New York City’s nonprofits face an unprecedented threat to be able to serve our city. Our sector is committed to ending COVID-19. But, the government's responses to support nonprofits have not been enough. Nonprofit New York, in partnership with many other nonprofits, wrote the below letter and demands to our government leaders of all levels. Join us in signing on today.
Open Letter to Our Government Leaders from New York City’s Nonprofit Sector
March 20, 2020
We are committed to ending this pandemic. We demand clear commitments.
New York City’s nonprofits face an unprecedented threat to be able to serve our city. Our sector is committed to ending COVID-19. But, the government's responses to support nonprofits have not been enough. Nonprofits face an immediate financial crisis, while now protecting our communities against a global pandemic. We called upon philanthropy, and they are responding. The scale of this crisis is beyond the resources philanthropy alone can solve. Nonprofits demand immediate, explicit action and commitments from the city, state, and federal government to endure the COVID-19 pandemic and recession.
New York City’s nonprofits employ 16% of the private workforce, 6% higher than the national average. In the Bronx we are 34% of the workforce, in Staten Island 25%, in Brooklyn 21%. What makes our City vibrant? Our arts and cultural organizations that employ 300,000 people and pay over $20 billion in wages, attracting global tourism. Who serves New Yorkers disproportionately impacted by this crisis? Our health and human service organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, through 3,000 organizations employing over 40,000 people. We are faith centers, philanthropic institutions, schools, theatres and arts education centers, advocates, environmental justice champions, musicians, and sites of housing, community, and economic development among many other fields. Nationally we contribute $900 billion to GDP and employ 12 million workers. We are part of the infrastructure and vitality of our city, state, and nation.
Nonprofits are called upon first to respond in times of crisis. Yet much of our sector operates in a precarious financial position. 40% of organizations have no cash reserves, 10% are insolvent, and less than 30% are financially strong. Despite many leaders’ calls to build a stronger foundation for our sector for years. Nonprofits must shift our work to respond to COVID-19, in a financial predicament partially government made. Government has outsourced its obligations to nonprofits, paying us at a rate much less than the government would spend providing services directly. Our front line workers have borne the brunt of chronic underfunding.
Organizations face near impossible choices when our communities need us most. Staff furloughs or layoffs; suspend services this week or next. Some have one to two weeks of cash left. Even our largest institutions are suffering significant deficits and layoffs. Gig artists are out of work. Part-time workers laid off. Underpaid health and human service workers are asked to shift and work more, in high-risk positions. Yet government responses for contracted nonprofits - both arts and human service - have been slow, unclear, and out of touch with our circumstances. We need a comprehensive, firm commitment from the government. Health and human service organizations need supplies, staffing, resources for testing and treatment and clear guidance. Arts organizations need to know if they will be open after the pandemic. Intimate partner violence organizations expect increased demand from social isolation. Socially isolated people are turning to remote arts and entertainment - critical for mental health during times of isolation - while government leaders are asking artists to create this culture for free. Civil rights defenders are responding to the rise in anti-Asian racism and xenophobia endorsed by our highest levels of our government.
Our organizations celebrate, employ, and serve the marginalized in our society as artists, as workers, as constituents, as communities we represent: transgender and gender nonconforming, undocumented, people with disabilities, people of color, women, immigrants, people living in poverty. Those in the margins will be subjected to greater harm in the weeks ahead, and must be centered in this pandemic and recession.
We are confident our sector will rise to the challenge. But we cannot continue without the resources to do so, without being included in recovery actions, and without guaranteed commitments from government partners. No more vague promises. Nonprofits demand our contributions to end the COVID-19 pandemic be clearly recognized and valued.
