraising. Cause Effective advises over 100 nonprofits a year on every type of governance and fundraising challenge, helping nonprofits build a sustainable community of supporters. Visit for board chair tip sheets and other governance resources and to find out about Cause Effective’s Chairing For Success Coaching Program.


Issue N°13





n this piece, I join seven of my fellow New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Awards selection committee members to share management advice. This is the tenth anniversary of the awards program, founded and managed by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee. FROM LAUREL MOLLOY, FOUNDER AND CHIEF CONSULTANT, INNOVATIONS QUANTIFIED Management should have an overall focus on results and impact: The most results-focused organizations both identified the data needed to understand whether their efforts were working and tracked it. They also regularly compiled and reviewed it internally. FROM MICHAEL DAVIDSON, BOARD COACH Governance structure moves the organization forward: Consider establishing term limits and a mandatory rotation of both the leadership and membership of your nominating

committee to ensure ongoing re-examination of the diversity environment as it continues to change. ADVICE FROM JENNIFER M. RUTLEDGE, VICE PRESIDENT/PARTNER, DELPHI CONSULTANTS, INC. Keep your organization diverse and inclusive: Treat your organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion as a core value and treat related policies as “living documents.” Define success, assess your organization, develop work plans and hold leadership and management accountable for results.

ADVICE FROM DAWN GALLERY-KHAN, DIRECTOR OF TECHNOLOGY SERVICES, ROUNDTABLE TECHNOLOGIES Target information technology systems to improving efficiency and advancing mission: Excellent practices in IT include: planning, budgeting, staffing and training; website and social media/internet capability and usage; effectiveness measures; board support and leaders' understanding of information technology's strategic potential. With these, organizations can successfully translate IT resources into improved performance.

ADVICE FROM UDAY RAY, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER, LEAKE AND WATTS SERVICES, INC. Financial management should be informed, transparent and accountable: An organization’s balance sheet is more important to measuring its financial health than profit and loss statements. Analyzing a balance sheet tells you whether the company can pay its bills or if it is taking on too much debt.

ADVICE FROM JEN CHAU FONTÁN, VICE PRESIDENT, THE MANAGEMENT CENTER Human resources should be valued and developed: Having a cross-departmental committee of staff at different levels think intentionally about culture will ensure high levels of staff engagement and give your organization the best chance to meet its strategic goals.

ADVICE FROM ANAT GERSTEIN, PRESIDENT ANAT GERSTEIN, INC. Communications should be strategic, effective and brand strengthening: Have a clear and distinct voice that sets your organization apart from the pack and positions you as a leader. Use multiple channels to have your voice heard, but be deliberate and strategic by laying out planned communications tactics for the year. ADVICE FROM THE TEAM AT CAUSE EFFECTIVE Fundraising and resource development are strategic and donor-centered: Pay special attention to securing a donor’s second gift. Respond to a first gift with communications which highlight your mission and the good work their donations make possible. Anat Gerstein is president of Anat Gerstein Inc., a consulting firm that provides a full spectrum of communication services – including public relations, donor communications and social media – to the nonprofit sector.

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December 2016





ew York Nonprofit Media held its first Cause Awards breakfast at the Capital Grille on Nov. 2. The awards recognized 26 organizations and leaders from across the human services sector. The Cause Awards are designed to help identify nonprofits who are making the most of those moments where the spotlight of concern becomes focused on causes they have been addressing for years – or even more than a century. It is a moment to recognize those who have moved the needle on issues, from homelessness to food justice, that have recently drawn the public’s attention. Winners were selected from among nominations submitted by colleagues. After brief opening remarks, NYN Media Senior Reporter Dan Rosenblum introduced invited speakers Ralph da Costa Nunez, president and CEO of the Institute for Children, Poverty and Home-

lessness, and New York City Public Advocate Letitia James. Nunez addressed the pressing homelessness crisis in New York City and shared his vision for community-based resource centers that would locate services to help homeless individuals maintain stable housing within the communities where they currently live. He also talked of “triaging” the shelter system so that families who have become homeless because of sudden crises such as the loss of a job or an unexpected illness, young mothers who need additional skills to become financially independent and chronically homeless individuals who may struggle with substance abuse or mental illness are served separately and appropriately. James prefaced her comments by stating that she knows the city does not pay nonprofits quickly enough and that nonprofit workers need and deserve raises. Then she shared stories of individuals she was able to use the power of her office to help

– including immigrants who had fallen prey to slumlords – and noted that it was nonprofit organizations, among them some of the Cause Award honorees, who helped identify these individuals in need and bring their plight to her attention. Cause Award Distinguished Honoree, the Jewish Board, was recognized for absorbing some 9,000 clients, more than 800 employees, 22

clinics and a budget of more than $75 million when FEGS, one of the city’s largest social services organizations, filed for bankruptcy. In her brief remarks on behalf of the Jewish Board, Board President Alice Tisch thanked her organization’s staff for their great work. We are proud to honor these awardees. See the full list of Cause Awards winners on our website.

Cause Awards recipients represent 26 winning organizations working to address some of the most pressing social issues of the day.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James said nonprofits help her identify individuals who are in need of the city’s advocacy.

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Issue N°13



RECENT GALAS AND EVENTS: A SAMPLING OF THE SEASON FORTUNE SOCIETY GALA The Fortune Society, which has provided services to formerly incarcerated men and women since 1967, hosted about 300 guests on a balmy Oct. 18 for its first formal sitdown fall gala dinner. Brian Vines, senior correspondent for BRIC TV, emceed at the Three Sixty° event space in Manhattan. Honorees included Jonathan Lippman, retired chief judge of the State of New York and current head of the Rikers Commission; Betty Rauch, Fortune Society board member and longtime board chair; and Daryl V. Atkinson, who is serving as the first Second Chance Fellow at the Bureau of Justice Assistance. Seymour W. James, Jr., head of The Legal Aid Society, was among the distinguished guests. JoAnne Page, Fortune Society president and CEO, presented Rauch with the Game Changer Award for her role in establishing Castle Gardens, the David Rothenberg Center for Public Policy and the Better Living Center. Over $530,000 was raised

to support The Fortune Society’s programs. In his introduction of Judge Lippman, Fortune Society founder David Rothenberg marveled at a recent staff meeting of 200 employees. “I remember our first staff meeting of three, and we didn’t even realize it was a meeting,” he said.

Jonathan Lippman, recipient of the David Rothenberg Achievement Award; Betty Rauch, recipient of the Game Changer Award; Daryl Atkinson, recipient of the Reentry Champion Award

NEW YORK WOMEN’S FOUNDATION GALA The New York Women’s Foundation, the United States’ largest women’s grantmaking fund, held its 2016 gala at the Plaza Hotel honoring Saru Jayaraman, co-founder and codirector of Restaurant Opportunities Centers (ROC) United, Dina Habib Powell, head of Goldman Sachs’ Impact Investing Business and president of The Goldman Sachs Foundation and Laurie M. Tisch, president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. All guests were entered in a raffle for to win tickets to “Waitress,” the first show on Broadway with an allfemale creative team, or a free meal at Colors, a gluten-free nonprofit restaurant owned by (ROC) United. Number cards at tables featured the

Brian Vines, Fall Benefit Emcee; JoAnne Page, Fortune Society President and CEO; Stanley Richards, Fortune Society Senior Vice-President

New York State Senator Velmanette Montgomery; Fortune Founder David Rothenberg (Lisa Ross)


names of prominent women, from Barbara Jordan to Elizabeth Cady Stanton. Special guests included writer Walter Isaacson, fashion designer Tory Burch, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and, by prerecorded video, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who introduced Dina Habib Powell. The event raised $700,000. Honoree Jayaraman, during her comments explaining how the wage tipping system disproportionately harms women and is a legacy of slavery, said, “A woman’s body is unequivocally and irrevocably not on the menu.” The comment took on additional meaning because of disparaging comments President-elect Donald Trump has made about women.

Attendees of Queens Community House's benefit gala.

Ted Bunch, Gala award recipient Laurie Tisch, U.S. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Gala award recipient Saru Jayaraman and Gala Award recipient Dina Habib Powell


Queens Community House held a Strengthening Neighborhoods Inspiring Change Benefit Gala on Wednesday, Nov. 9, at Blend on the Water in Long Island City, honoring New York City Council member Daniel Dromm, attorney at law Ali Najmi, Aramark and the Queens Chamber of Commerce. Dromm addressed a room still somewhat in shock from the results of the presidential election. “To those of us who felt depressed this

morning when we woke up about what was going on in the election, just as we said that night, we’re going to continue and we’re going to stay united.” The event raised over $150,000 through tickets, raffles, a silent auction and generous donations. Raffle and auction items included travel certificates and New York Knicks VIP tickets. Special guests included Queens Borough President Melinda Katz.

December 2016



The Supportive Housing Network of New York, a membership organization representing more than 200 nonprofits who build and operate supportive housing, held its 2016 Awards Gala Oct. 13 at Capitale on The Bowery. Special guests included city Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Vicki Been, Department of Buildings Commissioner Rick Chandler and James S. Rubin, Commissioner of NYS

Laura Mascuch addresses attendees of the SHNNY Gala.

Homes and Community Renewal. SHNNY honored the founders of the supportive housing movement as well as outstanding tenant leaders Shannon Landy of Community Access and Shatiera Freeman of The Door and Breaking Ground. SHNNY also honored Alembic Community Development as its private sector partner of the year. The Lt. Col. Matt Urban Human Services Center of Western New York, ACMH and

Goddard Riverside Community Center each received awards for operating a Residence of the Year. More than 600 people attended the gala, which raised $530,800. During opening remarks, SHNNY Executive Director Laura Mascuch noted, “We are probably in double overtime, at this point,” referring to the wait for the state to agree on spending $2 billion for affordable housing.

Tenant leaders are honored during the SHNNY gala.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT AND TACKLING DISCRIMINATION A Q&A with City Councilman Carlos Menchaca and New York City Human Rights Commissioner Carmelyn Malalis


f the election results portend anything, it’s that those who advocate with and on the behalf of the most vulnerable may be in for a fight under a Trump administration. So we present a conversation with Council member Menchaca who represents the 38th district in Brooklyn and Carmelyn P. Malalis, New York City Human Rights Commissioner, about civic engagement and tackling discrimination. We spoke with Council member Menchaca before the election and to Commissioner Malalis after the elections. This interview has been edited for content and clarity. Hear the full podcast at NEW YORK NONPROFIT MEDIA:

WHAT INFORMS YOUR VALUES AND THE STANCES YOU TAKE? Menchaca: For me, when I think about where I first got these concepts were through my childhood experiences, growing up in El Paso, Texas, in public housing, single mom. There were seven brothers and sisters total. … Engaging government happened at many levels, from our health care to food stamps. And then also engaging with my other cousins going to Mexico, crossing the border, and seeing how (my cousins) lived, they had the same kind of existence that we did, but without any government services. … Government very quickly became, like so many people who live in our district, a place for engagement.

And PB (participatory budgeting) has been such a beautiful thing, a real blessing for us … where we’ve been able to bring people to the table no matter their immigration status. We’re bringing the voting age down to middle school kids so they can participate in this. … They’re all coming together around tables and saying,” what do we need in our community?” And they’re deciding. NYN MEDIA: HAVE YOU SEEN AN UPTICK IN DISCRIMINATION COMPLAINTS DURING THIS CAMPAIGN SEASON? Malalis: If we see that there are issues in areas even where a complainant is not coming forward, we have the affirmative power of the

city to investigate on our own and I will tell you in this environment where there are people who may be scared, who may feel extremely vulnerable and perhaps even more vulnerable than they had felt even before the election - that power is very important, because we don’t require individuals to come forward and put their names out there. If we get information from community based organizations or elected officials or faith-based leaders or groups, we’re able to take those facts, take that information and investigate on our own so that the folks who are probably going to feel the most affected don’t have to put themselves out there.


