“Building the Capacity and Resilience of Nonprofits”: City Comptroller Brad Lander Addresses SINFPA Conference
STATEN ISLAND, NY — Leaders from across the borough gathered at the Hilton Garden Inn Thursday for the 10th annual Staten Island nonprofit conference.
The event was organized by Staten Island Nonprofit (SINFPA), headed by the Executive Director Tatiana Arguello. This year’s conference focused on the theme: “2022 and Beyond: Building the Capacity and Resilience of Nonprofit Organizations”.
“When nonprofits come together, it’s amazing the work that can be done,” Arguello said. “No non-profit organization is independent. Everyone relies on each other’s service, and everyone can serve more effectively when we rely on each other.
It’s really about building the Staten Island nonprofit community, she said. “And also making sure that we get resources at the city, state, and federal level, even internationally. . . really build a strong network of nonprofits and train the next generation of leaders.
While dining and sipping coffee in the Nicotra Ballroom, the nonprofit professionals networked before brief introductions from SINFPA board members. Following comments, Brad Lander, New York City Comptrollerkeynote speaker, covered a variety of topics, from clearing the backlog of contracts to commemorating the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Sandy.
Saturday will mark the 10th anniversary of the devastating storm that swept across the island. In the wake of his anger, the city had to deal with approximately $19 billion in damages while Staten Island was rocked by the loss of 24 residents. Despite the passage of time and the completion of shoreline projectsthe fear of a disaster of this magnitude still lingers for some, and Lander said we should be prepared.
Regarding contracts and funding, Lander noted that last year it took an average of over 300 days for an individual contract to be processed. That’s 300 days of nonprofits waiting for funding, he said, which should never be accepted by essential workers such as law enforcement and teachers. According to Lander, changing this business model has become a priority. Working with the Adams administration, Lander launched a document he called “a better deal for Staten Island,” he said.
In June, the platformPASSPORT Audiencewas created so individuals could track the progress of their contracts and hold managers accountable, he said. In July, about 12,000 retroactive contracts were registered to clear the backlog. Lander said that these were only a few advances among the 25 structural suggestions detailed in the contract.
“What we recommend is that the city . . . build a new set of relationships with nonprofit, community and social resilience infrastructure,” he said. “We may have permanent contracts in place that say we don’t know when this storm is going to hit, but when it does, we would like you to be able to mobilize to go and see the housebound elderly, to make sure that the delivery of meals is ready, to be able to respond to the owners who are affected, not a year later but just after the storm.
We’ll find the money later, he said. “Let’s get the contract ready now so we can have this network ready for mobilization and do more before the storms to invest in building our community capacity and investing in the people in this room and building the infrastructure that makes it possible for our communities be resilient. »
After the keynote address, participants dispersed into various breakout sessions. Some stopped at sponsor tables lining the ballroom, including Wagner College, Staten Island Jewish Community Center and Empire State Bank.
“It’s a nonprofit helping nonprofits,” said Philip Guarnieri, chief executive of Empire State Bank. “Our motto, fundamentally, is to help the community and people in the community, so this is a great way for us to get involved.”
“2022 and Beyond: Building Nonprofit Capacity and Resilience” aimed to make a difference in the community, organizers said. It is a shared goal that has been at the epicenter of SINFPA since its inception in 2005.
The association currently has over 110 members, ranging from youth service providers to faith groups.
“What made the day special was that this year we took a new approach, we listened more to the community as a whole,” said Jamilah LaSalle, SINFPA Board Member and Executive Director of Bait-ul Jamaat. “We are putting ourselves more forward, both as staff and community organizers and board members, so that we can hear the voices of not only our members … but also other nonprofit entities that have yet to join the ranks of Staten Island. Not for profit association. These workshops were the result of the voices of the community as a whole.