Monday, December 28, 2009

Health Care Changes Wouldn’t Have Big Effect for Many

The NY Times featured an article about the roughly 160 million workers and their dependents who already have health insurance through an employer. As the article relates:

For many people, the result of the long, angry health care debate in Washington may be little more than more of the same.

As President Obama once promised, “If you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.”

That may be true even if you don’t like your health plan. And no one seems to agree on whether the legislation will do much to reduce workers’ continually rising out-of-pocket costs.

True, there is an important advantage for the working insured: more peace of mind for people who are worried about being laid off or would like to change jobs.

There are still many gaps to bridge between the House and Senate bills. But even before the House-Senate negotiations begin in January, both bills offer this assurance: If you lose your job or move to one that does not provide benefits, there should be better alternatives when shopping for your own coverage.

And both the House and Senate bills share the same basic goal of placing new rules on insurers so that even someone with a pre-existing medical condition, or a few years to go before qualifying for Medicare, should have a much easier time finding a relatively affordable policy.

The legislation should give most working people “the guarantee of security if their circumstances change,” said Karen Davis, the president of the Commonwealth Fund, an independent research group that has studied the House and Senate bills.

Of course, with more security will come more obligation. Congress seems likely to impose an individual mandate that will require people to be insured or face a financial penalty.

The other proposed changes for employer-provided coverage seem aimed mainly at workers whose benefits are either very generous or exceedingly skimpy. Read more here.

Save Time. Save Money. Stay Informed.

In Today's Economy, NYCON Membership is More Valuable Than Ever Before!

Thank you for being a member of NYCON in 2009! Reflecting on the challenges and changes that nonprofits have experienced this year, makes the fact that you maintained your membership in the New York Council of Nonprofits (formerly the Council of Community Services of NYS, Inc.) a real testament to your organization. We commend you on your continued dedication to sound board governance, best practices in management, organizational efficiencies and economies of scale.

What's Ahead?
In 2009 our 1,600 members helped shape a more promising future for our sector. For the first time ever we saw your stories being taken to Capitol Hill and the White House as our country's elected officials met with national nonprofit leaders to discuss issues such as capacity building and the inclusion of nonprofits in healthcare reform legislation.

On the home front, NYCON members saved valuable dollars that were reinvested into their missions. Nonprofits saved over $1 million in Unemployment costs and over $500,000 in other insurance premiums in 2008 and 2009. Members have also benefitted from purchasing programs in Dental insurance, Flexible Spending Accounts and Life Insurance.

New cost-savings programs this year from the National Council of Nonprofits, of which you are a member by virtue of your affiliation with NYCON, include discounts on background checks, a free color copier program and technology training through Idealware.

You may notice that for the first time in over 5 years, NYCON Membership dues are being raised...but by only $10! NYCON knows that in this economy membership must pay for itself and we are certain that it will continue to do so.

Renewing Your Membership Is Easy!
Steps to renew your NYCON Membership:
1. Click here to log into your account. Forgot your password? Click on "Forgot Password" button and enter your email.
1. Update Your Record. Do we have your correct Phone, Fax and Email Address? Do we have current contact information for your staff and board?
2. Pay 2010 Dues. You can pay easily online.
3. If you would prefer to renew via paper application, please send a check and an updated board list with your application.

Renew by January 15th, 2010 and be entered to win great prizes including a $100 credit to any NYCON Conference, a series of free Build a Better Nonprofit Trainings, and more!

Once again, thank you for all that you do for your community and for the nonprofit sector. If you have any questions about your memership renewal, please feel free to contact me at (800) 515-5012 ext 121 or via email at


Valerie Venezia
Vice President of Membership & Marketing

Join online or click here for a paper application.

Sunday, December 13, 2009


For Immediate Release: December 13, 2009
Contact: Marissa Shorenstein 518.474.8418 212.681.4640
DOB Contact: Matt Anderson 518.473.3885 518.248.7310

Action Needed to Address Cash-Flow Problem

Through Use of the Certification Provision, Budget Division to Withhold $750 Million in Scheduled Payments

Governor David A. Paterson today outlined what steps he has directed the Division of the Budget to take in order to keep the New York State solvent. To address a severe cash shortage and help keep the current-year budget in balance, he has ordered $750 million in reductions to scheduled December payments. The following fact sheet outlines the State’s current cash position, as well as the specific actions Governor Paterson is ordering the Budget Division to implement through its Certification Provision authority. These measures will ensure the continued operation of New York’s government.

December Payment Reductions Fact Sheet

The Division of the Budget’s most recent update to the State financial plan forecasted a current-year deficit of $3.2 billion. Additionally, the Office of the State Comptroller has said that this budget gap could be more than $4 billion. However, the Deficit Reduction Plan (DRP) that the Legislature enacted on December 2 – when combined with the administrative cuts Governor Paterson is implementing – included only $2.7 billion in current-year savings actions. Regardless of any budget actions proposed in January, measures must be taken to address the State’s severe projected cash-flow crunch during the month of December and the remainder of this fiscal year.

Background: Cash-flow Situation

Even after using $1.2 billion in rainy day reserve funds for cash-flow purposes and delaying a scheduled $1 billion pension fund payment, the Division of the Budget forecasts that, if current expenditures are made on schedule, the State’s General Fund will have a negative balance of over $1 billion at the close of December. This would represent the first time in New York’s history that the General Fund has ended a month with a negative balance. Indeed, the State’s cash position is weaker than at any point in recent history – even after the attacks on September 11.

When the General Fund has a negative balance, it is authorized to temporarily borrow money from other governmental funds (the “Short-term Investment Pool” or STIP) for a period of up to four months or the end of the fiscal year – whichever period is shorter – in order to help meet immediate cash-flow needs. However, the funds available to the State in the STIP for cash-flow purposes are limited. At the close of December, current projections from the Division of the Budget and Office of the State Comptroller indicate that STIP resources may be temporarily exhausted. Moreover, within the month of December itself, there may be periods of time when daily available fund balances are inadequate to make scheduled payments.

Background: Certification Provision

The 2009-10 Enacted Budget included a blanket “Certification Provision” that governs local assistance appropriations. It states that:

“No moneys appropriated by this [law] shall be available for payment until a certificate of approval has been issued by the director of the budget, who shall file such certificate with the department of audit and control, the chairperson of the senate finance committee and the chairperson of the assembly ways and means committee.”

In order to preserve the continued financial stability and orderly operation of State government, Governor Paterson has directed the Division of the Budget to exercise its authority to withhold certification of local assistance payments for appropriations subject to the Certification Provision.
Specific December Payment Reductions

The Division of the Budget has identified the largest expenditures that the State is expected to make in December. These include: a $2.3 billion payment to school districts for the STAR program; $1.5 billion in School Aid payments; $450 million in payments to cities through the Aid and Incentives to Municipalities (AIM) program; $398 million in payments to counties for human services reimbursements; and $247 million in payments to health insurers for State employee fringe benefits. Together, they total $4.9 billion.

Municipalities and school districts are expected to receive payments for AIM ($450 million) and School Aid ($1.5 billion) by December 15. The certificates for those payments will each be reduced by 10 percent. These reductions will help the State maintain a positive cash position over the course of the next week.

Additional payments for STAR, human services, and State employee fringe benefits are expected to be made later in the month. The certifications for those expenditures will each be reduced by approximately 19 percent. This higher percentage reflects the significant uncertainties related to cash availability at the end of the month due to risks associated with potential receipts volatility.

In total, these December certification reductions will produce a total of $750 million in cash-flow savings.

Payment Amount Reduction Payee
STAR Payment $2,295M $436M School Districts
School Aid $1,460M $146M School Districts
AIM $450M $45M Cities
GSCs (State Employee Fringe Benefits) $247M $47M Insurance Carriers
Human Services $398M $76M Counties
TOTAL $4,850M $750M

As sufficient revenue becomes available, the State will potentially pay the amounts that were delayed. As a result, these particular December reductions represent cash-management actions, rather than a permanent elimination of liability for these specific payments. Governor Paterson will announce further actions in his Executive Budget to fully eliminate the Stare’s remaining current-year deficit. He also reserves the right to institute further payment delays later over the remaining months of the fiscal year in order to preserve the State’s cash position.

Local Governments Seek to Raise Revenues through Fees on Nonprofits

The National Council of Nonprofits reported that with revenues depleted, an increasing number of local governments have been trying to tap nonprofits for funds. This excellent article summarizes why nonprofits - as one leader of the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits testified - are feeling "death by a thousand cuts" due to a proliferation of fees and assessments from local government. As a YMCA leader explained: "Nonprofits have tax exemption for a reason - they provide service to the community that lessens the burden on government. We are partners with government and the community. But as these additional fees and assessments get assigned, it comes out of our donated dollars and resources."

Allegheny County Commission (Pennyslvania) recently voted unanimously to impose $13 million in fees on tax exempt property. The County Executive, however, vetoed the tax, saying it was illegal under Pennsylvania law. When the county solicitor agreed that the tax was unconstitutional, the Commission backed off - although several commissioners reportedly vowed to search for other ways to get money from nonprofits.

Even though Minnesota law recognizes that nonprofits lessen the burden of government and therefore exempts nonprofit property from taxation, Minneapolis has tried to be creative by instead imposing a "streetlight" fee on churches and other nonprofits.

In Kingston (New York), local officials are looking to follow this emerging trend of charging nonprofits for local services. The garbage collection fee, unofficially dubbed "pay-as-you-throw," would raise nearly $1 million in revenue for the city. Local officials have also considered additional fees for public safety and other municipal services.

Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends

This new book, “Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends,” was co-edited by Dr. Steve Yuen, a professor of Instructional Technology at The University of Southern Mississippi and Professor Harrison Hao Yang at the State University of New York at Oswego and is published by IGI Global.

As education continues to integrate technological advancements into learning and instruction, a resource dedicated to the latest findings and implications becomes necessary. The Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends provides academicians, researchers, and practitioners with a comprehensive view of the historical, conceptual, theoretical, and practical perspectives of conventional e-learning and innovative e-learning 2.0. Presenting cutting-edge research, case studies, best practices, and pedagogical approaches and strategies, this defining reference source incorporates the latest and most discussed Web 2.0 technologies in educational learning and practice.

Learning has been dramatically influenced by information and communication technology (ICT). There is no doubt that ICT keeps bringing new excitement into learning and communication. Multimedia on the Internet, telecommunications, wireless applications, mobile devices, social network software, Web 2.0, etc. are all radically redefining the way people obtain information and the way to learn and communicate. Consequently, electronic learning (e-learning) has become one of the most exciting, dynamic, and yet challenging fields that we have been facing. What is the history of e-learning? Where are we now? What will the future bring? What are the key elements of e-learning we need to focus on? Where has progress been made? How will we face and rise to new opportunities and challenges? How do we analyze, design, develop, implement, and evaluate e-learning? In order to shed light on these questions, we have taken a comprehensive view and looked at e-learning and innovative e-learning 2.0 from historical, conceptual, empirical, practical, and vocational perspectives. The result is this book, entitled Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends.

Handbook of Research on Practices and Outcomes in E-Learning: Issues and Trends is written for broader audiences including educators, trainers, administrators, and researchers working in the area of e-learning or distance learning in various disciplines, e.g. education, corporate training, instructional technology, computer science, library information science, information technology, and workforce development. We hope readers will benefit from the work of authors who range from cutting edge researchers to experienced practitioners regarding the research and practices in e-learning. The book covers focal points of e-learning and is organized into five parts of e-learning: Chronical and Conceptual Perspectives (Chapters 1-4); E-Learners (Chapters 5-9); E-Learning Environments and Communities (Chapters 10-14); Professional and Disciplinary Implications (Chapters 15-19); and Pedagogical Design and Implementations (Chapters 20-29). Read more about the book here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Charities Rise, Costing U.S. Billions in Tax Breaks

The NY Times reported that the number of organizations that can offer their donors a tax break in the name of charity has grown more than 60 percent in the United States, to 1.1 million, in just a decade.

Experts say nonprofits are skillfully exploiting the tax code’s broad and elastic definition of what constitutes such a charity, making it difficult for the Internal Revenue Service, which must bless them, to say no. The agency approved 99 percent of the applications for public charity status last year, according to a new study by students at Stanford University — or more than one every 10 to 15 minutes.

Take the Woohoo Sistahs, a social club that won approval last year. Its 50 or so members meet regularly over drinks and dinner in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia and raise money for cancer research and other causes through walkathons and sales held in retailers’ parking lots.

What the Sistahs do is not so different from what the Shriners have done for decades to raise money for their hospitals — except that the Sistahs can offer their donors a tax break that the Shriners cannot because decades ago they registered as a different type of charity with the I.R.S. (Direct donation to Shriners hospitals are deductible.)

The $300 billion donated to charities last year cost the federal government more than $50 billion in lost tax revenue.

“Especially during these tough economic times, it’s troubling to hear we are increasing the number of these organizations at such a rapid pace,” said Representative Xavier Becerra, a California Democrat who is one of the few members of Congress to pay attention to the nonprofit sector.

“It’s not free,” Mr. Becerra said, “and so we need to do something to make sure taxpayers are getting a big enough benefit in return.”

Timothy Delaney, chief executive of the National Council of Nonprofits, agreed that the rapid increase in charities was an issue but said that addressing it would be extremely complicated.

“What are we going to do?” Mr. Delaney asked. “Have some bureaucrat establish a quota for arts organizations? Or after-school programs?” Read more here.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Women Who Mean Business: Mary Seeley, Nonprofit Leader

The Albany Business Review featured a story on Mary Seeley, the Executive Director for Equinox. As the article relates:

Mary Seeley had two reasons to worry when the economy stumbled.

As more people around the region began losing their jobs last year, the executive director of Equinox Inc. of Albany knew her organization would have to work harder to serve a growing number of impoverished and homeless women and children.

At the same time, she feared federal and state budget cuts might slash Equinox’s $4.5 million annual operating budget, making it more difficult for her staff of 100 to respond. Eighty-three percent of the nonprofit’s revenue comes from government sources.

“It’s been both a blessing and a challenge that we manage so many grants,” said Mary Seeley, who was named The Business Review's Nonprofit Leader in 2009. Read more here.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

NY State Council on the Arts Announces Important Changes for Fiscal Year 2011

Dear Colleagues,

As we approach the holiday season and the end of another year, I want to take a moment to update you on some important changes that are taking place here at the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA).

In Fiscal Year 2011 (calendar year 2010), we will implement a series of changes to NYSCA’s annual application calendar in an effort to further improve our grantmaking process and better serve New York’s cultural community. As a result, a number of important deadlines, including the close of registration, will now shift to earlier points in the calendar year. Given these changes, it is tremendously important that you take careful note of NYSCA’s FY11 calendar, provided below. Please pay particular attention to NYSCA’s registration deadline (January 22, 2010) and first application deadline (February 17, 2010).

I also want to take this opportunity to update you on the latest news regarding NYSCA and the New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP). As you know, NYSCA has been working with a Taskforce of funders and arts organizations throughout the past year to help launch CDP in New York State. Now, NYSCA is prepared to accept CDP Data Profiles as a part of the FY11 grant application process.

The use of CDP will be optional for NYSCA applicants in FY11, but will be required of all applicants in FY12. However, we want to encourage all organizations to begin using this powerful online tool today. To that end, applicants who have completed a CDP Data Profile before NYSCA’s first FY11 application deadline (February 17, 2010) will be able to submit the Data Profile as a substitute for NYSCA’s three-year “Organizational Budget”.

To find out more about CDP, review the information below and visit

If you have any questions about these changes, please do not hesitate to contact a staff person in your funding program so that you can work together to address your concerns.

Heather Hitchens
Executive Director

  • December 15, 2009
    FY11 Application Guidelines Available
  • January 4, 2010
    Registration Opens
  • January 22, 2010
    Registration Closes
  • February 17, 2010
    1st Application Deadline
  • February 17, 2010
    CDP Data Profile Completion Deadline (optional in FY11—see below)
  • April 12, 2010
    2nd Application Deadline

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Stewart’s Shops’ Dakes donate $3.9M to Community Foundation

The Business Review reported that local philanthropists William Dake and Susan Dake have donated $3.9 million to the Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region in Albany, N.Y., to establish a donor-advised fund.

The donation creates the Susan and Bill Dake Fund, from which the Dakes can direct money to the causes of their choice. Read more here.

Cuomo: Telemarketers big winners in charity fundraising

The Albany Business Review reported that telemarketers pocketed 60 cents of every fundraising dollar that they raised for charities in 2008, according to a report issued today by the state attorney general’s office.

An average of 39.5 cents of every charitable dollar raised by professional telemarketing companies actually went to the nonprofit in 2008, the report states.

The report, “Pennies for Charity, Where Your Money Goes: Telemarketing by Professional Fund Raisers,” summarizes information filed with the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau by professional fund raisers who conducted telemarketing campaigns in 2008.

According to the report, telemarketers raised a total of $204.8 million on behalf of 444 New York charities in 2008. In total, $123.9 million, or approximately 60.5 percent, was paid to the telemarketers as profits, fees and other costs of the campaigns leaving charities with less than 39.5 percent of the money actually raised for their causes. The report looked at 584 fundraising campaigns. Read more here.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Five Trends Help to Create "Nonprofits of the Future," Report Says

The Chronicle of Philanthropy reported that the nonprofit field isn’t going to simply bounce back a few years from now to the state it was in before the recession. That’s the message behind a new report by La Piana Consulting, which explores five trends that are hastening the emergence of a new nonprofit landscape.

Those trends are:

Shifting demographics. With new generations making up a growing share of the work force, charities must learn to share leadership with younger workers, the report says.

Technological advances. Social-media technologies provide charities the opportunity to gain greater exposure, but they also require groups to be comfortable giving more people within their organization a chance to speak out.

New ways to collaborate. With the advent of new technologies, organizations can just as easily work with an individual located across the world as they can through traditional coalitions and alliances, according to the report.

Greater interest in service. Last year’s presidential election spurred interest in volunteerism, but nonprofit groups need to keep in mind that people have many different reasons for volunteering and ought to tailor their opportunities to individuals’ interests.

Blurred lines between nonprofit and for-profit. Greater emphasis on corporate social responsibility and the emergence of businesses whose primary aim is to do good are challenging the nonprofit field’s traditional identity but are also creating opportunities for new partnerships and collaboration, says the report. Read more here or to download the report.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Budget Cuts Threaten Local Nonprofit, Times Union Piece Garners Community Comments

Center for Disability Services warns of pending cuts
From the Times Union, November 9, 2009 at 11:10 am by Chris Churchill

The Center for Disability Services, an Albany non-profit and one of the largest private employers in the Capital Region, is warning its employees that stark cuts to services and employment are looming.

The agency on Friday told its workers that budget cuts proposed by Gov. David Paterson “puts the Center’s system of care in peril.”

“We can’t endure more loss of funds and still provide basic services,” Alan Krafchin, the center’s president, said in a letter distributed to employees.

The center is based in Albany and has an annual budget of more than $100 million. Nearly all of that money comes from government sources, supplemented by private donations and a commercial mailing business the center runs.

Krafchin says Paterson’s proposed $65 million cut to the state Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities will reduce funding to the center by about $2.5 million.

Earlier this year, the Center for Disability Services shuttered day care and pre-school classroom, resulting in about 50 job losses.

The Center for Disability Services has 2,400 employees and calls itself the seventh-largest private employer in the Capital Region. It provides services to 15,000 people at 85 locations in nine upstate counties.

It is far larger than most Capital Region non-profits. But its financial concerns mirror those faced by most charitable organizations, both locally and nationally, in a down economy.

Friday, November 6, 2009

NY Voters Approve Proposal to Allow Prisoners Work for Nonprofits

WNYC reported that New York voters approved Proposition 2 this week, by a large margin.

The measure allows the state legislature to draft a law letting prisoners do work for non-profits. Some prisoner advocates say the proposition will force inmates to work for meager wages. Others say it will help rehabilitate them.

Glen Martin is a prisoner advocate for The Fortune Society, a non-profit group in Long Island City. He spent six years in prison for robbery, and says he remembers inmates hoping for work assignments, because they could get fresh air and build skills. But Martin says they should get higher wages.

MARTIN: You know, people in prison would like to get paid some sort of prevailing wages so they can have resources accumulated for when they're released. Most people are returned to very poor communities that lack resources to help them.

REPORTER: Right now, state prisoners are paid less than a dollar an hour, for work done outside prisons.

Breakfast Roundtable on Mergers Scheduled

Please Join Us For...

Everything You Wanted to Know
but were Afraid to Ask!"

A breakfast roundtable with two Executives who have a wealth of experience managing the merger process. Join us for an informal discussion with Robert Stevens, Executive Director of Literacy New York Greater Capital Region and Ann DiSaro, Former Executive Director, Albany Senior Services & Owner, Ann DiSarro Consulting

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
8:00am to 9:30am

Host: Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar
Washington Avenue Extension
Pine West Plaza, Building 3
Albany, New York 12205

This is our version of a "brown bag breakfast." Please bring your own refreshments and be prepared to engage in a lively discussion about nonprofit mergers from an Executive Director's perspective.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What's Going in the IZOCA Group?

If you haven't already, please feel free to join our online discussion group at

We've posted a number of resources and events that are of interest to Capital Region Nonprofit Leaders.

There is information on:

Don't miss out on all this great information! Join our online group today.

Apply for Parks and Trails NY capacity building grants

The deadline is November 20 to apply for Parks & Trails New York's Capacity Building Grants for not-for-profit park and trail groups. The grants, of up to $3,000, can be used to assist with activities associated with organizational start-up and development, training, communications, and volunteer recruitment and management.

Parks & Trails New York's goal is to enable not-for-profits to better fulfill their missions; improve their reach, effectiveness, and impact; leverage more resources; and increase community support for and involvement in park and trail planning, development, and stewardship. For more information call 518-434-1583.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Health-Insurance Rates Set To Rise In 2010 related that major health-insurance carriers serving Central New York are currently working to determine how much of a rate increase their customers will face in 2010.

Spokespersons for Rochester-based Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Schenectady-based MVP Health Care, and UnitedHealthcare, which has its upstate headquarters in DeWitt, say it's "too early" to provide definitive rate information for their 2010 health plans. Carriers typically file their rates with the New York Insurance Department on Nov. 30.

However, recent survey reports and interviews with employee-benefit consultants shed some light on what businesses can expect to see in rate increases. Figures in the 2009 Small Business Health-Care Reform Survey from the National Small Business, Association indicate 92 percent of respondents are planning for an increase in their premiums in 2010.

The average expected increase is 13 percent, and about 20 percent of small businesses anticipate premium increases of more than 20 percent next year, the survey found.

Consultants and brokers in upstate New York say businesses should expect to see increases of at least 6 percent, ranging into double figures, depending on plan design.

Concrete numbers on health-plan rates won't be available until early November, says Christian (Chris) Marshall, executive vice president of brokerage services with Falcone Associates, Inc. of Syracuse.

New state taxes and fees imposed on health-insurance plans earlier this year will likely be reflected in 2010 premiums, says Ross Kraft, president of the Meridian Group of New York, Inc. in Utica and current president of New York State Association of Health Underwriters. Meridian helps clients in New York and neighboring states design employee-benefit programs for-their employees.

Rates for health-maintenance organization (HMO) plans in New York could rise between 15 percent and 20 percent because it's "a dwindling pool," says Kraft, referring to the decline in the number of people who are enrolling in HMO plans.

Another upstate employee-benefit consultant, Thomas Flynn, a Rochester-based principal with the consulting firm Mercer, agrees that HMO plans could see a double-digit rate increase. Flynn also believes health insurers are trying to help employers keep costs down by promoting their consumer-directed health-care plans.

CDHPs are high-deductible plans with an employee-controlled spending account - a health-savings account (HSA) or health-reimbursement arrangement (HRA).

MVP expects CDHPs will attract a larger share of the employer-sponsored health care market because of rising premiums, Gary Hughes, MVP's director of public and community relations, said in an e-mail message. Read more here.

If you are looking for health insurance assistance for your nonprofit, contact NYCON's insurance brokerage, Council Services Plus, for assistance and information.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Save the Date: New York State’s Museums in Conversation: What Inspires You?

April 11-13, 2010
Albany Marriott, Wolf Road, Albany, New York
Sponsored by Upstate History Alliance & Museum Association of New York

Is your business seeking ways to connect to and build relationships with New York’s museums and historical organizations? Register as a Sponsor or Exhibitor for the Museums in Conversation Conference and connect face to face with your target audience. Take this opportunity to promote your services and showcase your products to the largest gathering of museum professionals in New York State!

Attached you will find the Sponsor & Exhibitor prospectus. I am happy to work with you to meet your needs, if you have questions or fresh ideas about how your organization can be involved, please contact me directly at

Thank you for your support of our 2009 conference, we look forward to seeing you in Albany!

Best regards,

Catherine Gilbert, Executive Director
Upstate History Alliance
11 Ford Avenue
Oneonta, NY 13820
UHA Office: 1-800-895-1648

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

NYS Arts Advocacy Action Alert and Update

NYS Arts related that Gov. Paterson proposed billions of dollars in spending cuts in the current 2009-10 budget seeking to close a deficit for this year that he projects at $3 billion.

In addition, he also described a dire financial picture for New York as the state faces a deficit of nearly $50 billion over the next three and a half years. Click on the governor's plan, to see the full description of his proposed cuts.

The plan, which needs legislative approval, also includes a $2 billion reduction in spending for the next fiscal year, which starts April 1.

What does this mean for NYSCA?
The final Council meeting for the current fiscal year was scheduled for October. You may recall that in this funding year, NYSCA very wisely reduced the number of Council meetings from 4 to 3, thereby reducing the exposure of local assistance grants that are funded later in the cycle.

The funding available for the final October cycle is approximately $6 million, which could be reduced by $612,000 given the proposed reduction to NYSCA in the Governor's plan. Bottom line: those groups in the third cycle will receive less funding.

This proposed reduction requires legislative approval and at this time there is no date set for the return of the Senate or the Assembly to Albany. So the time is now.
Send this email to your legislators. NYS ARTS has created a letter for you to send to your legislators. Forward this email to your friends and colleagues, members of your Board, ticket holders, and everyone you know who cares about the arts.

Other arts funding news:
There are rumblings that payments on members items contracts may be frozen. More to come as soon as we can confirm. Meanwhile stay in touch with your legislators and keep the pressure on!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Change Would Allow Inmates to Work for Nonprofits

The Times Union featured an article on a state proposition that goes to voters. As the article relates, it originated with the New York State Sheriffs' Association, some of whose members have long used volunteer jail inmates to perform tasks such as painting or cleaning town or county facilities.

In some cases, inmates had worked in cemeteries, which are non-government, raising the question of whether that was allowed. That led to the proposition, said Tom Mitchell, counsel for the association.

Sheriffs, Mitchell said, generally like having their willing inmates work.
The change would add nonprofit charitable organizations to the list of places where inmates could work. That would include charitable, religious or educational organizations.
Read more here.

Do you support this measure? Share your thoughts here.

Monday, October 26, 2009

CommonKindness Rewards Community Volunteers

CommonKindness is promoting an innovative contest to encourage community service and volunteerism. There are only 5 days left to enter!!! is accepting nominations from the general public to enter their favorite “do-gooders” in a contest to win a 5-night Caribbean Cruise, sponsored in conjunction with Cabot Creamery Cooperative and Celebrity Cruises. Nominations are being accepted through October 31st, 2009.

Seven winners making a profound difference in their communities and the world through their good deeds will be announced on Nov. 15th to win a cruise to the Caribbean for themselves and one guest, including airfare, in January 2010., Cabot and Celebrity Cruises would like to encourage and reward everyday “unsung heroes” who work so hard and selflessly to make the world a better place.

Send Your Favorite “Do-Gooder” on a Caribbean Cruise for two!
(Who knows, maybe they’ll choose to bring you along!)

In every community, there are unsung heroes who quietly work behind the scenes to improve our communities and the world.

The reward for these special people usually resides in the good work they do, not in the recognition they receive. But today you can reward your favorite “do-gooder” by nominating them to win a 5-night Caribbean cruise for two!

Simply visit to enter them into a contest to win a 5-night Caribbean cruise for two, including airfare, sponsored by CommonKindness, Cabot Creamery Cooperative and Celebrity Cruises.

Entries must be received by 11:59 pm on Oct. 31st, 2009 so act now!
Seven lucky winners will be chosen on the merit of their community service and the impact it has on their community or the world.

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Dana Valdez
Director of Operations
845-254-4535 ph
845-254-4549 fax

Friday, October 23, 2009

Forum for Nonprofits: Facing Today's Challenges...

Beth Krueger, Executive Director of ESCOT wanted to make sure everyone knows about this upcoming event. Please click for the event flyer and more information:


  • A Conversation With the Breslin Brothers: Nonprofits + Government - Interacting in Difficult Economic Conditions
  • Panel Discussion of Newly Appointed CEOs: Taking Leadership Roles in Challenging Times

Please return by Oct. 30, 2009 to: ESCOT, 391 Western Ave., Albany NY 12203

Registration, continental breakfast, 9-9:15 a.m.
Program, 9:15 a.m.-noon -
Networking lunch, noon-1 p.m.
Washington Avenue Extension and Rapp Road, Albany

FEATURING: KEYNOTERS:  Michael Breslin, Albany County Executive  Neil Breslin, New York State Senator, 46th District, Albany PANELISTS:  Lance Jackson (moderator), Consultant, Board of Directors, ESCOT; retired Executive Director, Northeast Parent and Child Society  Karen Bilowith, President and CEO, The Community Foundation for the Greater Capital Region Kevin Connnally, Executive Director, Hope House  James Salengo, Executive Director, Downtown Schenectady Improvement Corporation  Gail Wilson-Giarratano, President and CEO, Girls Incorporated

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

New York Entrepreneur Week Launches the Most Encompassing Entrepreneurial Movement in New York State History

-- Today marks the official launch of New York Entrepreneur Week (, the first and largest statewide movement unifying the most important entrepreneurial groups with the vastly diverse entrepreneurial community. Taking place from November 16-20, 2009, NYEW will feature 350 all-encompassing events including; keynote speeches from recognized business leaders, expert panels offering relevant mission-critical advice, third party events and the movement's flagship RELENTLESS business plan competition.

Unlike diluted start-up or small business events, NYEW is New York State's premier forum joining together founders, angel investors, venture capital firms and top connectors from around the world and across diverse industries. NYEW brings together groups ranging from enterprising young idea-stage innovators to hundred million dollar revenue generators. The NYEW movement provides the framework and catalyst for conquering New York's economic challenges by aggregating disparate entrepreneurial stakeholders from around the state with remarkable entrepreneurs from around the world.

-- Featured, confirmed speakers include:
- David S. Rose, Founder of Rose Tech Ventures, Chairman & CEO of Angelsoft
- Marc Ecko, Chairman & CEO of Marc Ecko Enterprises
- Steve Mariotti, Founder of the Network For Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE)
- Alexandra Wilkis Wilson, Co-Founder & CMO of Gilt Groupe
- Barry Silbert, Co-Founder & CEO of SecondMarket
- Scott Heiferman, Co-Founder & CEO of

-- NYEW is a 501c(3) non-profit organization founded by 26-year-old serial entrepreneur Gary Whitehill. Inspired by the TED conference and Renaissance Weekend, Whitehill is empowering entrepreneurs from around the world to "Stand Up and Come Together" at the worldwide hub of business, commerce and innovation.

-- NYEW is the largest aggregator of entrepreneurial events in the world during Global Entrepreneurship Week, slated to have over 350 events throughout Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, Syracuse, Rochester, and Binghamton.

-- NYEW is the only event in New York State to unite entrepreneurs with real, local, regional and international funding sources. These groups include: angel investors, venture capital firms, banks as well as non-profit and public sector agencies.
Read more here.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Flu Toolkit for Your Nonprofit!

The National Council of Nonprofits, NYCON's national partner, has announced a Flu Toolkit for your nonprofit.

What Nonprofits Need to Know About H1N1 Preparedness to Protect:
Your employees and volunteers
Your clients/consumers
Your community

The Centers for Disease Prevention and Control ("CDC") reminds us that although the H1N1 ("swine flu") virus appears no more dangerous than the normal seasonal flu, many more people than usual are expected to become ill this fall and winter because most people have no immunity to the H1N1 strain. In fact, many communities already are feeling the impact of this flu strain. The World Health Organization (WHO) identified H1N1 as a pandemic in June 2009. To date, WHO has identified over 120,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the Americas, resulting in close to 2,500 deaths. While these numbers alone are not cause for panic, they evidence the very serious nature of this flu strain. Therefore, all nonprofits should recognize and take steps to protect their own employees, as well as those they serve.

The expectations are that H1N1 will hit communities hard and that some nonprofits will be hit harder than others. In particular, schools and nonprofits providing residential services, child care, elder care and health services will be the hardest hit. But all nonprofits need to be prepared to address the needs of their clients/consumers, plus their own employees and volunteers. Board and staff leaders must recognize that they are responsible to ensure the continuity of the nonprofit's business operations and that a serious flu outbreak could have a very serious impact on mission fulfillment.

To help you, the National Council has prepared special resources to provide your organization, its members, and your board members, employees and volunteers with up-to-date information, sample policy language, and other tools to help your nonprofit weather the flu season in good order. Click here for the Flu Toolkit Now!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Paterson orders state agencies to trim $500 million in spending

The Central NY Business Journal reported Gov. David Paterson today directed state agencies to cut $500 million in current-year spending.

The action represents a reduction of about 11 percent in each agency's 2009-2010 non-personal services budget.

Those budgets cover all operating costs outside salaries and benefits. The expenses include travel, vehicles, leases, energy, postage, consultant contracts, and equipment.

Paterson also recommended that commissioners turn to more employee attrition and severance payments, beyond those assumed in their work-force reduction plans, to lower payroll costs.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ten Behaviors of Managers Who Excel---in tough times

A conference to strengthen the effectiveness of managers & supervisors who work in non-profit organizations


Management is a demanding job under the best circumstances. During these tough economic times, the tasks of management are especially difficult, particularly for those working in the non-profit sector. With fewer and fewer resources, the role of management can seem overwhelming, requiring you to juggle multiple priorities and demands. You must be able to help staff deal with constant changes, budget cuts, staff reductions and wage freezes. This is in addition to the normal responsibilities of performance management, delegation, team development, coaching and conflict resolution. You balance the roles of leader, coach, cheerleader and score keeper. And do all this in the midst of constant changes and shifting priorities.

You may feel overwhelmed as a supervisor or manager. Perhaps you have had little or no training in how to be a successful manager. Maybe you want a refresher course on management covering all the latest information on essential management strategies. Join us and let us help you learn to excel as a manager.

This one-day, fast-paced, comprehensive seminar will provide you with the knowledge and, most importantly, the skills to improve the productive work of your staff. We will emphasize how we accomplish the same job, or even more, with fewer resources. Whether you supervise a staff of one or 101, we will provide the basic skills training, as well as build on the skills you already have, to enable you to succeed in the many facets of your job. You will leave this program with the confidence and ability to create a strong winning team of competent employees.

When & Where:
Albany, NY Thursday, December 17, 2009 Holiday Inn 205 Wolf Road 12205

Buffalo (Amherst), NY Friday, December 18, 2009 Holiday Inn 1881 Niagara Falls Blvd. 14228

TIME: 8:30 AM - 3:00 PM (Lunch is Noon-1:00)

Cost: $135/person. This includes morning coffee and rolls as well as training materials. (NOTE: Funding restraints and cutbacks have affected us all. This is our effort to help by offering this at our 2005 price.)

Certificate of Attendance for 5.5 clock hours will be provided.

Here are just a few of the questions we have addressed in recent workshops:
“How do you...”
manage people you previously worked with or are friends with?
manage experienced employees when you are new?
set your priorities when you are busy putting out fires?
delegate work when you know employees are already overworked?
deal with problem employees so other employees don’t feel resentment?
develop commitment in employees in spite of constant changes they face?
motivate with little or no raises possible?
help diverse members of a team work together and value their differences?
know when to be involved and when to let employees work out their own issues?
help employees feel ownership for results?
manage volunteers instead of paid employees?

2631 E. Sierra St.* Phoenix, AZ 85028
Phone: 602-674-0911 Fax: 602-997-5010
Call or e-mail any questions or to register. May we send you some references?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Study: CEO Salaries At Nonprofits Up In 2008

NPR reported on a new study by The Chronicle of Philanthropy, released Monday, shows that the top pay at the nation's largest nonprofits rose again last year, with some eye-popping results. But the survey also found signs that these high-dollar salaries may be starting to turn around. Read more here.

The interesting issue here is that it included only large nonprofits. In fact, the Chronicle stated that there median salary level was over $400,000. How can NPR or any other news source draw conclusions on salary levels for nonprofits increasing, when the majority of organizations aren't even included (or given a voice)? It is news stories like this that are problematic and tarnish the sector, even though the figures apply to a minority of nonprofits. Have your own thoughts, share them here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

New round of grants for park & trail groups aim to boost organizational capacity

Parks & Trails New York is offering a new round of Capacity Building Grants for park and trail groups in New York State. The grants, of up to $3,000, will strengthen not-for-profit organizations that are working to build and protect parks and trails in communities across the state --- helping to not only provide places for close-to-home, healthy physical activity but also generate additional tourist dollars to strengthen local economies. Funds can be used to assist with activities associated with organizational start-up and development, training, communications, and volunteer recruitment and management.

Deadline for submitting applications is November 20, 2009.
For more information email or call 518-434-1583.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Next Meeting: "The Leaders Challenge: A Heart for Mission & A Head for Business"

Please join us…

October 16th, 2009
8:30am to 10:30am

Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet Hospitality Center
385 Watervliet-Shaker Road Latham
Cost: Please bring $5 (for light breakfast)

"The Leaders Challenge: A Heart for Mission & A Head for Business"
How Nonprofits Can Balance Bottom Line & Community Need

Running a nonprofit is serious business. And just like any business your organization can indeed make money, run efficiently, measure outcomes and determine a return on investment for your donors. But unlike other businesses, nonprofits have a “double bottom line.” A community based nonprofit (whether a human service group or a cultural institution) is also a business that measures their impact in “doing good” for the community.

Exactly how do you measure that? How do you maximize community "good" as well as profit?

Our panel of experienced executives and business leaders will give us insight on how to balance the “heart for mission and head for business” question that nonprofit execs struggle with every day.

Topics that will be discussed include:

  • How we want our nonprofit community to be viewed. How do we feel about the word “business” when referring to nonprofits?

  • The importance of new thinking when it comes to running a nonprofit business. How do we move away from “we’ve always done it that way.”

  • Compensating quality staff in a competitive environment. What can we offer as a total package and how do we communicate that?

  • What are some tools different nonprofits are using to manage more effectively?

Join us for this exciting opportunity to learn and share with your Executive Director peers from around the region.

Chris Burke, Executive Director, Unity House, Inc.

Beth Coco, Founder, MicroKnowledge
Kevin Connally, Executive Director, Hope House, Inc.
Ann DiSaro, Former Executive Director, Albany Senior Services &
Owner, Ann DiSarro Consulting

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama visit to Troy's Hudson Valley Community College confirmed

President Barack Obama will give a speech in Troy, N.Y., next week on education, the economy and high-tech job creation occurring in the Capital Region.