Issue N°13






hirty million is the number of words a child should be exposed to by the age of three to help guarantee future success for the average child entering pre-K. Research shows that without that exposure, a persistent achievement gap can develop. Noelene Smith, founder and executive director of the Baby Institute, is working to make sure the families who attend her Albany-based Baby Institute have the tools to meet that milestone – and then some. With Albany High School’s average graduation rate coming in at below 60 percent – compared with 87 percent for the rest of New York State – Smith sensed a problem that needed to be attacked urgently, and at its roots. “My three daughters looked like the other kids at (Albany High School), and they’re all college graduates,” said Jamaica-born Smith, MSW. The school has a primarily African-American student body. But by second grade Smith saw teachers giving up on her children’s classmates who were not yet reading at grade level.


All the students had started out on a level playing field, she observed, but with one big difference: “My kids had me.” With literacy ever more important in today’s digital age, Smith determined to ‘move the dial’ by demonstrating to parents how to turn their children into ‘lifelong learners.’ “Once a child falls behind, you can’t catch them up,” she said. “The parents I help don’t know what they don’t know. Our program demonstrates how to act as your child’s first teacher by reading aloud and engaging from infancy.” Active in the Albany community since the 1980s, Smith established the Baby Institute in 2010 after studying models such as the Harlem Children’s Zone. Her free, nineweek workshops take place on Saturdays three times a year. To date, about 400 parents have graduated from the program which offers advice on nutrition and health in addition to tips on preparing for school readiness. The summer program, which provides free childcare, fills up overnight.

“Anywhere I see a mom pushing a stroller or a pregnant woman, I approach and invite her to attend,” said Smith, who finds many of her clients at the office of the Department of Social Services. The fact that eight of 10 people turn her down doesn’t discourage her from her mission. She wants the Baby Institute to help raise the graduation rate at Albany High to the state average. Recently, she’s gained a high-powered partner. After five years of operating with a few small grants and a core of volunteers, this year the Baby Institute made local headlines when Albany Medical Center pledged a

four-year partnership, including $175,000 in financial support during the first year, to help grow the fledgling 501(c)(3). This means she and an assistant can work full time and grow the program to include a public health component. For parents who work weekends, she is preparing to launch a weekday workshop and double the number of nine-week sessions to six annually. Thanks to a permanent address granted by the Albany Housing Authority, and increased outreach through their brand new newsletter, the Baby Institute is also poised to increase enrollment from three Albany neighborhoods they serve: Arbor Hill, West Hill and the South End. The Baby Institute’s donation shop expects to grow as well. It works on a barter system where parents who attend workshops receive tokens that can be exchanged for whatever goods are on hand. “Once we take in a family we are committed to the kids and will advocate whenever necessary,” she said. From helping to find a speech therapist to applying for financial aid for college, Smith is available. But she draws the line at financial problems. “I’m not a crisis manager, or a friend,” said this longtime social worker. “My job is to refer our parents and give them the tools to deal with their issues.” Hopefully, that will mean more transformations like this one: “One 4 year old who arrived at our program had never held a pencil or a crayon before,” Smith recalled. “ After 3 weeks with us she picked up so quickly, we sent (what seemed to be) a different child to school. That’s the result of our model, working one child at a time.”

December 2016




Domestic violence survivor and former URIPALS client Jasmin Rivera with her dog, which joined her in an Urban Resource Institute domestic violence shelter.


omestic violence victims who are pet owners face a moral dilemma: escape to one of the 50 or more city shelters that prohibit animals, or remain at risk. Nearly half of this cohort chooses to remain at risk rather than leave four-legged family members behind in an unsafe environment, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Urban Resource Institute thought there had to be a better way. URI, which has sheltered domestic violence survivors since 1984, offers New Yorkers another choice with a program called URI People and Animals Living Safely (URIPALS). In partnership with pet supply retailer Nestlé Purina PetCare, URI recently opened its third pet-friendly domestic violence shelter in New York City with a dog park. URI is currently the only organization in New York City that operates pet-friendly domestic violence shelters. By donating food and supplies to the shelter, Purina helps URIPALS welcome pets that might otherwise have been left behind or shuttled to an ASPCA kennel. A large segment of New York’s 60,000-strong homeless population consists of people who are escaping domestic violence. As one of the largest providers of domestic violence shelters in New York City, URI assists over 1,600 domestic violence survivors annually. To date, URI operates three parks in two boroughs providing safe haven to more than 60 families and about 80 assorted pets. Typically a family spends about six months at a URI domestic violence shelter while receiving counseling and job training. “URI’s primary goal is to remove all obstacles for those facing domestic violence,” said URI president and CEO Nathaniel Fields, who has devoted most of his long career to the

organization. An alumnus of Fordham University’s Graduate School of Social Service, Fields serves as co-chairman of the New York City Coalition of Domestic Violence Residential Service Providers and as a board member of Today’s Students Tomorrow’s Teachers. “At first, the government was reluctant to approve the program due to allergen and safety issues,” he recalled. Fortunately, URI quickly found support from two nonprofit partners, The Mayor’s Alliance for New York City’s Animals and the ASPCA. With their help, all the pets were microchipped, inoculated and treated for trauma when necessary, removing lingering health concerns. Founded 35 years ago in Brooklyn as an affiliate of the Addiction Research and Treatment Corporation, URI became an independent entity in 2012. It is headquartered in lower Manhattan and operates with a budget of $32 million and a staff of over 280 professionals. In addition to its domestic violence program, URI also offers residences and treatment and care programs for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities, as well as homeless services. Fields said the ‘eureka’ moment that sparked the URIPALS initiative came after attending a 2012 talk by Allie Phillips, an attorney and animal rights activist and the author of “Defending the Defenseless.” “A pet-friendly shelter is such a wonderful idea, I wondered why it hadn’t been done in the past,” URI Vice President of Domestic Violence Programs Jennifer White-Reid said when Fields first introduced the idea to her. White-Reid, an attorney, initially assumed there might be legal barriers. But after she discovered there was “no language that would prohibit URI from establishing a pet-friendly center,” all systems were go.

In 2013 the pilot launched with cats and other small animals and was met with instant success. “We’ve observed how all the residents in the shelter engage with the pets, which produces a healing environment and provides comfort for everyone,” said Fields. “Pets play such an important role in the healing process for a family that walked out of an abusive situation maybe only two hours ago. ” Staff members who had reservations about dealing with animals in addition to survivors of domestic violence were quickly won over. “After listening to a survivor’s horrific story, meeting an adorable dog brightens the mood for the staff,” said White-Reid. “There is a lot of research on the value of the human-animal bond.” “In fact, staff has since become the biggest champions of the program, as it enhanced our knowledge base of the therapeutic value of co-sheltering," added Fields, who hopes to adopt his own pet next year. Purina, which discovered URIPALS through social media, supports the program with “welcome packs,” pet food, crates and toys. Co-shelters

quickly filled to capacity, meaning pet owners in crisis are being turned away all the time. To accommodate more families, URI plans to add URIPALS units to its other shelters. “We’re so grateful to Purina for their support and intellectual capital,” said Fields, who cites raising funds for this effort as his greatest challenge. “Based on our results, Purina is now working on a similar initiative in its hometown of St. Louis.” To spread the word nationally, URI looks forward to introducing legislation to allow pets in shelters for the domestic violence community appropriately named PAWS – Pets and Women Safety Act – with the help of U.S. Sens. Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand. “We want to lend our voice to a national movement to raise awareness to this issue, which is a silent killer, ” said White-Reid. Yet there are lighthearted moments, such as a schoolchild who arrived with a bearded dragon, perched on his shoulder. “By allowing more shelters to open their doors to animals, we can remove barriers and give a new start to a family that may have left everything else behind.”

A pet-friendly URIPALS unit in one of Urban Resource Institute’s domestic violence shelter.

The pet haven at URI’s Urban Women’s Retreat domestic violence shelter offers a space for survivors and their pets to play and heal together. (Urban Resource Institute)


Issue N°13



DON’T BURY THE LEDE Lessons from the Robin Hood Foundation’s fundraising “boot camp” By ALICE POPOVICI

Children learn engagement and motor planning skills at the Kennedy Child Study Center, an organization that participated in the GRIT program (Tina Buckman)


undraising pros know there is an art to the so-called “elevator pitch": keep it short and interesting, and get to the point fast. But some nonprofits have trouble distilling their message into a succinct pitch, said Suzi Epstein, managing director of the Robin Hood Foundation. To help promising organizations become better fundraisers, Robin Hood – which bills itself as New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization – launched a program to teach leaders about everything from tracking outcomes to pitching a potential funder. “Many groups had a very charming pitch that might have gone on for too long,” said Epstein, who directed the pilot Grants-Ready Insights and Training (GRIT) program. “Or they might have buried the lede.” Eight New York-area nonprofits were selected for the six-week program, which began on Oct. 6 and consisted of weekly four-hour sessions, including training on mission and program model design, fundraising, budgets, governance and data tracking. Only organizations that had a budget range of between $1.5 million and $5 million, and had been operational for at least three years, were eligible to participate. “What we are trying to do is help groups really rivet on impact,” Epstein said. Epstein, who has been at Robin Hood for more than two decades, said she and other staff members decided to develop the pilot training program after noticing many nonprofits that appealed to the organization for funding consistently struggled with the same problems in their grant proposals. Although many of the nonprofits had collected detailed “input” data – such as how many people use their program –


they had trouble connecting the dots to reveal how their work makes a difference. They had trouble describing their costs and articulating their outcomes, and they had issues with governance – weaknesses that made it harder for the groups to diversify their funding. To find potential applicants who needed to strengthen their proposals, Epstein said Robin Hood reached out to other philanthropies and asked: “Where did you get an interesting proposal that you couldn’t fund for some reason?” Jeanne Alter, executive director of the Kennedy Child Study Center which provides specialized education to pre-kindergarten children with language and cognitive delays, said the GRIT program gave her “laser focus” on things that she would not have time to think about during a regular work week. “I called it boot camp,” Alter said. She learned how, and when, to communicate with potential funders, and what she will need to do in order to define the outcomes of the organization’s education program. “The challenge for us has been that we can tell 386 individual stories,” Alter said, referring to the number of children the organization reaches per year. “The problem is learning how to aggregate your data to tell your story.” Thanks to the testing that the nonprofit’s teachers do four times per year, Alter said she knows that the education provided by her nonprofit helps children gain the communication skills and motor skills they will need to better integrate into a school setting. But she didn’t know how to translate that data into outcomes that can be shared with funders, or use it to help guide her in setting goals and deliverables.

