Sunday, September 12, 2010

Candidates make promises for nonprofits

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Rachel Audi <Rachel@rise-america.org>
Date: Fri, Sep 10, 2010 at 5:32 PM
Subject: Greetings, Diane -- **FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE** CANDIDATES MAKE PROMISES FOR NONPROFITS & POOR


My nonprofit just issued the press release below/attached.  Four of five exec candidates made campaign promises to establish an Admin Review Process for grants, require CBAs with each development, and establish multi-year funding.

If you get a chance, please blog on their promises – we will be holding Tuesday's winner accountable next year.

Cheers,

Rachel


RISE AMERICA
Raising Individuals to Stability and Empowerment
FORI MMEDIATE RELEASE
September 10, 2010
Contact: 301-437-1247

Candidates Make Promises for the Poor, Nonprofits
RISE America Announces 2010 Survey Results

Capitol Heights, MD  – Today RISE, America! announced the results of its 2010 survey of candidates for Prince George's County Executive, Prince George's County Council, the Maryland State House and Senate, and the U.S. Congress.   In September RISE America, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit that advocates for the disadvantaged, issued the survey.
County Executive candidates promised to establish an Administrative Review Process for grants, add  a new Community Benefit Agreement requirement for new development, develop a meaningful low-income housing plan, establish new multi-year funding for nonprofits, support EnVision Prince George's, and strengthen nonprofit capacity.  Attached are details of the survey.  Candidates made the following statements in the survey:

·         Michael Jackson – "As County Executive, I will establish an Office of Grants Management during my first 100 days in office."
·         Rushern Baker – "Nonprofit budgets are ailing as a result of government funding cuts. We need non profits to continue operating as strong service delivery partners and I will work with the coalition to keep it financially fit….The Executive must establish a strong culture of accountability…."
·         Gerron Levi – "I will have dedicated staff working to build capacity in the non-profit sector."
·         Sam Dean -- "We will collaborate with all interested parties and establish a high level task force to work on the foreclosure crisis (and) build the capacity of non-profits using CDBG and Home funds."
Rachel Audi, President of RISE, America! stated, "On behalf of the disadvantaged in Prince George's County, RISE America applauds County Executive candidates for their concern for the poor.  The voices of the poor and disadvantaged in Prince George's County have been heard."

RISE America thanks members of the Prince George's nonprofit community for their practitioner expertise in helping write the survey.  The survey will be posted on the web sites of numerous major nonprofits in the County including www.RISE-America.org.