- All levels of government must include nonprofits in economic recovery effort
- All levels of government must ensure healthcare for all our community members; our uninsured and undocumented are afraid to get tested
- All levels of government, including the federal OMB, all federal agencies, all state agencies, the Mayor’s Office and all city agencies must commit to honoring budgeted contract levels to ensure organizational continuity; agencies should work with and listen to umbrella organizations like the Human Services Council, United Neighborhood Houses, New Yorkers for Culture & the Arts, Dance/NYC, Nonprofit New York, and United Way of NYC who are the direct link to impacted communities
- All levels of government should fund immediate needs and emerging demands, like testing, space for quarantine, supplies, increased intimate partner violence and bias violence against Asian communities
- Congress must pass an economic stimulus package that includes $60 billion specifically for nonprofits
- Congress must ensure universal unemployment benefits that includes undocumented workers, sex workers, and other cash-based workers
- Congress and federal agencies must mandate business insurance cover losses incurred from COVID-19, and force majeure clauses include bacterial and viral infections
- The state must coordinate a centralized response to all contracted nonprofits, commit to paying budgeted contract levels through FY21, and streamline the process and templates to change scopes of work
-The state legislature must include freelancers and gig workers in the state’s paid sick leave
-The State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene must provide clear guidance to our nonprofit health centers on testing and closure protocols
-The state legislature must pass legislation ensuring business insurance cover losses incurred from COVID-19, and force majeure clauses include bacterial and viral infections
- The Small Business Services Department must expand the employee grant retention program to include all nonprofit organizations
- The Small Business Services Department must expand the COVID-19 loan program to nonprofits
- The Department of Finance must place a moratorium on debt and tax payments for nonprofits and small businesses losing revenue during this recession
- The Mayor’s Office of Contract Services must suspend the wet, notarized signatures on contracts requirement while our organizations practice social isolation
- All city offices, including DCLA, DOE, HDC, EDC, DOHMH, ACS, DYCD, DSS, DFTA, Mayor’s Fund, and Council Discretionary must commit to paying budgeted contract levels in full and advance through FY21, declare new guidance supersedes previous inflexible guidance, and streamline the process and templates to change scopes of work
SIGNATORIES (as of 4/7/2020):
"I Have A Dream" Foundation
A Better Jamaica
Academy of Medical & Public Health Services
Advocates for Children of New York
African Refuge, Inc.
African Services Committee
Agahozo-Shalom Youth Village
AHRC New York City
Alice Austen House
All Stars Project, Inc.
Alley Pond Environmental Center
The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter
AMERICA ON TECH
American Ballet Theater
American Debt Resources, Inc.
American Documentary, Inc.
The American Friends of the Ludwig Foundation of Cuba
American Scottish Foundation
Anat Gerstein, Inc.
Arab American Association of NY
Arts Business Collaborative
The Arts Connection
Arts Council for Wyoming County
Arts in a Changing America
Asase Yaa Cultural Arts Foundation
Asian American Arts Alliance
Asian American Federation
Association of Nonprofit Specialists
Audre Lorde Project
Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities
BAFTA New York
Ballet Tech Foundation
Bannon Consulting Services
Bard Graduate Center
Barrier Free Living
Bay Street Theater
Bedford Stuyvesant Family Health Center
The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute
Billion Oyster Project
Bowery Residents’ Committee (BRC)
Boys and Girls Club of Harlem
Breakthrough New York
Bronx Children’s Museum
Bronx Council on the Arts
Bronx Mercy Center
Brooklyn Academy of Music
Brooklyn Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project
Brooklyn Bridge Park Conservancy
Brooklyn Children’s Theatre
Brooklyn Community Foundation
The Brooklyn Historical Society
The Brooklyn Music School
Brooklyn Rescue Mission, Inc.
Building Sustainable Borders 501c3
CAI / Cicatelli Associates Inc.
Callen-Lorde Community Health Center
The Carpenter Center for Visual Arts
Casita Maria Center for Arts and Education
Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of NY
Center for Book Arts
Center for Bronx Nonprofits
Center for NYC Neighborhoods
Center for Remembering & Sharing
Center for Urban Pedagogy
Center for Urban Rehabilitation and Empowerment
The Century Foundation
Chances and Changes, Inc.
Change for Kids
Chenango County Council of the Arts
Chicken & Egg Pictures
Children of Promise, NYC
Children's Health Fund
Chinatown Manpower Project
The Children's Law Center
Chinese Methodist Center Corporation
Chinese-American Planning Council
The Chocolate Factory Theater
Churches United For Fair Housing
City Lyric Opera
CityMeals On Wheels
The Classical Saxophone Project
Cindy Rucker Gallery
The Climate Museum
Coalition for Asian American Children and Families
College Art Association
Columbia Business School
The Committee for Hispanic Children and Families
Common Threads Project
Community Mediation Services, Inc.
