Monthly Archives: February 2011
February 24, 2011, 4:22 pm
New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has proposed deep cuts to the state’s budget, including money for health care, education, and social-service programs. Now a nonprofit network is trying to get the public to fight back.
Human Services Council, a group of 200 nonprofits primarily in New York City, has started a campaign called “Who Cares? I Do’’ to protest the governor’s plan, introduced this month. The council hopes to create a ruckus among taxpayers who stand to lose programs run by agencies that depend on state aid to help seniors, the unemployed, the abused, and the indigent.
“Temporary aid to needy families—employment and training, after-school, alternatives to detention programs, homeless services, and domestic violence–all have been eliminated,’’ said Allison Sesso, deputy executive director of the Human Services Council.
The group has created a Web site…
February 24, 2011, 12:35 pm
A new online map shows how states across the country are treating the arts as they work to plug big budget holes. By clicking on a state on the map, you can discover the current budget for its state arts agency, along with the proposed budgets from the state’s governor and legislature for the 2012 fiscal year.
The map—created by the State Arts Action Network, a coalition of advocacy groups—also includes information about arts advocacy campaigns. The group is still working to fill in information for some states, an effort it expects to complete in the next few days, and it will continue to update budget numbers as they come in.
The National Assembly of State Arts Agencies just published a study showing that state legislatures cut appropriations to state arts agencies by 7.2 percent in the 2011 fiscal year.
Tell us what’s going on in your state. Contact Suzanne Perry to…
February 23, 2011, 4:41 pm
Editor’s Note: Jason Sabo, senior vice president of public policy at United Ways of Texas, submitted the following post about the impact of a budget shortfall in Texas on nonprofit organizations.
Texas nonprofits are waking up fast to the potential impact of $27-billion in proposed cuts to critical state services for the coming two-year budget cycle. That’s a huge chunk of a $99-billion general-fund budget.
Facing an unprecedented budget shortfall—thanks to a $10-billion structural deficit, lower sales-tax collections, and the end of federal-stimulus money—state legislators have proposed massive cuts to all state agencies. If the preliminary budget numbers hold through the end of the session in late May, the state’s nonprofit infrastructure will be…
February 14, 2011, 10:55 am
A new study shows exactly how much cash-starved states have been squeezing their arts budgets during the economic downturn. Legislatures across the country cut appropriations to state arts agencies by 7.2 percent in the 2011 fiscal year, to $272-million. And that was the third straight year of cuts, it found, meaning legislatures have slashed spending on arts agencies by 19 percent since the recession started.
A report on the study, conducted by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, said that arts spending has never recovered from the 2001-2 recession. State arts agencies—which exist in all of the states and provide grants and other help to nonprofit arts organizations–get more than three-fourths of their revenue from legislative appropriations.
Taking into account inflation, the report said that spending has plummeted 45 percent since 2002.
The picture is not likely …
February 11, 2011, 10:20 am
Nonprofit groups across the country have felt the sting of the recession, but those in Utah face an extra handicap: Most cannot turn to community foundations for help.
Utah has only one community foundation, the Community Foundation of Utah, in Salt Lake City, that serves the broader state. It started less than three years ago and has no general endowment.
Given those limitations, the community foundation is asking the state government to help struggling charities keep their doors open.
“Our nonprofits—and the communities they serve—are more vulnerable than those of any other state,” the foundation said in a report presented last week to the Utah Legislature.
“Signs of recovery are faint to some organizations and not visible at all to many others, especially those serving rural communities,” it said. The report urged lawmakers to offer tax breaks to encourage…
February 10, 2011, 1:45 pm
Advocacy by nonprofit groups in Pennsylvania brought more than $3-billion in economic benefits to the state from 2005 to 2009, according to a new study.
The study, by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, in Washington, examined the impact of work by 13 children’s, consumer, health, environmental, and other groups.
The benefits included $1-billion in additional wages because of a campaign to raise the minimum wage, $827-million in new state funds for public schools, and $57-million to help create and maintain low-cost housing in Philadelphia.
Foundations provided 85 percent of the $26.1-million that the groups spent, a report on the study said. The advocacy work also brought non-monetary benefits like protecting clean water in rural communities and providing educational opportunities to students with cognitive disabilities, it added.
February 9, 2011, 12:11 pm
Connecticut’s newly appointed nonprofit liaison is already pushing for changes in the way the state works with nonprofit groups.
Gov. Dan Malloy, a Democrat who took office last month, appointed Deborah Heinrich, a former state representative, to the post of Nonprofit Liaison to the Governor as part of an effort to make sure the state works more effectively with nonprofits within its borders.
Ms. Heinrich is moving quickly, prompting the administration to issue a memo last week that outlines ways to improve the way state contracts are awarded to nonprofits.
Following Ms. Heinrich’s recommendations, the head of the Office of Policy and Management instructed state agencies to devise an action plan by March 31 to ensure that contracts for health and human services are completed quickly.
Many nonprofits in Connecticut complain that contracts are often put into effect long…
February 9, 2011, 8:13 am
A coalition of nonprofit groups in North Carolina is taking a novel approach in its effort to temper state budget cuts—appealing to state pride.
The goal: to persuade the governor and Legislature to raise taxes to help close the state’s multibillion-dollar budget deficit instead of just cutting spending.
Together NC, a group that includes more than 120 charities and professional associations, has posted a Web video that highlights the state’s “world-class university system” and the “public investments” that “make us the number-one place to locate a business.”
“We can stay on the path to prosperity with smart investments, not shortsighted cuts,” it says.
The video even takes a jab at the state’s traditional rival, South Carolina. “Of course, we could take a different path,” it says, while flashing a sign that says, “South Carolina Welcomes You.”
“But wouldn’t we rather…