December 18, 2018 under Policy, Advocacy & Research

Policy Talk with NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson

By Edline Jacquet, Director of Policy

Recently, New York City Council Speaker Corey Johnson met with the leadership of several FPWA’s member agencies as part of our ongoing Policy Talk series which provides them with the opportunity to engage in conversations with high level city officials and policymakers throughout the year.

Speaker Johnson opened the meeting by sharing his own personal stories about the impact that nonprofits have had on his life and that of his family members, including his mother who ran a nonprofit organization in Boston. He shared a particularly moving story of how several organizations supported him when he was first diagnosed with HIV and was struggling with how to deal with this new reality. Speaking from these deeply personal experiences gave him first-hand knowledge of the crucial roles nonprofits play in the lives of so many New Yorkers every day.

Topics ranged from contracting issues, salary parity, the City’s plans to deal with the diverse workforce development needs of a broad range of workers, considering the recent Amazon deal, voting reform and how the Council can better support civic engagement efforts. The leaders around the table raised important questions for the Speaker about the Council’s role in these efforts and how nonprofits can be partners in their efforts to advance these and other issues critical to the communities that we serve.

Speaker Johnson spoke at length about the value of the human services sector and how issues of chronic late contract payments, delayed registrations and ongoing delays by City agencies in paying nonprofits was impacting the sector in negative ways. He also spoke about the need to engage people more deeply in communities and how volunteerism can be an effective way to get involved. And in terms of workforce development, he spoke about the need for much greater support for CUNY which he described as one of the City’s greatest assets and an effective mechanism for workforce development efforts.

All of these issues have been part of the broad scope of FPWA’s work to strengthen and lift up the nonprofit sector through our policy and advocacy efforts as part of the Strong Nonprofits for A Better New York campaign and our active participation in the Nonprofit Resiliency Committee. We played an active role in promoting voter registration, get out the vote efforts and community building through our Civic Engagement program. We continue to be vocal in the need for workforce development initiatives that not only provide high quality training, education and work opportunities, but offer meaningful pathways to job and career opportunities that provide economic self-sufficiency. It was an engaging discussion that was both informative and focused on how FPWA and our members can work with the Council to advance our City’s communities.