Obama plans to speak at Hudson Valley Community College at 11 a.m. on Sept. 21. More details were not immediately available; a call to the White House press office was not returned.

“We are very excited about the president’s decision to showcase Hudson Valley Community College on a national stage,” the two-year college said on its Web site today. Read more here.

Free Social Media Forum Set for September 22 at Cohoes Music Hall

The Business Review reported that an Albany, N.Y., social networking company will host a forum this month to help businesses make better use of social media.

The free forum will be held Sept. 22 from 7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. at the Cohoes Music Hall. The forum’s host, iZoca Inc., said the event will help companies discover ways to use social media to communicate and collaborate with colleagues and potential clients as well.

“In addition to traditional marketing, business leaders must now utilize social networking Web sites to stay ahead of their game,” said iZoca president and CEO Jeffrey Goronkin. “At the same time, professionals are struggling to figure out which ones are most effective for their needs.”
Among popular social networking Web sites are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. IZoca, a 2-year-old company, distinguishes itself from other networking sites because members create their own groups.

For more information, call 867-7940. The event is being organized at, and also at

State unemployment rises to highest level since 1983

The Central NY Business Journal reported that New York's unemployment rate climbed to 9 percent in August, up from 8.6 percent in July, according to new data the state Labor Department released today.

August's rate was the highest since April 1983, according to the department. The state's unemployment rate was 5.7 percent in August 2008.

New York's private-sector job count fell by about 2,200 in August, less than 0.1 percent, to about 7.1 million. Read more here.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What Can Nonprofit Groups Do To Save Money, Energy and the Environment?

The Schenectady ARC will host a FREE workshop entitled "What Can Nonprofit Groups Do to Save Money, Energy and the Environment?"

The workshop will be held in room 233 of Schenectady ARC's 214 State Street Offices.
The presentation will be conducted by Mark De Chiro Regional Coordinator for the Capital/Saratoga Region Energy $mart Communities Program c/o the New Your State Energy and Research and Development Authority. Information about NYSERDA program will be available. The event, which will be one hour in duration, will begin at 8:00 a.m. with registration at 7:30 a.m.

To Register, please contact Mark Sheehan, Schenectady ARC's Director of New Initiatives, at 518.372.1160, ext. 8217.

SPONSOR: Schenectady ARC
WHEN: 9/22/2009 at 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 a.m.
WHERE: 214 State Street, Room 233, Schenectady, NY 12301
SPEAKER: Mark DeChiro
FOR MORE INFORMATION: Contact Mark DeChiro or call 518.542.5175 or email

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

NYS Association for Rural Health 8th Annual Conference Set

"The Year of Integration..... One Silo at a Time"
September 22 and 23, 2009
Ramada Geneva Lakefront, Geneva, NY

The New York State Association for Rural Health invites you to join your collegues at the Eighth Annual Conference, "Year of Integration....One Silo at a Time". Known to many as the premier conference on rural health issues in New York State, the event features presentations and panel discussions with nationally renowned experts and leaders on todays' most critical health issues.

We are proud to host this year's event at the Ramada Geneva Lakefront located on one of the largest Finger Lakes, Seneca Lake, surrounded by grape fields, wineries and dairy farms. The history of Geneva is usually told with reference to its Seneca nation roots, but the modern small city we see today owes much of its character to the development of the canal system in the 1800's. Seneca Lake was incorporated into the canal system, including the Erie Canal, and shipping could reach anywhere in the world from Geneva. That influenced the development of the community and is still true today, although the canals are now primarily used for recreation.

In keeping with the farming and silo theme, the three tracks of focus for 2009 are Best in Show, Agility and Conformation.
  • Best in Show, leadership and quality sessions addressing health care improvement and leadership development
  • Agility, addressing healthcare workforce issues to meet the needs of rural communities;
  • Conformation, speciality tracks on oral health, elder care, information technology and environmental health issues.

Click here for link to full brochure
Keynote Speaker will feature U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand, New York (invited)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Paterson decides on over 80 bills

Buffalo Business First reported that Gov. David Paterson signed or vetoed more than 80 bills over the course of this week—and many of them will impact business.

In all, Paterson approved 68 bills. He also vetoed 14 bills that would have required $5.4 million in state spending, citing the need to cut state spending while the state must erase at least a $2.1 billion budget deficit.

“We will not reach that destination [a balanced budget] by undertaking expenditures that are not absolutely necessary,” Paterson said in one veto statement.

Among the business-related bills that Paterson signed into law are ones that:
• require energy companies seeking to build new electric transmission plants to pay fees of up to $450,000 to help communities have their voices heard in the siting process. The law will help communities and municipalities, “many of which are strapped for cash and are currently unable to hire the experts necessary to intervene effectively [in the siting process],” the bill’s sponsors said.
• enable the state Department of Labor to bring court actions against employers to collect underpayment of wages and other damages on behalf of employees.
Under the bill, for the first time, such action can now be taken against partnerships and limited liability companies, which are becoming more popular forms of starting a business. The bill also raises the minimum possible civil penalty that employers face for wage law violations from $200 to $1,000. The maximum penalty is now $10,000, five times its previous size.
• authorize state regional economic development offices to help small- and medium-sized businesses comply with state and federal regulations and permitting processes
• require most state agencies and public authorities to create a “mentor-protege” program where experienced state contractors assist “emerging small, minority- or woman-owned businesses.”
• expand membership on state advisory boards for small businesses and minority- or woman-owned businesses. The bill also gives the boards more power to enable companies to access state assistance programs.

In addition, Paterson signed a law banning drivers from texting or e-mailing from a portable electronic device while they are driving.

Paterson also vetoed 14 bills, including one that would have created a fund to boost early-stage commercialization of new technologies.

Under the bill, the New York State Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation (known as NYSTAR) would have had to give out awards to academic institutions, regional technology development corporations and other entities for such work. Each award would have been worth between $500,000 and $1 million.

The bill’s sponsors said the commercialization work “could potentially have a positive impact on existing companies or lead to the formation of new companies in New York.” Paterson, however, vetoed the bill, citing the state’s budget deficit.

Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of The Partnership for New York City, praised the veto. The nonprofit group is comprised of a 200 CEOs from corporate, investment and entrepreneurial firms downstate.

“This bill would have committed the state to allocate funds to new business development activities that are more appropriately carried out by expert investors in the private sector,” Wylde said. “The state does not have the resources to fund discretionary programs. The best way for New York state to encourage economic growth and job creation is through the reduction of taxes.”

State legislators are expected to hold a special session in Albany next month to attempt to erase the projected $2.1 billion budget deficit. Paterson has previously said he intends to propose a budget-balancing plan that does not include new or higher taxes and fees.
Legislators can also try to override the vetoes.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Small Business Administration Offers YouTube Channel

The Central NY Business Journal reported that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced the launch of its channel on YouTube, the popular video-sharing Web site."

With millions of visitors, most of them under 35, YouTube offers a prime opportunity to use current technology and the appeal of a popular online platform to further promote the agency's programs and services," SBA Administrator Karen Mills said in a news release.

The SBA hopes to reach this audience with its message of entrepreneurship, the importance of small business to the nation's economy, and information on the agency's programs and services.

The SBA YouTube channel ( debuted with a 60-second introduction to the agency, its programs and services, and a 10-part "Delivering Success" series co-produced with the U.S. Postal Service.

Future content will cover how small businesses can take advantage of the loan programs in the economic-stimulus package, government-contracting opportunities, exporting to increase market share, and counseling and training on how to start and grow a small business, according to the agency.

Monday, August 24, 2009

NYS Arts Update: Budget Issues Ahead

There is a $2.1 billion hole in the current NYS budget and word has it that the state will have a 'negative cash flow' around November!!The $2.1 billion shortfall in NYS's budget is a result of plummeting sales and income tax receipts, according to the Division of the Budget. In response, the Governor has said that further action is needed to control spending. Sound familiar? Expect this to be the precursor to mid-year budget cuts. Again.We anticipate that the Legislature will convene in SEPTEMBER to discuss budget amendments (read "cuts") to the current State budget.

