As community leaders and service providers pressing on during one of the most tumultuous times in the nation, state and city, we must contend with challenges at every turn. The public health crisis, spiraling economic crisis, reinvigorated racism crisis, and continuing political crisis disproportionately affect low-income individuals and families, and persons of color, thereby compounding the problems nonprofits already face in helping to meet their needs. As tempting as it may be to simply plow forward, these unprecedented times call for innovative and strategic leadership.
Panel Sessions Overviews & Bios
Main Stage Discussion
2020 proved especially challenging for the human services sector. Many nonprofit service providers were already challenged to meet the needs of their clients and communities due to insufficient and inflexible funding. Covid-19 only exacerbated the problem, as the need for services and support grew exponentially while many nonprofit staff initially were not treated as essential and struggled to obtain the basic support they needed to care for others. As we enter 2021, we have a mentally, emotionally and physically drained workforce, inadequately funded contracts, and the ever-looming threat of budget cuts for vital services. What should we expect in 2021, and what can we do about it?
In 2021 there will be a new presidential administration will lead at a time when our country is still reeling from an ever-surging health pandemic with severe loss and economic consequences and a racial reckoning; New York State with significant budget challenges, revenue loss and mounting expenses for Covid-19 relief; New York City challenged financially while working to ensure safety, health, education and well-being for all; and the opportunities and challenges of the upcoming mayoral election. We must develop and implement a winning strategy to ensure that the needs of those most challenged and the concerns of those who care for them do not go unaddressed. In this session, the political and governing landscape will be reviewed, and the challenges for human services will be discussed.
For faith communities 2020 has presented unprecedented challenges. The suspension of in-person gatherings due to the Covid-19 pandemic has financially strained numerous NYC congregations. Additionally, pandemic restrictions have, in many instances, limited the ability to provide direct and indirect service delivery and support. Pressing social justice issues, including systemic racism, economic, and health disparities, and housing insecurity, have presented faith communities with the challenge of determining how to effectively engage in response and advocacy to these and other concerns. In addition to external service and support, many congregations are faced with significant internal stresses. We’ll explore what the continued and reconfigured relationships between faith communities and CBOs look like in 2021 and beyond while examining how faith leaders and their communities can expand their capacity to effectively educate, organize and mobilize around relevant issues.
The impacts to the philanthropic landscape have been profound as many were responsive to meet the immediate needs brought about by Covid at the individual, family and systems levels. Many have been delicately balancing the realities of what it means to maintain philanthropic vitality and sustainability with the reality of an unprecedented set of needs over the long haul, requiring philanthropy and the organizations they serve alike to embrace new ways of working — ways that do not match traditional models and, in some instances, can’t be supported by government revenues as well. Couple all of this with the realities of inequity in both the disparate impacts of Covid and the flow of philanthropic dollars and you are left with questions. Where is philanthropy in this moment? What must we be focusing on and how do we move ahead?
As community leaders and service providers pressing on during one of the most tumultuous times in the nation, state and city, we must contend with challenges at every turn. The public health crisis, spiraling economic crisis, reinvigorated racism crisis, and continuing political crisis disproportionately affect low-income individuals and families, and persons of color, thereby compounding the problems nonprofits already face in helping to meet their needs. As tempting as it may be to simply plow forward, these unprecedented times call for innovative and strategic leadership. Geoffrey Canada will talk with Jennifer Jones Austin about leading and serving in today’s world.