State Advocacy Day 2016


FPWA and Advocates Call Upon State to Make Economic Opportunity and Upward Mobility a Priority

(New York, NY) – Wednesday, February 24, 20016, the Federation of Protestant Welfare Agencies held an Advocacy Day at the New York State Capitol in Albany, meeting with more than 50 legislators in the State Senate and Assembly to rally around key policy issues including funding for the $15 dollar minimum wage for human service workers.


Members of FPWA led a series of meetings with State elected officials, calling for them to make economic equity and upward mobility a priority to move toward Building a City of Equal Opportunity. The issues of focus included the living wage, worker cooperatives and the human services budget such as funding for foster youth, seniors and early childhood education.

FPWA is currently leading the #15andFunding campaign along with the Fiscal Policy Institute (FPI) and the Human Services Council (HSC) to advocate for a statewide $15 per hour minimum wage for all low-wage workers, and to ensure that the call for an increased wage includes funding for state and city contracted nonprofit human services workers.

“Advocacy Day is an important time for champions of equal opportunity to join together to raise awareness about key budget issues,” said Wayne Ho, Chief Strategy and Program Officer at FPWA. “Ultimately, we felt that the day enabled us to hold many productive discussions around the items that we feel are critical to improving equal opportunity in New York.”

“A state-funded $15 dollar minimum wage for human service workers will help ensure that these workers can continue to fulfill the important duties that they do every day,” said Jennifer Jones Austin, Executive Director and CEO of FPWA.  “For this reason, we are calling upon the State to support the living wage and bolster economic opportunity across New York.”8952

Meetings with more than 60 members of the Assembly, Senate and staffers were scheduled for the day. Talks focused around the following policy priorities:

  • #15andFunding: As the Governor continues to push for statewide $15 minimum wage for all workers, the #15andFunding campaign calls on the legislature to increase the minimum wage to $15, to amend state human services contracted to include this wage increase, and increase Medicaid reimbursements to account for wage increases for home healthcare, personal care, and other direct service providers.
  • Worker Cooperatives: Worker cooperatives are worker-owned democratically managed small businesses. We’ll be calling on legislators to advocate for funding of these existing programs to help vulnerable populations like low-wage workers, immigrants and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers build wealth and assets.
  • Human Service Budget Priorities: The human services sector has not recovered from the Great Recession, still reeling from sector wide cuts. FPWA supports human service budget items including early childhood, child welfare, after school, seniors and services dedicated to people living with HIV/AIDS.