Community Organization of Southern Brooklyn
Community Resource Exchange
Comprehensive Youth Development
Concrete Safaris, Inc.
Council on American-Islamic Relations, New York
Council of Peoples Organization
Court Appointed Special Advocates of NYC
Create Communicate Celebrate
Creative Photographers Guild
Crossroads Clubhouse - Serving Adults with Mental Illness
Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation
Damayan Migrant Workers Association
Design Trust for Public Space
Dieu Donne Paper Mill
Directions for Our Youth
Divine Intervention Institute
Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance
Dream Lighter Inc.
Dress for Success Worldwide
East Egg Project Management
Edible Schoolyard NYC
Educational Video Center
Engineering Conferences International
Ensemble Studio Theatre
Episcopal Actors' Guild
ESPI: City Smart Scholars
Extreme Kids and Crew, Inc.
Fitchburg Art Museum
Flatbush Development Corp
Flatbush Tenant Coalition
Foundation for the Global Compact
Fordham Law School's Feerick Center for Social Justice
The Fortune Society
Friends of Hudson River Park
Friends of Island Academy
Friends of Karen, Inc.
Friends of the Children New York
Friends of the High Line, Inc.
Friends of WHEELS
Funders for LGBTQ Issues
Future Leaders Incubator
Garden of Hope
Gbowee Peace Foundation Africa-USA
Girl Be Heard
Girls for Gender Equity (GGE)
Girls Inc. of Long Island
Girls for Gender Equity
Global Crisis Interventions
Good Shepherd Services
Good Counsel Services, Inc.
Gospel Assembly Queens
Gowanus Dredgers Canoe Club
Grand Street Settlement, Inc.
Greater Bethel CDC
Greater Sheepshead Bay Development Corporation
Growth for Good
The Guidance Center of Westchester
Haiti Cultural Exchange
Hance Family Foundation
Harkness Foundation for Dance
HARMONY LABS, INC.
Harlem School of the Arts
Hartley House, Inc.
Harvard Business School Club of New York
Heights and Hills
The Hepatitis C Mentor and Support Group
The Hispanic Society of America
Hollis Avenue Church
Homeless Services United
Housing Conservation Coordinators
Hudson River Community Sailing
Human Services Council
Hungarian Human Rights Foundation
ID Studio Theater Performance and Research Center
Inspirational Triathlon Racing International
The Interchurch Center
The International Legal Foundation
International Network for Public Schools, Inc.
I'RAISE Girls & Boys international
Island Harvest Food Bank, Long Island
Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement
James Beard Foundation
Japanese American Association of NY
Japanese American Social Services
Jessica James Consulting
Jewish Community Center of Staten Island
Jewish Federations of North America
Job Path NYC
Jon Schueler Estate
Junior Achievement of New York
Kavelman Group Philanthropic Advisors
Kennedy Children's Center
Kids Creative 404 Inc.
KidzHOME - House of Multicultural Education
Kingsbridge Heights Community Center, Inc.
Korean American Story
Korean Community Services
The Kota Alliance
La Casa De Salud
Laguardia Community College
Lantern Community Services
The Laundromat Project
Lawyers For Children
Lawyers Alliance for New York
League of Women Voters of the City of New York
Learning Through the Expanded Arts Program
Life Skills Preschool
Lifting Up Westchester
The Light Millennium, Inc.
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
Literacy Assistance Center
Little Flower Children and Family Services of NY
Little Sisters of the Assumption Family Health Service, Inc.
Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Inc.
Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance
Manhattan Neighborhood Network
Maple Street School
Mark Morris Dance Group
Mayor's Alliance for NYC's Animals
Mercy Center Bronx
Mercy Haven, Inc.
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art/The Cloisters
MHANY Management, Inc
Midwood Development Corp
Mind-Builders Creative Arts Center
Mixteca Organization, Inc.
