Jenny Walty has a new job that should make her very popular: She has been mandated to help nonprofits access resources and navigate city contracting.
But no one's calling (212)788-0001 or emailing NFPHelp@cityhall.nyc.gov. Her new position is one of serveral city initiatives to help nonprofits weather the economic downturn. The projects recognize the importance of the nonprofit sector as both an employer and as a safety net in an increasingly stressful economy.
A growing number of nonprofit organizations in New York City -- which collectively employ about 15 percent of the City's non-government workforce -- are experiencing increased demand for services while facing major cash-flow problems and steep declines in operating support, according to the Mayor's office. Walty's job is just one of the programs set up to address these problems.
Enable nonprofits to group-purchase goods and services to save money. The City estimates that group purchasing can save up to $5 million for nonprofit groups in contract with the City alone.
Evaluate nonprofit energy use and provide strategies to reduce costs.
The City will facilitate energy evaluations to help nonprofits lower their energy costs by promoting energy efficiency and by advocating for nonprofits to buy "green" electricity at reduced rates.
Improve the City's Contracting Procedures to Help Nonprofits to Work with City Agencies
Building on the streamlining of contracting rules implemented during the past seven years, the City will implement new actions to further improve processes.
Expand accessibility City contract information and increase agency accountability. The City will post all contract status information on www.nyc.gov, and update it weekly so all nonprofits with City contracts can easily check the status of any contract. In addition, each agency's overall efficiency in processing contracts will also be reported on www.nyc.gov.
Reduce delays in nonprofit compliance review. Working in collaboration with the Attorney General's Office, the City will speed the process under which nonprofits are required to demonstrate compliance with charities regulation. At the same time, the Mayor's Office of Contract Services will review more than 1,600 human services contracts for compliance with conflict of interest and legal requirements.
Propose that available bridge loans be increased 150 percent. The City will propose that the New York City Returnable Grant Fund -- used to cover short-term costs when cash flow is tight -- be increased from $8 million to $20 million for the next two fiscal years. The organizations eligible and circumstances justifying the loans will be expanded.
Partner with nonprofit lenders for revolving line of credit program. The City has expanded the NYC Capital Access Revolving Loan Guaranty Program to include nonprofits. Those needing help to meet payrolls or other pressing expenses can apply for loans. The City has partnered with five organizations to provide bridge loans for short-term stabilization.
Introduce a standard multi-agency human services contract. Later this year, the City will solicit human service program contracts using a standard contract format. The City will also employ a more flexible approach to the bidding process. The new process will encourage innovation and program diversity while reducing burdens on nonprofit procurement.
Provide Dedicated Support to Strengthen Nonprofit Management
Offer dedicated assistance to nonprofits available through NYC.gov and 311. All nonprofits -- regardless of whether they have a contract with the City -- can now call 311 to identify resources related to a broad range of management issues, such as:
- strategic planning,
- managing financial resources,
- recruiting new board members,
- financial incentives.
The City has also partnered with the non-profit consulting firm, Community Resource Exchange (CRE), to create the "Executive Director Hotline." Senior members of the CRE staff will provide nonprofit executive directors with immediate assistance, such as strategic advice, guidance or coaching.
NYC.gov will mirror 311 in content and offer assistance with resources, answers to frequently asked questions, and a searchable calendar to give nonprofits and their funders easy access to information.
Provide Nonprofit Contract Facilitator for contract and funding award issues. The Mayor's Office of Contract Services has designated senior staffer Jennifer Walty as the Nonprofit Contract Facilitator to help nonprofits needing assistance with City rules, regulations or policies affecting their ability to obtain City funding. She can be reached at NFPhelp@cityhall.nyc.gov or by calling 311.
Launch partnership with private sector leaders to assist nonprofits. Philanthropists Blair and Cheryl Cohen Effron and Gretchen and Jamie Rubin are partnering with the Mayor's Office to create Greater NY, a program that will pair business executives with nonprofit executive directors in 2-year, one-on-one partnerships.
Leaders will work together to develop and implement innovative solutions to nonprofit business challenges. More than 30 business executives have volunteered their time and resources. Greater NY is an initiative of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York. The program is available to any nonprofit receiving funds from the City and applications to participate are available at www.nyc.gov.