March 26, 2020
RE: Immediate Release of FY2019 and FY2020 Budgeted and Registered Contract Funds
Dear Governor Cuomo, Leader Stewart-Cousins, Speaker Heastie, Mayor de Blasio, and New York City Comptroller Stringer:
Thank you for your leadership and support during this global pandemic. As you know, community-based organizations provide front-line resources to New York State’s towns and cities, are uniquely positioned to deploy resources immediately, and are one of New York State’s largest employers. Hundreds of millions of dollars flow through these non-profit organizations annually from City, State, and Federal agencies in the form of programmatic and capital grants.
To assist these organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic, the following leaders in New York State join together to request the immediate release of 85% advances on all FY2019 and FY2020 New York State registered contracts.
• There is precedent for contract advances. An 85% contract advance works within the State’s existing contract advance guidance and allows New York State to retain 15% of the contract until completion of specified grant projects. This 15% retention gives New York State leverage should a grantee not abide by contract requirements.
Furthermore, we ask for flexibility in budgetary guidance and reporting.
• Understanding that each contract is different, the guidance and budgetary flexibility should be left at the discretion of the jurisdictional agency managing the contract.
As you know, New York State has the authority to audit each grant to ensure funds are spent appropriately. There are existing safeguards for significant grant advances. These safeguards are in place for logical reasons and should continue to be used to prevent fraud while ensuring New York State funded projects are completed in the spirit of the grant award.
This funding is critical for community-based organizations to retain staff, ensure front-line essential services are provided, assist businesses and downtowns during the mitigation period, and create a framework to establish a structure for economic recovery. We must use every resource in the State to reduce pressure on unemployment while also being strategic about economic mitigation and recovery efforts. Our community-based organizations are trusted partners. We have relied on these organizations for generations to provide services to our communities. The State has an obligation to support these organizations at this time.
It is our hope that this recommendation could allow thousands of providers to retain employees while also providing frontline services and strategic recovery efforts.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter.
Hon. Michael A. Blake, NYS Assembly, 79th District | Hon. Keith Powers, New York City Council, District 4 | Derrick Harry Lewis, Founder, The Bronx Foundation | Eileen Newman, Center for Bronx Nonprofits | Abby Jo Sigal, Here to HerE | Jennifer Jones-Austin, CEO, Federation of Protestant Women Agencies | Raul Russi, CEO, Acacia Network | Michael Brady, CEO, Third Avenue Business Improvement District | Marlene Cintron, President, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp. | Jason Duchin, Co-Executive Director, DreamYard | Demetris Giannoulias, CEO, Spring Bank | Rehana Farrell, Executive Director, Youth, Inc. | Eileen Torres, Executive Director, BronxWorks | Jessica Clemente, CEO, Nos Quedamos | Edward Summers, PhD, Bronx Private Industry Council | Lourdes Zapata, CEO, SoBRO | Afua Atta-Mensah, Esq., Executive Director, Community Voices Heard | Eva Neubauer Alligood, LISC NYC | Jennifer Tausig, Executive Director, Jerome Gun Hill Business Improvement District | Lisa Sorin, President, The Bronx Chamber of Commerce | Jill L. Johnson, CEO, Institute for Entrepreneurial Leadership | Joyce Rivera, Founder/CEO, St. Ann’s Corner of Harm Reduction | Viviana Bianchi, Executive Director, Bronx Council on the Arts | Wanda Salaman, Executive Director, Mothers on the Move | Maria Lizardo, Executive Director, NMIC | Haydee Morales, Executive Director, Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education | Phoebe Boyer, President and Chief Executive Officer, Children’s Aid.