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.

Nominations are being accepted at through 11:59 pm October 31st, 2009. Winners will be announced on November 15th, 2009. Valued at approximately $3,244, the cruise is scheduled for January 23rd – 28th, 2010.

Remember to visit every week to save an average of $1,300 a year for your family on your groceries and other purchases. CommonKindness offers thousands of online coupons and discounts accepted at most supermarkets and retailers near you.

Best of all, every time you use a coupon or discount with CommonKindness, funds are generated to help support the charities and causes you are passionate about - at no cost to you!

Each time you use a coupon or online discount with CommonKindness, companies posting their offers pay advertising fees. CommonKindness shares 60% of its income with the causes and charities you choose from more than a million non-profit organizations already included on the site.

CommonKindness supports the charities and causes you are passionate about by putting money into your pockets instead of taking it out!

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?