“We’re definitely looking at our fundraising plan and we’re going to revamp it,” Alter said. “We would love to get funded for a data analysis manager.” David Brownstein said he knew he had “hit on a nerve in society” after he founded the nonprofit Wild Earth in 2004, and started taking youth on overnight trips into the woods around New Paltz, New York. He saw that the young people in the program learned teamwork, gained confidence and went on to become leaders in their schools and communities. But Brownstein still struggled to define exactly what the nonprofit was about – until the first session of the GRIT program. “Ultimately, what we’re working on is character, is building the character of today’s youth,” he said. “That was kind of an ‘aha’ moment.” Brownstein said that clarifying the organization’s mission helped him and his team focus on the message they wanted to convey to funders, and how to tell that story. Before participating in the GRIT program, he might have been in a hurry to ask for a donation during his first meeting with a potential funder, but now he takes time to build the relationship. “It’s less desperate and ‘starvation mentality,’ and more peer-to-peer,” Brownstein said. For Jackie Baillargeon, director of The Guardianship Project at the Vera Institute of Justice, the challenge was not only figuring out how to track data and allocate funding – but rather how to build a 501(c)3 organization almost entirely from scratch. She was hired specifically to determine if Vera’s project – which for 10 years has been providing le-

gal guardianship services to elderly, mentally ill or developmentally disabled New Yorkers – can spin off into a self-sustaining organization. Baillargeon said the GRIT program, and especially the one-on-one advice from a mentor assigned to work with her, helped her map out a plan for the transition and define criteria to measure her progress. “What’s the gold standard for how I should be approaching fundraising?” That’s one question the program helped her identify. She also learned how to select board members and explain to potential donors that she will need multi-year funding to sustain the organization. “It allowed me to really understand what it is that I want to put in place,” Baillargeon said. The GRIT sessions included group exercises on building a budget, lectures led by Robin Hood staff members and outside consultants and role-playing exercises including a “mock ask,” Epstein said. “We were trying to help the groups get a lot of bang for the buck.” Asked if the program will be repeated next year, Epstein said the Robin Hood Foundation will make the determination after it receives feedback from the eight participant organizations. Initial feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, she added, with some organizations requesting additional time for the fundraising, governance and budgeting sessions. But the overall success of the program may not be determined until the nonprofits complete their longterm homework assignment, due in a year and a half, Epstein said. Will they be able to raise $100,000 in new funding? The clock is ticking.

Unbeatable contribution forms. Better fundraising.

December 2016



BEYOND THE NUMBERS As street homelessness rises, New York City’s new Home-Stat program keeps tabs By FR ANK G. RU N YEON


ayor Bill de Blasio has come under a torrent of criticism over his handling of the homelessness crisis in New York City. In response, this April the mayor announced the launch of Home-Stat – Homeless Outreach and Mobile Engagement Street Action Teams. Home-Stat is an alliance of homeless service providers and city agencies aiming to better track and offer services to the city’s growing homeless population. The city is placing a nearly $30 million bet on the new approach, budgeting $7 million in 2016 and $22.9 million for 2017, hoping to better understand both who is living on the streets and how to get them off the streets and into housing. “Generally speaking, in the past, the focus was on the numbers and a one-size-fits-all approach,” said Steven Banks, commissioner of the city’s Department of Social

Services and the Human Resources Administration. “The aim of HomeStat was and is to focus on the numbers of New Yorkers on the streets as individuals.” “We’re focused on names, not numbers,” Banks said. The initiative aims to create a list of names and locations for all the homeless people living on the street so the city can better track who is out there and what they need. The new approach, the commissioner said, means a more inclusive homeless outreach program. Previous policies limited services to the “chronically homeless,” a subset of homeless individuals who have been on the street for many months. The hope is that Home-Stat could help more temporarily homeless people before their situation becomes that dire. “It’s in no one’s interest to have people remain on the streets until they reach a rigid definition,”

Banks said. “Our providers for years have been focusing on chronically homeless individuals and now they have the ability to focus on anyone who’s on the street and to provide services immediately.” Recent estimates all show the city’s homeless population continues to climb. The Department of Homeless Services reported that some 59,918 people slept in city shelters on Sept. 29, an increase of 4.6 percent from the same day last year. Coalition for the Homeless, which includes other specialized shelter beds in its monthly average count, showed a similar 4.7 percent increase between August 2015 and August 2016, when the total reached 61,464 sheltered individuals. Outside the shelter system, the number of street homeless increased 8.3 percent from 2,535 in May to 2,746 in August, according to recently released data from the city’s first two quarterly counts for Home-Stat. The increase may be due to seasonal variations, outreach groups noted. Home-Stat has also tasked teams of canvassers – operating separately from nonprofit outreach groups – to survey the city on foot, block by block, between Canal Street and 145th Street in Manhattan, as well as select “hot spots” throughout the city. The canvassers, who wear clearly marked official uniforms, observe and note anyone who appears to be homeless in an effort to better target outreach efforts. But on a recent evening at 125th Street and Park Avenue in Harlem, a half dozen street homeless individuals camped near the MetroNorth overpass said they had never seen the city canvassers or anyone in official uniforms who weren’t police officers. At the nearby office of Picture the Homeless, a homeless advocacy group, three senior members said they had not seen or heard of any Home-Stat canvassers, either. “Being that they're doing this canvassing from Canal to 145th, from the East River to the Hudson River, you would assume that we would have seen them out day and night,” said Al Williams, a leader at Picture the Homeless. “I’ve never seen any organization doing the canvassing.” Commissioner Banks maintained that the Home-Stat canvassers were walking their routes in “very clear official garment.” But while the canvassers may not have been visible to some of the city’s street homeless, it doesn’t mean they aren’t out there. “I can understand why people might be saying, ‘I haven't even seen

them or I don't know who they are,’” said Brenda Rosen, executive director of Breaking Ground, a nonprofit providing homeless outreach for all of Queens, Brooklyn and midtown Manhattan. Home-Stat canvassers don’t necessarily engage with people on the street, since their job is solely to observe and report back to the city, she said. “If they see someone bedded down on the corner, they are going to relay the information to make sure that it gets to the appropriate outreach team." But locating and bringing the city’s street homeless indoors can still be daunting for the nonprofits tasked with the job. “It's difficult, but you can't look at the entire borough,” said Juan Rivera who leads the homeless outreach team for BronxWorks, referring to an oversize map in his office. BronxWorks is the only citycontracted homeless outreach group in the borough, which makes Rivera’s 17 outreach workers responsible for an area twice the size of Manhattan. “You have to zone in on particular areas where you know things are happening. Then you branch out little by little to see what else is happening.” At any time of day, BronxWorks has two cars on the road – one east of the Bronx River Parkway and another to the west. The cars enable them to cover more ground and interact with about 30 to 40 homeless people a day. Calls to the city’s 311 information line about homeless Bronxites feed directly to BronxWorks – and the organization prides itself on responding within the hour. “It’s a big job, of course,” Rivera said. “It’s tough work, but I think we have a formula that works." Five months in, the city feels confident in a certain degree of progress with Home-Stat. One early success, Banks said, is how Home-Stat now directs resources toward places service providers weren’t able to reach, such as libraries and hospital waiting rooms. In addition, Banks said, outreach efforts “over the last five months have provided us a list of 1,200 people who we know by name and we're engaging and had success in bringing some of them in,” although he noted that “a comparable universe of people” have been contacted who have not yet accepted the city’s help. Ultimately, measuring the success of Home-Stat may be difficult simply because it’s so unique. “The breadth of the approach is new. Never been tried before,” Banks said.


Issue N°13



BREAKING NEW GROUND After decades of work rebuilding the borough, Bronx housing nonprofits are responding to a new set of challenges. By DAN ROSENBLU M

Breaking Ground opened this 148th Street building in the Bronx in 2010. (Alexander Gorlin Architects)


hen Derrick Lovett became head of MBD Community Housing Corporation in 2010, he took stock of the properties maintained by the nonprofit, which formed in 1974 as the Mid-Bronx Desperadoes. The organization, so named for its “desperate” activism in the face of widespread blight in the Bronx of the 1970s, acquired or renovated thousands of units in some of the neighborhoods hardest hit by the arson and disinvestment of that era. Three decades later, much of that portfolio was aging. “They were managing it themselves and they weren’t doing a very good job of it, unfortunately,” Lovett said. With the relative inexperience of some developers and the rush to rebuild depleted neighborhoods, some projects were underwritten with costs greater than the income. Other times, contractors used cheap materials – such as sheetrock in bathrooms that sprouted mold – that cost more money in the long run to replace. “Sometimes the not-forprofit might have gotten a bad name because, look at this product that you own,” he said. “But I think a lot of people at the time were green when this was happening.” Lovett, who had more than two decades of experience at Citibank and other financial institutions underwriting construction loans and bond financing, partnered with a property management firm and reimagined MBD as a development company. It recently completed the first portion of a large redevelopment in the West Farms neighborhood. Today, MBD and other evolving community development corporations – nonprofits which provide services such as economic


and property development within a specific neighborhood – are responding not to the state of emergency epitomized by the disinvestment and arson of the 1970s, but to private-sector competition, rising land prices and a lack of developable space. While the Bronx still has some of the city’s poorest pockets, many of the formerly scarred neighborhoods have new or renovated buildings, and nonprofit developers have responded by emphasizing social services, collaborating with other groups and seeking creative sources to acquire land.


ecades ago, when these groups were getting started, the challenges were much more pressing. With white flight, the fissures left as several highways were built through neighborhoods and a host of other political, social and economic issues, some landlords were more willing to let their properties burn and collect the insurance money than repair buildings that were losing their value. The resulting cycle of disinvestment decimated neighborhoods, which groups like Nos Quedamos and Banana Kelly later tried to reclaim, “building by building.” “We are desperate, so let’s call ourselves the desperadoes,” suggested a housing manager at the newly created Mid Bronx Desperadoes, according to “House by House, Block by Block,” by Alexander von Hoffman. Much of the rehabilitation of the borough began in the 1980s under Mayor Ed Koch, whose administration pumped billions of state and city dollars into the South Bronx and other devastated neighborhoods. “The deal was, ‘We’ll give you

these buildings for a dollar, we’ll give you the money for the rehab or the new construction, as the case may be, and in return, you’ve gotta own these buildings and keep them affordable in perpetuity,’” said Nancy Biberman, the founder and president of WHEDco, a Bronx-based nonprofit that has developed housing as well as commercial and education programs. After rehabilitating 23 abandoned buildings in High Bridge for Catholic Charities in the 1980s, Biberman observed there was a vacuum of civil, retail and recreational destinations amid the torched buildings. “Housing alone, not only isn’t enough, it’s worse,” she said. “You’re giving people shelter, but what to do? The streets aren’t safe, there’s no place to shop, no place for their kids to play. To me, at least, it was a frightening realization.” At its inception, WHEDco emphasized services desired by its community. Since it launched in 1992, it has polled residents about their needs and embraced environmental sustainability and nonresidential services like medical services, education and produce carts. When it converted the abandoned Morrisania Hospital to the rechristened Urban Horizons in 1997, it combined 132 units with a child-care center, a 4,000 square-foot commercial kitchen and a health care center. Its newest project, Bronx Commons in Melrose, is scheduled for a groundbreaking this month and – taking a cue from the area’s music history – will have theater space, a music heritage center and units for senior artists. The Fordham Bedford Housing Corporation, which is involved with 110 buildings and 3,500 apartments, was born from a community meeting of Northwest Bronx residents in 1978. Executive Director John Reilly said it was maintaining its portfolio, but slowly expanding when some opportunities presented themselves. It recently bought land from the Ursuline Sisters and is building 195 units of senior housing called Serviam Heights, adjacent to developments it completed in 2009 and 2010. He said it was a “win-win” as the sisters no longer occupied the convents, but were pleased to offer the site for affordable senior housing. “We all have to look for those kind of opportunities where institutions can work together to prepare for the future and meet new needs,” he said.


tephanie Sosa, a senior associate for housing development policy at the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development, said that

nonprofit builders have increased their sophistication when navigating the financing tools offered by the city, state and, in some cases, the federal government. “I think that CDCs have been doing a really good job in maturing and developing teams that are able to work with the market now and be creative and use whatever resources that are available to them,” she said. Adam Weinstein, president and CEO of the nonprofit Phipps Houses, said new construction picked up after the mid-2000s, when the supply of vacant city-owned buildings that could be renovated and lots ready for development began to run out, leaving nonprofits to find other solutions. “They were victims of their own success in some regards,” he said. Across the board, much of nonprofits’ activity changed from rehabilitation to new construction using tax-exempt bonds, which favor builders with more assets to buy land or assure lenders. That followed a trend of private backers taking a larger role in neighborhood development projects. In the late 1980s, all of the costs for Phipps’s rehabilitation were borne by the city’s capital budget. Now, as little as 25 percent of construction costs come from the city, he said. Phipps, an older organization, moved to the Bronx by developing settlement programs in the 1970s and larger rehabilitation projects over the following decade. To attract and keep tenants, he said that the group has provided amenities like concierges, community space and ground-floor retail at almost all of its buildings. Sosa agreed that community development corporations can be seen as less competitive than private builders, regardless of their track records of renovations and construction. “It’s just very difficult for CDCs when they just don’t have the same financing structure and equity as private developers, so they have to get more creative,” she said, adding that the city should give them more credit for the work they’ve done. One common advantage they might seek may be the sustainable energy elements that have been adopted across the board. MBD recently won a bid with Trinity Financial to build a fully affordable building at the side of the former P.S. 31 that is planned to be the largest passive-housing project in North America, featuring a school and other facilities. Phipps’s Via Verde, completed in 2012, has solar panels, a green roof, tools to harvest rainwater and other design elements to reduce energy consumption. “That’s a question that a lot of us

December 2016


have asked: Can green technology get us RFPs?” Sosa said. “I don’t know, I think it definitely puts CDCs ahead of one that’s not passive house or one that’s not LEED certified.” Breaking Ground, a homeless outreach and housing provider which builds and operates 19 affordable supportive housing properties, has focused on environmentally sustainable and architecturally significant buildings that offer sleek counterpoints to sometimes oppressive social housing that she compared to a “box” or “prison.” (All of Breaking Ground’s developments since 2005 have been LEEDcertified or embraced elements of environmentally friendly design elements.) One of its recent projects is The Brook, recognizable for its corner element that resembles a recessed red and silver Rubik’s cube, which has 190 units that serve low-income and formerly homeless adults as well as community space and support services provided by BronxWorks. Brenda Rosen, Breaking Ground’s president and CEO, said that even though the Bronx is cheaper than other boroughs, the nonprofit, which

opened the building in 2010, wouldn’t be able to acquire the land today because of rising land prices. “We’re still able to develop, but acquiring sites is not nearly as easy,” Rosen said. “Acquiring sites that are close to public transportation are getting more and more difficult. When developers like Extell and others start buying up property in the South Bronx, you know that something’s really changing.” Rosen said that while some nonprofits may be “competing for land,” they were also looking at each other to understand the needs of the population and what kinds of design elements would help improve residents’ health. That means it has collaborated more with private developers as they did when developing La Central, a multibuilding development located near the South Bronx retail center known as The Hub. There are other opportunities. As part of NYCHA’s NextGeneration program, the authority is making some underused plots open for developers. The West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing has been tapped to build on one

Phipps Houses's Via Verde, completed in 2012, has solar panels, a green roof, tools to harvest rainwater and other design elements to reduce energy. (Grimshaw Architects)

of its first sites in Mott Haven and NYCHA is pre-qualifying nonprofits to streamline the bidding process for nonprofit and MWBE developers. The heads of several nonprofits, such as Breaking Ground, Fordham Bedford and Phipps, said they would pursue opportunities to build on NYCHA land. Weinstein said the most successful

Bronx nonprofits have to balance social enterprise with business principles. “We are here to ensure that the public sector, the government’s policies, are carried out with care and devotion, but we’re also an enterprise,” he said. “And you’ve gotta think like a business. You’ve got to think about issues of risk and scale and balance sheets and customer service.”



he city is backing efforts to reform the decades-old system that maintains information on billions of dollars of contracts. During a Nov. 7 hearing by the City Council’s Committee on Contracts, Michael Owh, director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services, said that with a little fine tuning, the administration could generally support three bills to modernize and streamline the Vendor Information Exchange known as VENDEX. While the system provides vital information about conflicts of interest and vendor performance, advocates have long complained about duplicative paperwork requests, lengthy processing times,

information getting lost and heavy administrative burdens. On the city side, entering the data into the computer system is labor intensive. One bill, sponsored by Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal who chairs the Contracts Committee, would increase the yearly contract amount required to fill the VENDEX questionnaire from $100,000 to $250,000. “This change would be most beneficial to smaller organizations, particularly nonprofit organizations and MWBEs who are often greatly burdened by VENDEX requirements,” she said. Owh, who along with MOCS would have a key role in working with the City Council and advocates to

The VENDEX Public Access Center in Lower Manhattan (Dan Rosenblum)

implement the changes if passed, said the increased threshold was overdue. There are about 40,000 to 60,000 transactions processed in a typical year, Owh said. In the 2015 fiscal year, about 30 were found to be “non-responsible,” meaning the organization was considered to be unable to fulfill the contract or lack business integrity. Some of those determinations were “most likely” based on sources outside of VENDEX, that might include Google, LexisNexis, Dun & Bradstreet and others. “The current statute is outdated and this new threshold would capture more than 99 percent of the dollars currently covered under the requirement while streamlining the process for many vendors,” Owh said. Two other bills would require VENDEX to accept electronic responses; and allow the public to access the information online as opposed to having to physically visit the Public Access Center near City Hall. Sets of questionnaires include information about a contractor’s legal structure, past performance and financial viability; the principal questionnaire asks detailed information about the officers at the head of the organization. Owh asked for tweaks to the bill to ensure protections for some of the most sensitive information collected, which can include Social Security numbers, home addresses and salaries. The amount of paperwork is

staggering: nonprofits may have to answer hundreds of questions per submission. MOCS received 12,661 packages in the year that began in July 2015; Since July 1, it has gotten more than 4,500, Owh said. He also said MOCS would be open to discussing options for streamlining the questionnaire to exclude redundant information collected in the IRS Form 990 other governmental forms, as well as those other databases. “I feel a task force coming on,” Rosenthal said. It wasn’t immediately clear how long it would take to implement the changes, if passed. The Human Services Council, which has lobbied for similar reforms, also supported the legislation. “We’re really in favor of anything that digitizes or automates things because from the nonprofit perspective, it just cuts out so much extra work, anxiety, stress and also risk of error,” said HSC Senior Policy Analyst Tracie Robinson. In some smaller organizations, she said, program staffers may be involved in addressing clients as well as fundraising, drafting business proposals and completing compliance forms such as those for VENDEX. “For us, these changes will have a real impact on communities because it will free up time and resources, particularly among smaller organizations, so people can spend time doing what the city pays them to do, which is deliver services,” Robinson said.


Issue N°13






ew York is a place where vast human needs coexist with deep philanthropic generosity. The potential to bring them together for positive impact is a daily inspiration for those of us in the nonprofit community. Yet sometimes the sheer enormity of our goals – like ending homelessness in a city where 61,000 adults and children sleep in shelters on any given night – poses the challenge of how to engage supporters in a specific and meaningful way. So this holiday season, we at Jericho Project pushed ourselves to ask, “How can we offer our partners concrete ways to tackle a seemingly intractable problem?” We know our donors and supporters are passionate about our work that annually enables 2,000 individuals, children, veterans and young, largely LGBTQ adults, to move from homelessness to fulfilling lives. But we also considered what was important to our partners and their mission. And we realized that a key priority is being able to engage their employees. This realization was the genesis of our new grassroots campaign – Jericho Project’s First Annual Day of Action – to raise awareness about homelessness in New York and to connect individual volunteers and corporate employees with the people they want to help. This city-wide initiative addresses the “Who, Where and How” of our campaign: We are connected to a wide team of volunteers by way of interested corporations; we are bringing them together at Jericho’s supportive housing residences where positive change is occurring, and we will provide them with actions to make a difference in the lives of fellow New Yorkers grappling with


homelessness and poverty. Here are the steps we are taking to build our Day of Action: • Access the corporate changeagents who can connect us to volunteers. We reached out to our existing corporate donors, nonprofit partners and many more. We decided that each sponsor could “own” the activities at one of our locations, allowing them to place their own volunteers there and help fund the activity. We secured nine corporations and nonprofit organizations including Viacom, Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo, and nonprofits like K.I.D.S Fashion Delivers. By taking this approach we already have a critical mass of participants to make the day a success. • Put a face on the invisibility of homelessness: Volunteers will work shoulder to shoulder with each other. They will also meet the families, veterans, and individuals who have found the security of a home at Jericho and experienced the transformational effect of our services for employment, health and well-being. This collaborative approach also achieves our larger goal of creating a broader sense of community among New Yorkers. • Make it tangible and flexible: Volunteers will feel that they are able to accomplish a specific goal to help others improve their lives or prospects for the future. They can participate in physical projects such as holiday decorating, or food or cold weather clothing drives and distributions. But if volunteers have a particular expertise, they can also help

people achieve longer-term goals through resume writing or financial literacy workshops. Volunteers can join for a few hours or a full day. We are excited and optimistic about the outcome. We welcome the nonprofit community and hope you will join or follow us:

o f

#JerichoDayOfAction2016 Tori Lyon is CEO of Jericho Project, a 33-year old nonprofit ending homelessness at its roots through the stability of supportive housing and comprehensive services for employment, health and wellness.

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December 2016



CIRCLE UP Midtown Workmen's Circle School engages young Jewish students in social issues By DAN ROSENBLU M

Saul Ferholt-Kahn and Hannah Temple look closely at a political cartoon depicting immigration at the turn of the 20th century. (Photo: Dan Rosenblum)


n a recent morning in a small office-turned-classroom, three 11-year-olds preparing for a trip to Ellis Island interpreted the political undertones in a century-old political cartoon about immigration. As they did so, the trio – Saul Ferholt-Kahn, Moxie Strom and Benjamin Ro – digressed to discuss costume ideas for the next carnival for the Jewish holiday of Purim. “We already did the political thing last year,” Strom said. “We always do political things,” came the reply from one of her peers, as they continued to reflect how the previous holiday’s costume portraying the biblical character Mordechai as Bernie Sanders went astray without a wig. Conversations about comedian John Oliver, the immigration status of the workers who built Trump Tower and the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, are not unusual for these children. In fact, those discussions are encouraged at the Midtown Workmen’s Circle School, where a generation of young social activists is being nurtured during classes held on Sundays throughout the school year. The organization’s lessons build on its Judaic roots to thread together moral context from the Torah, social activism and labor vernacular from early 20th century Jewish emigrants, and current issues. The organization runs a network of eight schools which together serve 300 students and are a progressive bulwark in a country that, at least at the federal level, has lurched to the right. Launched in 1990 by a group of parents with about two dozen students, the Midtown school now