Moravian Open Door
More Gardens Fund
Mount Wachusett Community College
Museum at Eldridge Street
Museum of Arts & Design
Musicians Foundation, Inc.
Muslim Sisters of Staten Island
National Black Theatre
National Center for Law and Economic Justice
National Institute for the Psychotherapies
National School Climate Center at Ramapo for Children
Natural Areas Conservancy
Navy League of the USA
Nazareth Housing, Inc.
Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter
Neue Galerie: Museum of German and Austrian Art
New Alternatives for Children, Inc.
New Chamber Ballet
New Destiny Housing Corporation
The New Press
New Visions for Public Schools
New York Cares
New York Restoration Project (NYRP)
The New Stage Theatre Company
New York City AIDS Memorial
New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault
New York City Anti-Violence Project
New York City Master Chorale
New York Common Pantry
New York Early Childhood Professional Development Institute
New York Foundation for the Arts
New York Foundling
New York Historical Society
New York Immigration Coalition
New York Junior League
New York Justice for Our Neighbors, Inc.
New York Lawyers for the Public Interest
New York Legal Assistance Group
New York State Judo, Inc.
New York Women's Chamber of Commerce
New York Women in Film & Television
New Yorkers for Culture & Arts
Newburgh LGBTQ+ Center
NIA Community Services Network, Inc.
No Kid Hungry New York
Nonprofit Finance Fund
Nonprofit New York
Nonprofit Sector Strategies
North Brooklyn Coalition Against Family Violence
Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation
Northern Rivers Family of Services
Northfield Community LDC
NY Common Pantry
NYC Veterans Alliance
One Accord Christian Church
One To World
Opera on Tap
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow
PAGNY Health and Research Foundation
Partnership for After School Education
Pathways to Apprenticeship
The Peccadillo Theater Company
Person Centered Care Services
Planned Parenthood of Greater New York
The Possibility Project
Pride Center of Staten Island
Princess Janae Place
Project People Foundation
Prospect Lefferts Gardens Neighborhood Association
Purelements An Evolution in Dance
Queens Council on the Arts
Queens Public Communications Corp.
Queens Volunteer Lawyers Project
Red Hook Initiative
Renegade Performance Group
Renewable Energy Long Island
Resource Counseling Center
Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley
Rise Up & Walk Youth Outreach Center Inc.
Riverdale Neighborhood House
Riverstone Senior Life Services
Robin Hood Foundation
Rockaway Development & Revitalization Corporation
Ruth Keeler Memorial Library
Sakhi for South Asian Women
Sanctuary for Families
Sauti Yetu Center for African Women, Inc
SeaChange Capital Partners
Second Stage Theater
She Runs It Foundation
Shorefront YM-YWHA of Brighton-Manhattan Beach, Inc.
The Sylvia Center
Sisters of Mercy
Smithsonian Design Museum
Snug Harbor Cultural Center & Botanical Garden
Society of Voice Arts and Sciences
South Asian Youth Action
Special Citizens Futures Unlimited
St. John's University
St Mary’s Center
Staten Island Children's Museum
Staten Island Not For Profit Association
Staten Island Partnership for Community Wellness
Stonewall Community Development Corporation
Stonewall Community Foundation
Styrcker's Bay Neighborhood Council
Sunnyside Community Services
Swish Ally Fund
Teens for Food Justice
Theatre for a New Audience
Tony Smith Foundation
Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund
Treatment Action Group
Triple F Empowerment, Inc.
Trippinz Care, Inc.
Turning Point for Women and Families
UJA Federation - New York
United Cerebral Palsy Associations of NYS
United Neighborhood Houses
United Way of NYC
University of Southern Maine
Urban Justice Center
USA Mali Charitable Association of NYC
Urban Word NYC
Violence Intervention Program, Inc.
Voices of Women
Volunteers of America- Greater New York
Volunteers of Legal Service
We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc.
Watch Me Glow Art
World Association For Community Empowerment, Inc.
Women Creating Change
Xavier Mission Inc.
Yemeni American Merchants Association
YMCA of Greater New York
Young Audiences New York
Young New Yorkers
Young People's Chorus of New York City
Youth Shelter Program of Westchester
YWCA of Brooklyn
YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester