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NYN Media Podcast: Surveying the nonprofit operating landscape

Friday, June 10, 2016

UNH Executive Director Susan Stamler was interviewed for City and State's podcast along with Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s former deputy mayor of health and human services; Jeremy Kohomban, executive director of Children’s Village, which serves struggling families throughout Southern New York state; and Lew Zuchman, executive director of SCAN NY, which serves high-risk families in East Harlem and the South Bronx.

To listen to the full podcast, click here.


Susan: "The first thing to keep in mind is that government often talks about being a partner with the nonprofit community but it’s really no way to treat a partner if you expect them to fully provide a service and yet you only pay part of the funding. So the first thing that needs to happen is to rebalance the relationship and recognize that we’re actually more than partners – we’re the reason why the City functions. The first thing to do is looking at the risk relationship and the answer is very simple – just pay the full cost. Pay what it costs to not only run the program adequately but making sure that the sector that is delivering is able to do so and not go bankrupt."

Lilliam: "The City essentially has delegated to the not-for-profit world the actual delivery of services. So it’s even beyond a partnership. The not-for-profit world is the service delivery arm of government. So it needs to be funded that way."

Susan: "It’s not a level playing field whereby people say, “here’s the problem let’s get the best possible thinkers around the table with this pot of money and figure out how to get there.” Rather we find ourselves playing this bizarre game of very complex systems to have a delivery system that looks at dollars that doesn’t always look at neighborhoods and doesn’t always measure the same kinds of outcomes we might think needs to happen to get you to the best place."

Susan: "It’s important to recognize that philanthropic dollars could never supplant government dollars. Period. That’s important to say again and again. I think that philanthropy has an important role to play but it should not be to bail out the government and help the government fund what they want to fund. Because every time there’s a program that requires a match they’re basically picking the pockets of private foundations. So whereas in the past foundation funding would go to be innovative, would be as people would call the icing on the cake. Now it’s the lights in your office. So that whole formula is not working. And my favorite little pet peeve is that every government agency has a 501c3. I unfortunately cannot collect taxes. I have to rely on foundations. I’m just shocked that government can easily go to the same funders that support nonprofits and ask for money – the money that should be going to the human services not for profit community. That to me is completely shocking."

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