teaches about 35 kids ages 5 to 13 each year. During the three-hour Sunday sessions, kids’ chatter can be heard emanating from rooms, along with klezmer music and Yiddish. “People don’t talk about social justice until high school, and so I have to adapt a lot of materials,” educator Hannah Temple said to students in her class while looking through educational texts meant for much older students. Projects can include trips to Ellis Island and the Lower East Side Tenement Museum to compare previous generations’ immigrant experiences to the present day. “They get engaged in a different way than when we’re learning history straight up, for example, because I think that young people don’t have a lot of opportunities to be taken really seriously,” Temple said. She plans lessons that can be tied to advocacy, upcoming holidays and other activist groups’ events. The year ends with a Purim production. An ally of the “Fight for 15” campaign to raise the hourly wage to $15, Circle kids went to fast food restaurants on Mother’s Day to deliver cards of support to working mothers. “When our kids are on the front line, it sets a whole different mood than anything adults can do,” said Josh Fraidstern, co-president of the school’s 10-member parent board. The Workmen’s Circle, founded in 1892 by a group of Eastern European immigrants, became a national order in 1900. The group, “closely tied to Jewish unions, the Yiddish labor press and the Socialist Party,” reached a peak of 87,000 members

in 1925, according to the American Jewish Historical Society, which holds 90 years of the Workmen’s Circle’s records. The group’s profile retreated as emigres assimilated into American society and use of the Yiddish language diminished. Today, the Circle – in alignment with a 2013 study that found that three of five Jewish Americans believe that Judaism is mainly about culture or ancestry – focuses not on religion but a secular mixture of heritage, progressive values and history. “The way we express our Jewish identity is through activism,” said Ann Toback, the executive director of the Workmen’s Circle. “I meet people constantly who tell me that ‘my grandfather was a member,’ and so on and so forth, and didn’t know that we still exist,” said one parent, Mitch Horowitz, as children chattered outside the door of an office. “Not only do we still exist, we’re not just some archive or museum, as you can see, we’re quite active. I think that people often feel somewhat reassured and kind of stoked that this old socialist organization is not only still around but has young faces and is still quite active.” Horowitz, whose 9- and 12-yearold kids attend classes, joined eight years ago. At the time he thought the group was an “old-time lefty organization” but didn’t know there was a youth element. He considered joining one of the many synagogues in the tri-state area, but said he was looking for something that “more structurally challenged the inequities of our society.” As a result of their involvement, Horowitz said his kids are likely more aware than others that fast food workers, waiters and other retail workers may not be earning the pay or benefits they deserve. But during the week, the focus returns to just being a kid. “They’re a great deal more interested in Pokémon Go than they are in democratic socialism, so it doesn’t necessarily present a social friction,” Horowitz said. “But I think the (weekday school) teachers appreciate it because, frankly, I think they appreciate hearing from any kid who just has maybe a slightly different perspective on a current issue.” Toback, who has led the organization since 2008, guided it through a rebranding and began focusing on expanding the schools. About five years ago, the group moved from the East Side of Manhattan to the Garment District, where many of

the base of laborers who formed its early foundation would have worked decades ago. “It’s back to our roots, but it’s starting fresh,” she said. The organization also offers Yiddish classes for adults, summer camps and a volunteer-led teen community service group which performs projects such as volunteering for the Special Olympics, visiting senior centers and participating in the New York Cares Day of Service. Since the election, as incidents of bias-based crimes have increased, students have been engaged in lessons on standing up to hate speech and responding to religion- or race-based bullying. Toback said the school’s underlying message is “no one goes it alone.” The group, which has revenues of more than $2.6 million, is funded primarily through private grants, membership dues and a “long-term sustaining grant,” according to its most recent report. While many of the classes at the shule are subsidized by the group, tuition ranges from $700 per year for kindergarteners to $1,300 for a series of Bar and Bat Mitzvah preparation classes. There are discounts for siblings. A staff of about a half-dozen work part-time while 30 to 40 parents volunteer on an occasional basis to bring food, assist teachers and clean up. The Midtown school (along with four others in New Jersey, Brooklyn and Long Island) attract kids from across the area, with outreach mostly via word-of-mouth. Beth Zasloff, now the director of the Midtown school, first became involved when she signed her child up for the program – though her great grandfather was active in his chapter in Central Pennsylvania many years ago. Zasloff helps develop curriculum and works with the main organization, which operates from the Midtown school. In an age where kids are often engrossed in social media, Zasloff said the face-to-face interactions kids experience during the Sunday classes help build community, social connections and empathy. “Many of our kids are still too young, even for social media, so I think for kids of a certain age, it’s the only way to have a really multi-sensory experience.” Fraidstern appreciates the activist values the program teaches children. Circle kids aren’t just bystanders. “It’s not a remote control, you’re not calling in your vote, you’re not just active on social media, but you are physically and emotionally – but particularly physically – involved in how the world’s gonna be,” he said.


Issue N°13




Make the Road New York organizer prepares youth volunteers to get out the vote on Long Island on Saturday, Nov. 5. (Make the Road New York)


n a Saturday in the growing Latino immigrant community of Westbury, things weren’t going well for Rodman Serrano. He had struck out all day. Serrano was tasked with knocking on 50 doors a day as a part-time worker for the Long Island Civic Engagement Table’s get-out-the-vote effort leading up to the elections. Most doors he rapped on responded to the 22-year-old with silence. But after wearily marking voter after voter “not home” that Saturday, one young man his age opened the door. "He said that when he's voting, he's voting for his parents – which is the same thing I'm doing.” Serrano noted that neither of their parents are citizens, and added, "he gives me hope." In spite of the election of Donald Trump, who is considered by many to be racist and anti-immigrant, nonprofits targeting immigrant and minority communities say that after a months-long get-out-the-vote


effort, they are weary but hopeful about their continued efforts to mobilize these voters. A coalition of organizations turned out large numbers of immigrant, working-class voters in communities of color in New York this election cycle. Many said they believed they met their lofty outreach goals, but the result of the presidential election shocked many nonprofit organizers. They have quickly pivoted to defending their communities and hoping that one silver lining that may emerge is the further mobilization of groups often perceived as unlikely voters. Get-out-the-vote efforts are at least as old as Thomas Jefferson’s political campaigns, which stressed voting as the duty of every citizen, said Donald Green, a professor of political science at Columbia University and author of the book “Get Out The Vote: How to Increase Voter Turnout.” New methods have emerged with new technologies,

but essentially the goal is the same: boost voter turnout in your constituency. Immigrant communities have a reputation as difficult to mobilize, because they are viewed as “low-propensity” voters with weak party allegiances, Green said. But inaction can breed even more isolation and political powerlessness. “If you don't vote,” Green said, “campaigns are less likely to target you for persuasive messages thereafter. And that means that you're even less likely to be engaged.” But it seems the country’s largest immigrant group, people from Latin America, turned out in droves to cast ballots. Compared with the last presidential election, polling group Latino Decisions reported an estimated 2 million to 3.5 million more Latinos voted this November. They say the numbers were driven by a so-called “Trump Bump” – or fear of a Donald Trump victory. New York nonprofits engaged in

get-out-the-vote efforts said they saw evidence of that bump, too. “With our partners at the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, we were able to submit more than 8,000 complete (new) voter registration forms – that’s a large number,” said Daniel Altschuler, director of civic engagement at Make the Road New York. “It’s one of the highest numbers we’ve ever recorded and we saw tremendous enthusiasm among folks to register.” Gabriella Castillo, who heads the Long Island Civic Engagement Table, said that the coalition was proud to have far exceeded their original goal to register 2,500 new voters and has managed to reach 20,000 voters of color in door-to-door canvassing. “Something that was different was that many voters were concerned and were anxious to make sure they were voting, specifically in the presidential,” said Castillo. Altschuler acknowledged that while some of the early metrics for

December 2016


success may appear low in the face of overall demographics – 20,000 immigrants reached out of the estimated 500,000 on Long Island – the groups have done well with what resources they have. “This was not a year where there were more resources available,” Altschuler said. “There was not a dramatic infusion of resources, particularly not in New York, which at the presidential level is not a swing state.” Nonetheless, in New York City, Louisa Hackett, through her organization Community Votes, trained nonprofit direct-service providers on running a nonpartisan voter mobilization campaign and saw increased engagement. "It's the first time I know that these large multi-service social service agencies have joined in (in the New York City area),” Hackett said. A 2014 report argued that such nonprofits are uniquely able to reach those least-likely to be courted by politicians those in poor, immigrant and minority communities. Five organizations – Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Global Kids, Good Shepherd Services, Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement and Phipps Houses – were trained by Community Votes to run door-to-door get-out-the-vote efforts or phone banks to encourage minority voters to cast their ballots

on election day. The groups got 955 people to pledge to vote and called 2,300 to remind them to vote. Not until next spring will definitive statistics be available on voter turnout based on government records reporting which registered voters cast a ballot, groups said. These numbers are the common standard for measuring success in get-out-the-vote efforts. However, voters’ feelings about the election results are already apparent. While every charitable nonprofit contacted by New York Nonprofit Media stressed that their voter mobilization efforts were nonpartisan as required by law, several nonprofit leaders said the common reaction to the results of the presidential election was dismay. “This is the darkest of days for our community. A demagogue who has consistently vilified our families has won the nation's highest office,” Javier H. Valdés, Make the Road New York’s co-executive director, wrote in

a press release the day after the election. “Today is a time when we find support and strength in one another. Tomorrow, we begin the hard work of advancing our movement of resistance to the anti-immigrant and anti-working family platform that Mr. Trump has put forth. And we rededicate ourselves to the long march to defeat hate and exclusion.” "There was a lot of shock and tears and mourning” following the election of Trump, Hackett said. But she echoed Valdés’ spirit of defiance and re-dedication. “We've got to get back on the horse and try harder.” Make the Road New York organized a march through Midtown Manhattan the Sunday following the election that drew thousands of immigrants and their allies, who carried banners reading “Here to Stay” and “Undocumented and Unafraid.” But after the rallies and protests subsided, nonprofits worried that the election result might discourage first-time voters and depress future

turnout in the immigrant community. Despite a sense of gloom surrounding the results, nonprofit organizers are still hopeful their communities will be galvanized to become more engaged. If they are, it would make sense, Green said. “It’s easier to get people to engage in political conduct when they are angry or disappointed,” Green said. “People want to have their voices heard when they’re in the minority.” Serrano, who ultimately knocked on more than 600 doors on Long Island, seems to embody that sentiment. ”I don't feel like all the work I did went to waste,” he said. “I think I actually helped to spark a little bit of change in communities that people have never reached out to.” "Regardless of who won the election,” Serrano said, “our community is going to be fighting and I think that that has created a lot of hope in me."