WHAT CAN WE DO? Start setting up appointments NOW to meet with your legislators at home right after Labor Day. Discuss the impact of the arts in your community. You know the drill: letters, brochures, stories that tug at the heart and at the economic epicenter of our communities. Need your legislator's contact information?

NYS ARTS will begin our online campaigns after Labor watch your inbox for action items in our Online Advocacy Center.

Although lawmakers cut more than $17 billion to produce the current FY 09-10 $131.8 billion NYS budget, it appears clear that new spending cuts-or new revenue-will be needed.

New revenue is not happening since: a)Income tax collections already dropped 35% in the first quarter of the 2009-10 fiscal year. The drop was $584 million more than had been projected in May; b) Sales tax collections fell 6%. That was $159 million less than expected; c) Wages across the state are projected to fall 4.8% in 2009, the largest drop ever recorded. This will produce a ripple effect that will affect all of the state's revenue sources now and over the next four years; d) Other reductions and increased public-assistance costs have contributed to the gap.

And these are all first quarter reports. One must assume that the second quarter reports will look gloomier.

The budget deficit is projected to grow to $4.6 billion in 2010-11. This is an increase of $2.2 billion from the estimate in May. It is expected to reach a cumulative $38.2 billion over the next four years. And the state's general fund may be in negative cash flow by November or December, requiring it to borrow from other state funds.

And here is the latest salvo:As Voter Disgust With Albany Rises, So Do Calls for a New Constitution (NY Times)

Now in the weeks since a partisan power struggle in the State Senate brought New York's government to new heights of chaos, a growing chorus is calling for a more radical approach: a constitutional convention to rewrite the state's very political DNA.
Read more here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dear Nonprofit Leader,

I write to urge you to check out the following blog post. You know I have never done this before, so it must be important. And it is.

As nonprofits across the country have been going to our federal officials to discuss how their health care reform plans affect nonprofits, we keep hearing government officials say things like: "Gee, we hadn't thought about nonprofits as employers."

So, in this blog column, the President of the National Council of Nonprofits points out how nonprofits keep being taken for granted and urges nonprofits to "beat the drum" to "remind government that we exist, and we exist at a scale that should not and cannot be ignored any longer."

In this Great Recession, our nonprofits are being asked to meet increasing community needs with decreasing resources - while also paying escalating costs, such as constantly increasing health insurance premiums. As the blog column warns: that "math just doesn't work."

If you agree that our government officials shouldn't ignore, overlook, or forget about nonprofits, then please join me and the New York Council of Nonprofits by contacting our federal officials to urge them to respect the more than 60,000 nonprofits in New York by including us in health care reform in a meaningful way.

Let's all "pick up a drum" and start making some noise, telling our stories about how New York's nonprofits add real value to local communities and individual lives every single day. Otherwise, we will be forgotten - which would be "unfair and unsafe to those depending on services we deliver and the benefits we provide."

Contact Your Senators:
Gillibrand, Kirsten E. 478 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510(202) 224-4451
Contact Senator Gillibrand Now.

Schumer, Charles E. 313 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510(202) 224-6542
Contact Senator Schumer Now.
Click here for your members of Congress

Thank you again for the work that you do and for raising your voice on behalf of our nonprofit community here in New York.
Doug Sauer, CEO
New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Most New Yorkers back health-care reform in Siena survey

The Central NY Business Journal reported that nearly three-quarters of New Yorkers believe health-care reform is long overdue, but respondents are split over whether current proposals will adequately address the problem.

That's according to a special survey on health care and personal finances the Siena (College) Research Institute (SRI) released today.

When asked to consider the current proposals, 35 percent of respondents supported the plan, 26 percent opposed it, and 39 percent said they needed more information.

In the survey, SRI asked respondents to consider the effect of a government insurance option on private insurers, the potential impact on senior citizens, and the affordability and quality of reform based on current proposals.

Nearly 80 percent of respondents have either been paying a great deal or some attention to the national debate over health-care reform, according to SRI.

At the same time, the survey's 538 respondents continued having concerns over the economy.
One of every seven New York households saw a family member lose a job or had the need for their work eliminated over the last six months, the survey found.

In addition, less than 40 percent of state residents have been able to save money for retirement over the last six months, and only 41 percent have a savings account with enough money to pay household expenses for six months, according to SRI.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Senate and House Divergence in FY2010 Appropriations for Nonprofits

Rick Cohen, the Nonprofit Quarterly’s national correspondent, offers the following Report:

Appropriations start in the House of Representatives, but require action from the Senate as well in order to pass a budget. The Senate’s Committee on Appropriations started to make some budget headway just this past week, passing a number of bills that will require negotiations and blending with their House Appropriations counterparts in conference committee.

Where is the Senate’s attention on issues of concern to the programs and finances of the nonprofit sector (knowing full well that nonprofits should be attentive to and involved in every aspect of federal government budgetary matters, not just those that lead to money filling nonprofit coffers)?

Here is the beginning of a budgetary travelogue of the recommendations from Senate appropriators:
Corporation for National and Community Service: The House appropriators cited problems with the CNCS management to cut $90 million from the White House budget recommendation, zero out the Volunteer Generation Fund, and slice $15 million from the Social Innovation Fund. The Senate doesn’t agree. It actually added $8 million onto the Corporation’s budget, perhaps reflecting that the Serve America Act which will greatly expand community service programs in this agency had its genesis with national profile bipartisan support from sponsors Ted Kennedy (D-MA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), the former seriously ill after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor in 2008. The Senate has the full $50 million in its recommendations for the Social Innovation Fund and $8 million for the Volunteer Generation Fund. At least in the formal committee text of the appropriations report, there is not a mention of managerial issues within the Corporation or reference to any of the findings of the Inspector General.

Read the rest of the detailed Cohen Report here.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

NY lawmakers use campaign money as personal piggybanks

The Journal News reported on politicians often unrestricted use of their campaign money, including highlighting donations to nonprofits. As the article related:

What does spending $861 on hot sauce or $18,750 on a 2009 Cadillac sedan have to do with serving in the state Legislature?

For Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, D-Binghamton, her office explained that she dipped into her campaign account to purchase personalized bottles of Hot Shots "Road Kill" sauce to give as party favors to supporters last month.

And Sen. James Alesi, R-Perinton, whose district covers a large part of Monroe County, said he does a lot of driving in the course of his work. Thus he chose to use campaign money to pay for some of the cost of his new Cadillac.

"I put about 40,000 miles a year on my car traveling around the district," Alesi explained.

Lupardo holds an annual "Blues and Barbecue" fundraiser that draws several hundred people, so "she had wanted to do something to just give back to the supporters," aide Michael Kennerknecht said of the sauce from Hot Shots of Charlotte, N.C.

From leasing cars and paying for airline flights to sponsoring Little League teams and contributing to charities for cancer victims, New York's election laws give lawmakers plenty of leeway on how they can spend their war chests.

Former Senate Republican Leader Joseph Bruno, who resigned last year and is battling federal corruption charges, used $441,373 from his campaign coffers to pay legal bills between January and the end of June. Bruno once bought a pool cover, saying it was related to his political duties because he regularly entertained.

Good-government groups have been pushing for stronger laws on the use of campaign contributions. New York law prohibits using the money for things that are not related to a political campaign or holding a public office.

But it is "too vague to provide any meaningful restraint," according to a report earlier this year by watchdog organizations.

The groups are proposing to restrict spending to uses that promote a candidate's election, and to ban expenditures like country club dues, legal fees, utility payments and rent. New York has among the weakest campaign finance laws in the country, advocates said. Read more here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Future Generation Looks Bright for Nonprofits

During a recent project in the Capital Region, I met a high school student, Travon Jackson, volunteering with a local historical society. He and a friend have outlined an idea for a grassroots effort in the community focused on education and accessibility. He is looking for guidance and ideas on how to make this concept a reality. Share your feedback here or feel free to e-mail him directly. We can only hope that more students take an interest in the nonprofit sector and work to improve our communities with similar ideas.