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Issue N°13




Riis Settlement seniors and volunteers worked to get the community registered and ready to vote.


hose of us who just voted in New York had to follow some pretty antiquated and cumbersome rules and procedures. Unlike voters in some other states, we could not register to vote on Election Day, we could not vote early and we could not vote by mail, unless we had a valid reason to request an absentee ballot. For the past few elections, Community Votes worked with three large nonprofits that together reach over 10,000 people living in several of the city’s poorest neighborhoods to help make sure the communities they serve didn’t let these burdensome rules keep them from voting. In 2014, Phipps Neighborhoods, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation and Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement registered new voters, asked people to sign pledges to vote and sent out voting reminder postcards. Results showed that the people reached by these efforts were younger and poorer than the average voter – and that they turned out to vote at almost double their rate from previous elections. In 2016, with professional training from the New York Civic Engagement Table and a small grant from Community Votes, these organizations continued their efforts and made thousands of voting reminder phone calls to their neighbors in the South Bronx, Queensbridge, Cypress Hills and East New York. Experience tells us that this initiative, focused solely on nonprofit voter education and engagement, will yield new and engaged voters that more accurately reflect New York City’s diverse neighborhoods. The initiative has three prongs: registering, educating and turning out voters. Registering voters: On a beau-


tiful sunny September afternoon in Queensbridge, Gwendolyn Wilson, administrative assistant for the senior center at Riis Settlement, was making sure her 15 volunteers were ready for National Voter Registration Day. They had tables set up within the public housing development and outside the local library. They had voter registration forms and “I Pledge to Vote” cards. They had questions and answers for the civics jeopardy game they were using to entice people to their tables and prizes for all who played. Organizing for this day began months earlier. The agency conducted a Community Votes art contest and invited program participants and community members to submit a piece of art with the theme “Your Voice Matters – Vote 2016!” The winning art was displayed at Riis Settlement’s annual Spring Arts Fair and used on their voter outreach flyers and banners. The local library was recruited to be a National Voter Registration Day site and its staff members were trained along with Riis Settlement staff to answer questions about registration deadlines, eligibility requirements and to practice talking about voting in a nonpartisan way. All this preparation worked. Gwendolyn said National Voter Registration Day went exceptionally well. Many of her volunteers were seniors who had signed up to work one-hour shifts – but her whole team stayed the entire four hours because they had such fun talking to their neighbors about the importance of showing up on Election Day. Educating voters: At the Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Bryan Sanchinell helps young people enter the work world. He also wants them to become community leaders. To help his students think

about how economics and politics can influence a neighborhood, he runs a workshop in which two groups of students are asked to build a community using paper, pens and masking tape – but the resources and students are not distributed evenly. One group is given 10 percent of the people and 90 percent of the materials and the other group gets 90 percent of the people and only 10 percent of the materials. Bryan explained that when he does the same workshop with young children, they immediately say this isn’t fair, let’s give some of our stuff to the other group. And even though he explains that that's against the rules, the children say “you can’t tell us what to do,” and go ahead and share some of their materials with the other group. With the older youth, every time, students accept the rule that redistributing materials is not allowed. How does this connect to voting? At the end of the workshop, everyone talks about how inequality affects their lives and why they didn’t feel they had the power to challenge the rules. Bryan uses the debriefing session to argue that voting is one way to express their opinion about how they think public dollars should be distributed to and spent in their communities – then he hands out the voter registration forms. Turning out voters: The night before the election, in a busy office inside East Bronx Academy for the Future, a public high school where roughly 70 percent of the student body is Hispanic, five students were making phone calls to remind people to vote. They were answering questions about polling times and

locations and, to their delight, convincing a few previously uncommitted voters to head to the polls. Phipps Neighborhoods, a provider of student supportive services, selected five exemplary students to do the phone banking. They started working at the end of their school day and made their last call at 9 p.m. Though many lived over an hour away, they all arrived at 8:15 a.m. for the first bell at school the next day. “Phone banking requires a good greeting, being polite and patient,” said Leon Rosa, a senior. Leon’s 18th birthday was eight days after the election, so he missed voting in what he described as a “big election.” “People need to choose carefully who we want to become president, and if everyone votes then they will get a bigger voice in what they want,” Rosa said. Lamont Scott, a senior, started his calls after track practice. “Some people don’t want to vote and I tried to figure out why,” he said. He felt good about helping to change a few people’s minds. “It is not just about the president, but also about how our tax dollars are spent on housing, schools and education.” “I want people to vote so there can be a change in the world, because whoever becomes president can help immigrants,” said sophomore Stephany Paez.

This collaborative art piece by Riis Settlement’s seniors was one of the winners of the Community Votes art contest.

Phipps Neighborhoods phone bankers made voting reminder calls.

Louisa Hackett is the founder of Community Votes, an initiative that leverages the connections nonprofits have in local communities to engage voters and, ultimately, strengthen those communities through active participation in the electoral process.

December 2016





isability – the one minority you can join at a moment’s notice. Do I have your attention? Extrapolating this truism to recognize that the disability community constitutes approximately 15 percent of the population, along with the fact that the disability community is disproportionately affected by poverty and poor health, is what motivated New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI), to devote itself to advocating for the rights of persons with disabilities some 40 years ago. Over the years, fellow advocates from across the city, state and country have joined NYLPI’s Disability Justice program. Yet, there is still much work to be done. Disability advocacy means ensuring that the rights of all persons with disabilities are respected in all aspects of their lives. Deborah Danner should not have died at the hands of a police officer who was apparently unequipped to deal with the needs of persons with mental illness. Children with learning disabilities should not be ignored, sent home and ultimately forced out of charter schools.

Persons who use wheelchairs should not be held hostage in their apartments due to non-functioning elevators and inaccessible building entrances and exits – nor should access to mammography machines or subways and buses be denied. How can we stand by when persons with intellectual disabilities are paid far below minimum wage to toil in the bowels of a turkey processing plant? Shouldn’t we be outraged when New Yorkers attempt to keep persons with developmental disabilities from living in their co-op, claiming that it will decrease property values? And can any of these individuals find true justice if our courthouses prevent both physical and communications access? One of the challenges for the disability community is its enormous diversity. It presents questions such as whether the interests of persons with mental disabilities intersect with the interests of those with physical disabilities, and whether persons who are deaf or have hearing impairments consider themselves to have disabilities. We must recognize each person’s individual needs while fighting for such over-arching principles as equality, inclusion and self-determination. A critical tool for protecting individual needs and ensuring

equality, inclusion and self-determination, is the unique mandate of the Americans with Disabilities Act (and other civil rights laws for persons with disabilities) that society do something affirmative to “accommodate” persons with disabilities. While accommodations must only be “reasonable,” and cannot present an “undue burden” or “fundamentally alter the nature” of any program, leveling the playing field may require offering sign language interpreters, readers, large print, Braille or modified schedules, policies, equipment or examinations. The nonprofit sector is one of the prime movers and shakers for disability advocacy. In addition to nonprofit law offices like NYLPI, there are countless disability-specific offices at the forefront of improving the lives of persons with disabilities by engaging in legislative advocacy, providing technical assistance and developing policies for change. Nonprofits also provide direct services to the disability community such as housing, educational programs and legal services. NYLPI works with nonprofits on virtually all of its disability rights campaigns and looks forward to joining forces with others. Here are some things every nonprofit can do to help advocate for

persons with disabilities: • Hire persons with disabilities. • Accommodate your employees and clients who have disabilities. You can learn more about accommodations by contacting the Job Accommodation Network (https://askjan. org/meet/meetTenika.html). • Make sure your agency is accessible when it comes to the physical and communication needs of your employees, clients, and visitors. You can learn more about accessibility by contacting the New York City Commission on Human Rights. • Collaborate with NYLPI and other nonprofit disability rights advocates. The disability rights advocacy community welcomes you. Ruth Lowenkron is the new director of the Disability Justice program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. She is a passionate disability rights advocate, having worked in the field for over 30 years, including stints with both New York’s and New Jersey’s protection and advocacy agencies for persons with disabilities. She counts as one of her proudest achievements founding a notfor-profit law office devoted to involving the private bar in advocating on behalf of the rights of indigent persons with disabilities.

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Issue N°13





n the early days of the de Blasio administration, the Human Resources Administration had data on how many New Yorkers were collecting Medicaid and wanted to find out how many of them could also be receiving Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits. That’s where the Robin Hood Foundation and the nonprofit Benefits Data Trust stepped in. That work ultimately helped enroll 8,000 households in SNAP, and HRA is planning to expand the program next year, a city spokesperson said. The Robin Hood Foundation, which bills itself as the city’s largest poverty-fighting organization, saw in the partnership an opportunity to learn and innovate. “We couldn’t have that kind of government data, but we were prepared to take a chance on something that hasn’t been tried before,” said Michael Weinstein, chief program officer of Robin Hood. While it isn’t an uncommon example of the partnerships between government and philanthropy, it’s a suitable template for how government’s ability to collect data and deliver services at scale can align with funders’ ability to provide money and technological capacity. New York-based grantmaking foundations distributed about $10.7 billion of the more than $60 billion given to grantees across the United States in 2014, according to the Foundation Center. Though de Blasio lacks Bloomberg's personal connections and history with heavyweight donors, the use of private foundations has anchored many of his hallmark initiatives like universal pre-kindergarten, computer science training and other policies to tackle economic inequality. And those in government and foundations say their role has been critical in testing unproven initiatives that might otherwise be hard to direct taxpayer money toward. “I think to solve the problems of the city, so to speak, it’s super complex, and you need a lot of organizations doing different kinds of things,” said Laine Romero-Alston, a Ford

Foundation program officer who focuses on “inclusive economies” that build leadership, education and training for low-wage and immigrant workers. “In general, government funding is going to really support the critical programs and service delivery that’s necessary.” She said organizations who are able to qualify for government funding tend to be larger, leaving philanthropy to help smaller groups that often have more community reach. “Just to compete for a government RFP and implement that, you have to have a certain level of capacity,” she said of the funding. “And oftentimes, it doesn’t then meet the needs of the edges, so to speak.” City Hall also has an inhouse vehicle to promote its causes, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, which funds programs from the Young Men’s Initiative to those run by Department of Cultural Affairs. The fund took in $21 million in 2015, down from $26.6 million the previous year, which was about half of the level it was two years previously. (The fund spiked to $105.9 million in 2013 following a surge of Hurricane Sandy relief money.) The city is now asking funders to help address government goals that are much harder to accomplish. The New York City Housing Authority is seeking donors to fill a $17 billion budget gap through the recently launched Fund for Public Housing; the Fund for Public Health is pushing progressive goals as the city’s public hospitals corporation is teetering. De Blasio created the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships to streamline projects aimed at reducing inequality. Possibly the feather in the city’s cap is Computer Science for All, an $81 million venture to teach computer programming in schools, which is funded in part by the Robin Hood Foundation, the AOL Charitable Foundation and venture capitalist Fred Wilson. Another program, Connections to Care, is a $30 million public-private partnership linking mental-health providers to community-based organizations. “I would say that we try to think



First Lady Chirlane McCray; Ford Foundation President Darren Walker; Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships; and Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery announce the Connections to Care initiative earlier this year. (Demetrius Freeman/ Mayoral Photography Office.) about philanthropy and our publicprivate partnerships as a way to test the model, create impacts at scale, gather our evidence base and prove it,” and not look at philanthropy to fill a budget gap, said Gabrielle Fialkoff, director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships and a senior advisor to de Blasio. When government partners ask her for help to engage the private sector, “it really needs to meet those criteria of systems change or testing a model, innovation, gathering evidence, proving a case. Philanthropic money should be used to leverage public money, or to be used as a test case in ways we want to move the public sector,” she said. One nonprofit leader, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the individual’s organization receives government dollars, was generally supportive of publicprivate partnerships if they were the exception rather than the rule. Nonprofits who, unlike government, don’t have steady income from tax dollars to support their work, are particularly reliant on philanthropies and can be crowded out by the goals of the administration. “Nonprofits rely on philanthropic dollars to support ongoing programs and operations. It’s extremely difficult when we’re forced to compete with government interests for these finite dollars,” the nonprofit leader said. Darren Bloch, executive director of the Mayor’s Fund, said in response that “the vast majority of the Mayor’s Fund work is in partnership with our city’s nonprofit community – they are the backbone of what we

do. Through these partnerships, we address New York City’s most pressing challenges, strengthen safety nets and test models to find new approaches to change the lives of everyday New Yorkers for the better.” Vartan Gregorian, president of the Carnegie Corporation of New York, said that foundations can serve as a lab for new ideas or policies because they are “in the risk-taking business.” They can also absorb the blows in the transition of administrations. The Fund for Public Schools has worked to form a collaboration of education funders to support the city’s computer science, prekindergarten expansion, scholarship, internship and arts initiatives. Sarah Geisenheimer, its executive director, says projects start as a two-way conversation between the Department of Education and the organization’s funders about what each seeks to accomplish. The Fund for Public Schools has a unique relationship with the city, Geisenheimer said, because it’s the only fundraising group directly reaching the DOE. “Funding and projects that come through us have the attention of DOE leadership at a very high level and constant attention from DOE leadership, which gives (the projects) a much better potential to scale,” she said. Geisenheimer, formerly an associate director of the Rockefeller Foundation, called the opportunity to make an impact “huge.” “I mean, 1.1 million students? When I was a funder, I would dream to have that target readily available.”

December 2016




Helen Rosenthal during a 2015 City Council hearing (William Alatriste/City Council)


ts name befits a tool searching for the Higgs boson particle, but the HHS Accelerator is trying to find something that may be just as elusive: a streamlined, easy way for city government and providers to organize and pay out billions of dollars of human services contracts. Following years of complaints about the redundancy and inefficiency of the contracting process, the Bloomberg administration launched the online tool in 2013 as a gateway to standardize contracts, pre-qualify providers, streamline payments and reduce paper. Contrary to some other high-profile technology missteps, the program has been mostly lauded as a breakthrough. “It’s definitely a success story,” City Councilwoman Helen Rosenthal, who chairs the Contracts Committee, told New York Nonprofit Media. The city awards billions of dollars to service providers every year. New human services contracts totaled $2.3 billion last year, almost half of which was routed through the Department of Youth and Community Development and the Department of Homeless Services, according to a city analysis. Before the system went online, nonprofits would typically find RFPs through a patchwork of emails, wordof-mouth and web announcements, then mail their proposals (often in duplicate, triplicate or more) to agencies. Nonprofits contracting with more than one entity were often required to send the same forms to various agencies each time they applied. The new system uses a “document vault” to store forms for use across different agencies and a centralized “procurement roadmap” to track the process. The Accelerator uses a prequalification tool for vendors to manage their relationship with the city. About 2,500 providers have been pre-qualified so far, Mayor’s Office of Contract Service (MOCS) Director Michael Owh said during an October

hearing. He said the efficiency and reduction of paper waste has helped smaller, neighborhood-based providers. For example, costs for hiring drivers and printing multiple copies of proposals were reduced by the all-digital process. “I think in terms of leveling the playing field, I think it has done a ton,” he said, adding that “now, it’s not about how good your grant writer is, it’s about who is providing that answer for that service, that question that the agency has.” All human services contracts have been required to go through the system, now managed by MOCS, since the 2015 fiscal year. In a survey released last year, Human Services Council of New York reported “a high level of provider satisfaction” among its members. But getting everyone in city government to adopt the tool hasn’t been easy, according to some nonprofits. Tracie Robinson, a senior policy analyst with HSC, said that some agency staffers are still asking providers to send copies of documents that have already been shared in the accelerator. “Some are not comfortable insisting that the documents are available in Accelerator, so they honor these redundant requests,” she said in testimony to the City Council. Daniel Symon, a former procurement chief at the Department of Youth and Community Development who is one of the highest officials managing the Accelerator, said during a recent hearing that city workers often ask for redundant information from providers. “It’s a particular staff member at an agency knowing that they need to go and get something from the accelerator instead of emailing a provider to say, ‘Hey give me your certificate of insurance.’,” he said. There have been some delays with getting every agency to use a soonto-be required financials component

that streamlines budgets, invoices and payments. To date, 15 agencies are using the roadmap, including the Administration for Children’s Services, Department of Correction, Department of Education, Department of the Aging and the NYPD. Only 10 have adopted the financials tool. A total of 684 contracts worth $1.1 billion were managed last year, including for the NYPD - which used the system for the first time for a system to place trauma counselors for crime victims - but Owh said there’s been a slower adoption of the module. Robinson added that getting every agency to adopt the tool would require a “culture shift.” “Accelerator is still relatively new, and it is not always easy to move large entities in a new direction. We believe it is critically important, however, that agencies use Accelerator as required by the Procurement Policy Board Rules.” “City agencies might need further training on use of Accelerator, and they should be accountable for using

it to its full potential,” she told NYN Media. Rosenthal said the user base of about 7,000 was tilted too heavily toward the providers, who are using the tool to access or upload RFPs. “We need to increase the system users on the city agency side and make sure that the entire (procurement) team is nimble with the Accelerator and using it fluently,” she said. The city has embarked on “roadshows” and trainings to spread word about Accelerator, but the biggest driver of the program has been new RFPs. This year, the City Council started using it for providers seeking discretionary funding. Rosenthal said the tool could be useful in accomplishing larger sector-wide goals, such as allowing nonprofits to phase in hourly wage increases and a 2.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment, the city promised last year. “That’s been bogged down,” she said. “Something like the Accelerator allows those changes to be implemented much faster.”

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Issue N°13


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December 2016





he tragic death of 6-year-old Zymere Perkins put the spotlight on the New York City Administration for Children’s Services and their practices related to investigating reports of child abuse. … In response to the high profile death of Nixzmary Brown in 2006, then ACS Commissioner John Mattingly said, “the death of even one child is unacceptable.” No one can possibly disagree with this. Recently, ACS Commissioner Gladys Carrion reiterated this same point but also said what no one ever says in public which is that it may not be realistic to think we can keep every child safe. It was Nicholas Scoppetta, the first ACS Commissioner who said, “Our work is judged by our failures, not

our successes.” It is an unfortunate thing to say, but also true. Back in 1996 when Scoppetta was commissioner, the number of children in foster care increased to over 43,000 because caseworkers were trained to err on the side of the child’s safety. And yet with so many children removed from their home, there were fatalities. Today, with less than 10,000 children in foster care, there are fatalities. I am not saying we should just accept child fatalities, or that they are acceptable – because they are not. We need to continue to build on what Commissioner Carrion has done in reducing caseloads, increasing training and improving retention of caseworkers to achieve better

outcomes for children and families. We need to do our best to keep families together whenever possible and provide them with the support they need to do this. There is nothing romantic about a child being in foster care, but for those who are we must provide the best possible care. Sometimes foster care is the best and safest place for a child to be, but whenever possible, a child should be with their family – and be safe. While we have the best police force in the world and crime has dropped, we still have homicides. With the best fire department in the world, the number of fires has decreased but people still die in them. We also have an incredibly competent agency serving and protecting children but

we cannot expect it will be perfect all the time. When anything goes wrong we must make an honest and transparent assessment of what happened, address it and then strengthen the safety net we have in place however possible. Our goal must be to keep every child safe. But, we must also be realistic or we will never appreciate what has been accomplished – even as we work to make improvements. Gerard McCaffery is the President/CEO of MercyFirst which provides an array of residential and community based programs in NYC and Long Island to children and their families involved in child welfare, mental health and the juvenile justice system.



orking in the child protection field is very rewarding. It can also be demanding, difficult and draining. As the leader of the first child protection agency in the world, The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, I want to acknowledge all the professionals who work for Child Protective Services throughout the United States.

To put the scope of their work into context, these statistics might be helpful. In 2014, 3.6 million referrals alleging maltreatment were made across the United States to local state Child Protective Services involving 6.6 million children. Approximately 3.2 million cases received an investigation. Of those investigated, 702,000 children were determined to be victims of child abuse and neglect. At the New York City level, in 2014, there were roughly 89,000 reports made alleging maltreatment. Child protective services conducted over 55,000 investigations involving approximately 84,700 children. The indication rate, which reports substantiated cases of abuse, was about 39 percent, representing approximately 32,000 children. For those of us involved in child protection, we probably understood in general the personal fortitude needed and risks involved when we

signed on. But, more often than not, we didn’t realize how deeply we could be affected by bearing constant witness to the intense suffering of children. It takes a very strong and determined professional to do this work day in and day out. I have also had the privilege of hearing many of the “prideful moments” of child protective staff from New York City and throughout this country. Children being reunited with their parents after a removal for neglect, a mother finally entering a substance abuse program, a letter written by a grateful grandmother following the kinship placement of her grandson, a failure-to-thrive baby reaching developmental milestones ... Child protective staff are depended upon to protect children at risk – that is their mission. However, it’s important to realize that the parents and guardians of children who are abused and neglected are often struggling them-

selves. Risk factors include mental illness, their own childhood traumas, unemployment, domestic violence, substance abuse, crime-ridden neighborhoods, poverty and substandard housing. This certainly doesn’t excuse harming children, but it clarifies why no single government agency acting alone can address all of these issues. Ideally, a trauma-informed, collaborative, care-coordinated response that includes medical/mental health, substance abuse treatment, child protective services, education, law enforcement and housing services should be involved. Communities, neighbors and families could further strengthen this safety net for children at risk. Everyone must be involved in protecting children. Dr. Mary L. Pulido is president of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children New York and executive director of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children.


Issue N°13





aking the city’s public transit system more affordable and equitable is particularly critical nowadays with low-income New Yorkers struggling to afford bus and subway fares, and the MTA poised to raise fares yet again next year. To that end, the Community Service Society and Riders Alliance recruited more than 24 advocacy, legal, labor and community-based organizations to its campaign for


a reduced transit fare for the city’s lowest income residents. Not surprisingly, several wellknown transit advocacy groups have joined the effort, including NYPIRG Straphangers Association, the Tri-State Transportation Campaign and Transit Alternatives. Rounding out the coalition is a diverse collection of nonprofits with a shared interest in addressing social and economic inequities. They include: Community Voices Heard, Fiscal Policy Institute, Make the Road-NY, VOCAL-NY, Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, Association of Community Employment, LatinoJustice PRLDEF, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice and Bronx Defenders. Political support for giving the city’s working poor a discounted fare has also grown since we launched the “Fair Fares” campaign in April. Indeed, a majority of New

York City Council members lent their names to the campaign and Public Advocate Letitia James and City Comptroller Scott Stringer. Mayor de Blasio, who has made tackling economic inequality and creating a more equitable city a cornerstone of his administration, has yet to take an official position on the proposal. But with the fractious presidential election finally behind us and the mayor ostensibly gearing up for re-election in 2017, perhaps we will find out soon if helping low-income New Yorkers get to work, school and access economic opportunities will be a City Hall policy priority. We are calling on the mayor to include funding in his Fiscal Year 2018 Executive Budget to offer half-price MetroCards to New Yorkers between the ages of 18 and 64 living in households at or below the Federal Poverty Level ($24,036 for a family of four).

Implementation of the program could be done cost-effectively without putting additional upward pressure on MTA fares. Preliminary estimates from the Transit Affordability Crisis find that the city would have to make up about $200 million in lost fare revenue annually to the MTA. That is a reasonable price to pay to keep the buses and trains accessible for those who must depend on mass transit to get to work and job interviews, attend college and job training programs, obtain health care and experience the richness of the city’s cultural life. Making our city a more equitable place starts with ensuring our vast public transportation system and the economic opportunities it provides are affordable and accessible to all New Yorkers. David R. Jones is the president and CEO of Community Service Society.

December 2016



CAREER BOARD ASSISTANT DIRECTORS VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired is looking for Assistant Directors for two summer residential programs (in Queens and Purchase, NY) for blind and visually impaired high school youth. The programs run approximately five weeks (including staff training days). The ideal candidate has experience (Master’s a plus) in education, counseling, vision rehabilitation or a related field. For more information, please contact Melissa Phipps, Senior Director of Youth Services at



MHA in Ulster County provides a variety of service programs, including Education & Advocacy, Residential, Wellness Services, Therapeutic Foster Care, Assertive Community Treatment (ACT), Waiver Services and Children & Adult Health Homes.