The Idea: A non-profit organization dedicated to furthering the intellectual depth of the community and encouraging an enthusiasm for knowledge.

Our Niche: A community-minded organization that provides an intellectually and socially stimulating environment at minimal public expense.

What makes us unique?
Location in the community we hope to serve
  • Many colleges and universities offer free courses online in the form of pod casts, lectures, tutorials and complete online classes. Most of these online methods, while beneficial to individuals, have no relation to the community and provide little opportunity for social interaction.

Non-Profit Motivation

  • Without the element of profit, our motivation comes solely from genuine concern for the community and our efforts can be directed -towards bettering the community instead of bettering our annual revenue.

Future Possibilities:

  • Partnerships with local universities for student teaching credit.
  • Class instruction by local volunteers, educators with degrees.
  • Classes taught in Morning, Afternoon and Evening time slots.

We want to provide accessible education in subjects relevant to young or undereducated individuals. With genuine care for the community, desire to better others and an open-minded approach to education we want to be a positive influence that helps to empower the community.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Council Services Plus, the insurance brokerage of the NY Council of Nonprofits, informs nonprofits that Governor David Paterson has signed 3 of his healthcare reform proposals into law:

S.5471 (Breslin) / A.8400 (Peoples) - extends state mini-COBRA from 18 to 36 months. Effective date is July 1, 2009 and shall apply to all policies and contracts of insurance issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such date.

S.6030 (Breslin) / A.9038 (Morelle) - allows for dependent care coverage of children up to 29 years of age. Effective date is September 1, 2009 and shall apply to all policies and contracts of insurance issued, renewed, modified, altered or amended on or after such date.

S.5472-A (Breslin) / A.8402-A (Morelle) - HMO reform act. Various effective dates depending upon the specific provision of the bill.

Stay informed about insurance developments or receive assistance with your insurance needs from Council Services Plus. Contact them at (877) 501-4CSP or by e-mail.

Friday, July 31, 2009

National Council of Nonprofit Policy News

This information is provided on behalf of the National Council of Nonprofits to share with New York Council of Nonprofits and its members.

Senate Appropriators Act to Fund More of the Serve America Act - including the Nonprofit Capacity Building Fund
After a significant slash in the Administration's request for the Serve America Act appropriation on the House side (HR 3293) - the House cut $90 million of the President's Budget Request for $259 million - the Senate Appropriations Committee acted this week to maintain that request and add more to grow the number of AmeriCorps volunteers and to launch new programs. A Senate floor vote is next, but it is not expected until September after Congress returns from its August recess. Learn more.

Nonprofit State Associations Meet with White House Office of Social Innovation and Advocate on the Hill
In an historic first, 80 nonprofit leaders from our State Association network, representing more than 20,000 organizational members from across the country, met July 14 with a senior White House official to explore ways government and nonprofits can best partner to serve local communities. Read our Press Release. (Note: NYCON was a part of that meeting)

Federal Legislative and Regulatory Developments
Health Care Reform Impasses Breaking Down as Difficult Negotiations Continue
Nonprofits can raise their health care reform issues with their members of Congress over the August recess, because the anticipated pre-recess votes will not occur due to reform discussions slowing down on Capitol Hill. The slow-down has come in the House in the Energy and Commerce Committee where "Blue Dog" fiscally conservative Democrats are a force, and in the Senate Finance Committee (SFC) where the daily negotiations of six key Senators continues. Critical issues that dominate are how to bend the cost curve of health care in this country so that reform is fiscally meaningful, whether a public plan will be an option, and whether - and on what terms - an employer mandate to provide insurance coverage will exist. Read more.

Restrictions on Legal Services Corporation Possibly Diminshed
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies approved the FY 2010 appropriations bill covering the Legal Services Corporation (LSC) on June 30. Notably, it would remove restrictions on LSC grantees' state, local, and private funds. Read more.

Tribal Charities Fairness Act Introduced
This bill would amend Section 7871 of the Internal Revenue Code to allow Indian tribes to be treated the same as state and local governments when they provide funding to charitable nonprofits. Learn more.

Discretionary Appropriations for Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Probably Increasing
Both the House and Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies appropriations bills include major discretionary spending programs - in the $160 billion plus range - administered by key departments that influence the health, education, and working opportunities of many nonprofit clients. Learn more about the specific appropriations levels.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

State Tax Revenues at Record Low, Rockefeller Institute Finds

The NY Times related that the anemic economy decimated state tax collections during the first three months of the year, according to a report released Friday by the Rockefeller Institute of Government. The drop in revenues was the steepest in the 46 years that quarterly data has been available.

The blow to state coffers, which the report said appeared to worsen in the second quarter of the year, reflects the gravity of the recession and suggests the extent to which many states will probably have to resort to more spending cuts or tax increases to balance their budgets.
Over all, the report found that state tax collections dropped 11.7 percent in the first three months of 2009, compared with the same period last year. After adjusting for inflation, new changes in tax rates and other anomalies, the report found that tax revenues had declined in 47 of the 50 states in the quarter.

All the major sources of state tax revenue — sales taxes, personal income taxes and corporate income taxes — took serious blows, the report found.

As more people lost their jobs, took pay cuts or worked fewer hours, personal income tax collections fell 17.5 percent in the quarter. Weak retail sales sent sales tax collections down 8.3 percent. Corporate income tax collections, which are often highly variable, declined 18.8 percent. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Survey: Nonprofit Mergers, Sales Not On The Table

The Nonprofit Times reported on a recent Nonprofit Finance Fund survey that related very few organizations are even considering mergers or selling assets. Instead, nonprofits are more likely to develop worst-case scenario contingency budgets and engage more closely with their board.

Nearly half of respondents (48 percent) said they would freeze all hires and current salaries or have funder conversations to explain the situation and/or use of currently restricted grants to “keep their doors open in difficult times.” Only 4 percent called it “business as usual” and plan no change.

Asked what type of technical assistance would be helpful to their organizations, respondents most wanted “tools to communicate financial picture to the board and/or funders” and “financial scenario planning” with some also looking for assistance analyzing their current financial situation or program finance analytics.

About 16 percent anticipate being able to cover operating expenses in both 2009 and 2010. More than half expect the recession to have a long-term (more than two years) or permanent negative financial effect on their organizations. Read the full article here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

NYCON launches Interim Executive Leadership Program

Are You Looking for an Exciting Opportunity to Lead a Nonprofit Organization?
Consider becoming an Interim Executive Director!

What is the Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program? The Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program is designed to help meet the needs of nonprofit agencies as significant numbers of nonprofit executives are expected to retire over the next 5 years. The Interim Executive Director Leadership (IEL) Program is a comprehensive training, placement and support initiative designed for qualified, experienced nonprofit professionals in transitional nonprofit Executive Director/CEO positions in New York State. Interim Executive Directors trained through our program will provide effective transitional leadership to nonprofits in order to strengthen organizational health and effectiveness during a time of transition.

Consider Becoming an Interim Executive Director if you are a:
Current and/or former executive director with successful experience in nonprofit executive management;
Nonprofit professional who is currently or have already served as an Interim Executive Leader who would like to be involved with this initiative and receive specialized training to augment and build upon their current skills;
Nonprofit Professional or consultant who clearly demonstrates executive leadership knowledge, abilities, maturity and effectiveness.

Program Dates & Locations: Please note that space in the training sessions listed below is limited. Registrants must complete an application process that includes submission of a writing sample and at least one reference. Candidates who successfully complete the training and secondary evaluation process may be placed into Interim Executive Director positions through this program.

August 18th, 2009 - Albany, NY NYCON Main Office, 272 Broadway, Albany, NYTime: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Cost: $150, Training Materials & Lunch Provided

August 20th, 2009 - Rochester, NY United Way of Greater Rochester, 75 College Avenue, Rochester, NY Time: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Cost: $150, Training Materials & Lunch Provided

For more information click here or please contact: Jennifer Lockwood, Program Director 454-5062 x. 102