As a key member of the management team, the Vice President of the Family Foster Care Program will manage all aspects of the Family Foster Care Program, including service delivery, staff development, foster home recruitment, facilities operations, budget development and allocations. The successful candidate will ensure that the Family Foster Care program meets and exceeds the regulatory standards of all pertinent governmental bodies and meets contract compliance related to the delivery of Family Foster Care services contracted by government agencies. The candidate must have a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). A Licensed Social Worker (LMSW or LCSW) preferred but not required. A minimum of 7 years experience in the field of social work and in the field of Child Welfare. A minimum of 5 years of supervisory experience is required. Exceptional communication, analytical, organizational, interpersonal, writing, and problem-solving skills.

We currently have Program Director openings in our Assertive Community Treatment Program, Residential Program, and Children’s Home & Community Based Waiver Services. MHA offers an attractive benefits package including Health, Dental, Vision, Retirement & more! Visit our website to view and apply:

THERAPISTS Therapists (LMSW, LMFT, LMHC) needed for Multi-systemic Therapy (MST) Program. Locations in both Manhattan and Westchester County, NY! Minimum qualifications: Master’s Degree in a New York State Licensable degree (incl. LMSW, LCSW, PhD, PsyD, LMFT, LMHC). Applicant must have the ability to read, write and converse fluently in a foreign language (based on agency need regarding particular languages) and to be culturally competent in the community and clientele served. Starting salary Non-Bilingual: $48,960 Starting salary Bilingual: $51,229.50 To apply online please visit our website at www. Please contact us with any questions at (914) 693-0600 x.1754.


We offer a competitive salary and benefit package. For consideration, please apply online: www.

The Service Program for Older People, Inc, (SPOP), an innovative geriatric behavioral health agency, is seeking a full time LCSW to provide psychotherapy services at our Upper West Side Clinic. The position includes providing services in clients’ homes. Excellent supervision and generous fringe benefits package offered. Requirements: LCSW. Geriatric experience, strong clinical skills, familiarity with electronic health record desired. Salary: 55K Resume to: Sandra Feist, LCSW SVP, Clinical Services

We change the way you work, so you can change the world. The go-to career center for New York’s nonprofit industry. Featuring thousands of jobs each year, NYN Careers helps large and small nonprofits fill positions ranging from directors to human resources staffers. Contact: Lissa Blake


Issue N°13


CHILD AND ADOLESCENT PSYCHIATRISTS Astor Services for Children & Families is looking for full and part-time Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists who want to make a difference in the lives of children. Candidates will provide psychiatric care for children and adolescents receiving services within residential programs, day treatment, partial hospitalization programs and outpatient counseling centers in Dutchess and Ulster Counties, NY. Duties include psychiatric assessments, development and implementation of treatment plans and monitoring of effectiveness and side effects of medication management geared towards recovery. The doctors work with multidisciplinary teams and collaborate with other providers, schools and community resources as needed; Telepsychiatry will be offered from some of our sites. Spanish speaking is a plus; recent graduates are encouraged to apply. New York State license required.



The Children’s Village is seeking the following in Westchester and throughout NY metro areas:

Public Health Solutions seeks Director, Individual Giving for our Development and Marketing department. The Director will be responsible for the identification, cultivation and solicitation of individual donor gifts and will lead major fundraising initiatives including, but not limited to, an annual fundraising event, direct mail, Raiser’s Edge management, online giving, new revenue streams, and donor prospecting and analysis. Ideal candidate: Minimum of seven years of related work experience in development, utilizing moves management best practices; experience building a donor relations program; demonstrated experience in producing fundraising events that grow revenue from year to year; strong management and problem solving skills; effective writer and communicator; organized, detail-oriented; works well under pressure and tight deadlines.

Facility Certified Pool Operator Water Safety Instructor (PT/On Call) Lifeguard On Call Barber On Call Pediatrician Medical Aide MST Therapist Psychiatrist Enhanced Wraparound Case Worker— Nassau/Suffolk CTY (LI) Director of QI Competitive salary and benefits. Apply online to:


To apply for this position please include a cover letter and visit the following link: Fv8Gbg For more information about working at Public Health Solutions, please visit our website at www. Public Health Solutions is an EOE/Minorities/Females/Veterans/Disabled

The Doe Fund is seeking a Campaign Director to join our development team. The ideal candidate will have a commitment to working with individuals with histories of homelessness, incarceration and substance abuse. Responsibilities include creating a Campaign Cabinet to engage donors; closing budget gaps through campaigns and major gifts; managing the major gifts program and more. Must have a track record of generating and expanding major gift donor base. See for more.


Please send resumes to or fax to 845-876-4578 Attention HR

MULTIPLE OPPORTUNITIES University Settlement Society of New York ( provides a comprehensive network of services to people of all ages living in the Lower East Side. The Door (, a partner organization to University Settlement, helps nearly 10,000 young people each year. Below are some of our open positions. Please visit the websites for additional information. Executive Assistant to CEO Early Child Education (various positions) Senior Accountant Case Manager (Bilingual- language requirement) Assistant Director- Major Gifts

HUMAN RESOURCES MANAGER The New York Asian Women’s Center human resource manager is responsible for building, maintaining, and retaining a strong workforce to best help survivors of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and elder abuse. Reporting to the executive director the manager also supervises an operations staff member. Non-profit NYAWC has 80 staff speaking 20 Asian languages and dialects, and is 90% funded by government contracts.

TEACHERS / MSWS-CASE PLANNERS Leake & Watts, a not-for-profit agency providing child welfare, early childhood, special education and disability services is seeking to fill important leadership both at our Biondi Schools in the Bronx as well as MSWs-Case Planners in Yonkers and the NY Metro area: Teacher Qualifications-- Certification as a Special Education Teacher in NY State; M. A., Special Education preferred. Content Certification preferred. Ability to work with a diverse population. MSW Qualifications--MSW/MA degree plus experience with families and children in a human service agency setting. Proven clinical skills pertaining to children and families are preferred. Good writing skills are neccesary. For more details and to apply go to or email resume EOE/AA

New Alternatives for Children, Inc. (NAC) is an award-winning health and social service agency located in Midtown Manhattan with 30+ years of experience serving children with complex medical conditions, developmental disabilities and behavioral health issues. NAC was recently awarded an OCFS grant to implement a Regional Permanency Center. This center will provide a range of post-adoptive, kinship and/or guardianship services to families and their children. Qualifications: NAC is seeking a candidate with strong administrative and clinical skills who is capable of developing a program that is informed by family-centered and trauma-informed services. Must be knowledgeable about the unique needs of post-adoption/guardianship and kinship families, and be committed to family resilience and preservation. LMSW required/LCSW preferred with minimum of 7-10 years of experience in child welfare, mental health or a family service agency. Must have knowledge of disability, chronic illness and mental health issues. Visit for full job description. When applying, indicate “Director of Regional Permanency Center” in subject line, and submit cover letter/resume to:

Send resumes to


December 2016


DEVELOPMENT AND COMMUNICATIONS COORDINATOR Stonewall Community Foundation is a leading LGBTQ philanthropic organization. We are also the only public foundation focused on the needs of LGBTQ people in New York City. The Development and Communications Coordinator is a central player on the SCF team, which includes three staff, a Board of Directors, and a host of volunteer committees. Relationship building, creative thinking and writing, and diligent project management are all crucial to the role. To apply, send an email to with your resume and a cover letter explaining your candidacy for the position and detailing your relationship to our mission work. Letters may be addressed to Executive Director, Mr. Jarrett Lucas.



For almost six decades, AABR has been dedicated to children and adults with developmental disabilities. We are currently seeking: MEDICAID SERVICE COORDINATOR: F/T position in our College Pt. Queens office. Bachelor’s degree in similar field and/or proven similar exp in Case Management and/or Medicaid processing required. Bilingual preferred. ART INSTRUCTOR: F/T Work one-on-one with adults with developmental disability. Bachelor’s degree and minimum 1 year related exp. SPECIAL ED TEACHER: F/T

Life’s WORC is a leading Agency which provides services to individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Autism in Manhattan, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties. We have full and part time positions available: Direct Support Professionals as well as Day Habilitation and Community Habilitation Counselors. We offer competitive salaries, excellent benefits, opportunities for advancement and a great work environment.

Email resume to Or fax: 718-321-8774

LICENSED CLINICAL SOCIAL WORKER LICENSED SOCIAL WORKERS CAMBA’s three family shelters, located in Queens and Brooklyn, want to expand the range of mental health and related services to families with children in shelters by hiring Licensed Clinical Social Workers with supervisory experience for supervision, training mental health assessments and techniques such as motivational interviewing. LMSW as Care Coordinators for the delivery of onsite client services, including groups for families, crisis interventions and 1:1 support.

The William F. Ryan Community Health Network is a group of not-for-profit, federally qualified health centers that delivers high quality, affordable, comprehensive medical care to diverse and underserved communities. We are seeking Licensed Clinical Social Workers for several of our Manhattan clinics. Two years’ Social Worker experience in a health/ behavioral health setting, Masters in Social Work, and LCSW in NY State required.

For consideration, visit our website at www. and set up a profile to apply for open positions.

SPEECH LANGUAGE PATHOLOGIST CPW is seeking a NYS licensed Speech Language Pathologist for our Preschool program to provide therapy services for our students as per their IEP. Students have diagnoses of Cerebral Palsy and multiple disabilities. Knowledge of feeding skills, use of low and high tech AAC devices is a plus. Must be able to collaborate with school staff. Requirements: Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology NYS Speech Language Pathologist license ASHA Certificate of Clinical Competence (CCC)

Please apply to, and reference job title in subject line.

Please send resume and cover letter in MS word attachment to: and include “Licensed Social Workers in CAMBA Family Shelters” in subject line.


COORDINATOR OF RIKERS ISLAND REENTRY SERVICES Getting Out and Staying Out (GOSO) is a reentry program serving men ages 16-24 during and after their incarceration in New York prisons and jails. Hiring for Coordinator of Rikers Island Reentry Services · Recruitment, assessment, re-entry planning, and post-release outreach for clients currently incarcerated/detained at Rikers Island · Travel daily to Rikers Island. MUST HAVE A CAR! Bachelor’s Degree in required; Master’s degree preferred Send resume and cover letter to President Mark Goldsmith,

SCO Family of Services, a human services agency serving New York’s most vulnerable children, youth and families, is currently seeking an experienced, professional: Nurses Psychiatrists Therapists Counselors Case Managers Child Care Workers Teachers and Teacher Aides Positions include Full Time, Part Time or On Call openings at locations throughout Queens, Brooklyn, Bronx, Nassau and Suffolk. SCO Family of Services offers a competitive salary and benefits package including, vacation, holidays, sick days, health and dental care, life insurance, long and short term disability, 403(b) retirement account, flexible spending account, credit unions, and direct deposit. If you are interested in joining our team, please apply online at SCO Family of Services is an Equal Opportunity Employer M/F/D/V

GEC is a community-based nonprofit organization that provides educational services, living options, and life skills for children and adults with developmental disabilities. We are seeking an individual to join our staff to provide assistance with processing new employees, oversee the coordination of FMLA, disability and/or workers’ compensation benefits, respond to unemployment claims, etc. Qualifications include a High School Diploma or equivalent and 2 years related experience working in a Human Resources department OR an equivalent combination of related education and experience. We offer an excellent benefit package which includes health, dental, and life insurance as well as personal and sick days plus three weeks vacation. In addition, we contribute to a retirement plan—these are just some of the benefits we offer to our full-time staff. Salary—mid-upper $30k. Please submit resume w/cover letter to indicating “HR Assistant” in the subject line of your email. We are an equal opportunity employer.


Issue N°13


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