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 RISE For The Disadvantaged 2010 Survey Results
COUNTY EXECUTIVE -- EXCERPTS
 ·         Community Benefit Agreement.  RISE America asked candidates if they would create a Community Benefit Agreement requirement with each County development plan, such as the Sports and Learning Complex that accompanied the development of FedEx Field.
o   Levi:                YES
o   Baker:              YES
o   Jackson:           YES
o   Dean:               YES
·         Multi-Year Funding for Nonprofits.  Would you be willing to work with nonprofits to establish multi-year funding for nonprofits, with regular reporting quality assurance outcomes, so that nonprofits can focus on outcomes and results instead of grappling with the County for funding every nine months?
o   Levi:                YES
o   Baker:              YES
o   Jackson:           YES
o   Dean:               YES
·         Administrative Review Process.  Currently nonprofits have to wait up to ten months to receive a grants contract from the County. RISE America asked candidates if they support creating an efficient Administrative Review process.
o   Levi stated, "I specifically want to work on the issue of prompt payment."
o   Baker: "Improving contract award procedures, timeliness and efficiency for non-profits will be dealt with at the same time that we examine ways to improve the cumbersome County procurement process in general."
o   Jackson: "The establishment of the Office of Grants management should help with assuring timely funding for all non-profits. Non-profits, businesses and other stakeholders have long complained about the lengthy Administrative Review process. I will do a thorough review of the process during my first 100 days in office and eliminate the bottlenecks. This is the 21st century where communication is instant. There is no reason for permitting or grants to be processed at a snail's pace."
o   Dean: "Will establish a similar process that was instituted to expedite the Neighborhhood Stabilization by assigning an attorney with authority to approve contracts."
·         Support for Nonprofits.  Prince George's County, according to a MACO study, allocates the lowest amount of county tax dollars into the support of nonprofit organizations than any county in the state of Maryland (at $2 per capita versus $14 statewide average). If elected, would you work to increase the amount of its own money that the County devotes to providing services to its residents through nonprofit organizations?  Do you support enabling nonprofit organizations, including the Human Services Coalition, to improve nonprofits' capacity to deliver more effective services?
o   Gerron Levi stated, "I will have dedicated staff working to build capacity in the non-profit sector."
o   Rusher Baker stated,
§  "General Fund dollars would be used from programs that can be better handled by non profit organizations rather than in house County efforts."
§  "Nearly a third of the average nonprofit's income comes from government contracts and grants. Meaning that, in many cases, nonprofit budgets are ailing as a result of government funding cuts. We need non profits to continue operating as strong service delivery partners and I will work with the coalition to keep it financially fit."
o   Michael Jackson:
§   "As County Executive, I will establish an Office of Grants Management during my first 100 days in office. This office will secure federal, state and philanthropic funding to partner with our non-profit and faith-based institutions to further augment services to those who need assistance with many of the ills our residents are facing, including foreclosures, lack of health care, homelessness, unemployment/underemployment and lack of job training."
o   Sam Dean: "(I) will…"
§  "Use Community Development Block Grant and Home funds more efficiently."
§  "Work with Human Services Coalition to help it develop the necessary capacity to provide services and support to the non-profits that make up the Association's membership."
§  "Establish multi-year (funding) agreements (for nonprofits) as long as the program or purpose the service does not change."
·         Foreclosures/Predatory Lending.  What are your plans for addressing foreclosures and predatory lending?
o   Levi: "I have led supporter of numerous new state laws measures responding to the foreclosure crisis, such as lengthening the foreclosure period, cracking down on mortgage fraud, and including a 2010 law requiring mediation/a loan modification review prior to a foreclosure filing. I want to make sure that new law is implemented properly. My policies will focus on those homeowners that are 60-90 days delinquent and how the county might intervene. I will also review our use of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program dollars to ensure those dollars are being used and used effectively."
o   Baker: "The foreclosure crisis must be addressed by expanding citizen access to qualified counselors….Education, Arbitration, and re regulation could solve many of our problems associated with foreclosures."
o   Jackson: "Create a Home Retention Division within the County's Department of Housing and Community Development, which would serve as a one-stop shop for homeowners facing foreclosure. This Division would be responsible for educating homeowner's on Maryland's foreclosure laws, including the new Mediation Law which took effect July 1, 2010. The Division will also partner with pro bono attorneys and non-profits that will represent homeowners facing foreclosure and will seek federal, state and private grant opportunities to purchase, rehabilitate and sell foreclosed properties. The Division will also be responsible for holding banks accountable for the maintenance and upkeep of foreclosed properties."
o   Dean:  "(I) will make stemming the foreclosure crisis a priority of my administration. We will collaborate with all interested parties and establish a high level task force to work on the foreclosure crisis; build the capacity of non-profits using CDBG and Home funds, implement a WEB based counseling intake technology to help more people and make the process more efficient and timely; institute an aggressive outreach program to proactively prevent new foreclosures; mitigate property deterioration and stabilize neighborhoods through strict code enforcement; and, where possible, acquire and rehabilitate vacant properties to be sold as affordable/workforce housing."
·         Equality in Housing. Currently there at 5,000 individuals on the County Public Housing and Section wait list, and 96% of them are Black. What is your plan for addressing livability and development for low-income and minority populations?
o   Baker: "…the Executive must establish a strong culture of accountability that starts at my Fifth floor office and ends with the front-line employee who has the first interaction with someone in need. I will accomplish this in the Baker Administration by instituting a rigorous County Stat system."

o   Jackson: "I want to increase the effectiveness of our federal pass throughs by working with our Housing Department and HUD so that the County has an adequate stock of affordable housing. At the same time, I want to focus on workforce housing because so many of our public servants are no longer able to afford to live in the County where they work."
o   Dean: "(I) will work aggressively to renovate current affordable housing stock. As new projects are developed, will assure that a percentage of affordable housing is included. Where there are vacant properties, based on the budget consideration, (I) will acquire the properties in use to fill the affordable housing needs of our citizens."
·         Workforce Training.  The County requires nonprofits have an (impossible)  94% placement rate of job seekers so that high-performing nonprofits balance low-performing nonprofits, giving the County an acceptable federal reporting rate.  Do you support revamping this placement rating system?
o   Levi:                YES
o   Baker:              YES
o   Jackson:           YES
o   Dean:               YES
·         Education Dollars to Classroom.  Do you support collaboration between the State and Counties, so that Counties allocate appropriate dollar amounts to the classroom, administration and other needs?
o   Levi:                YES
o   Baker:              YES
o   Jackson:           NO
o   Dean:               YES
·         Ex-Offender Reentry.  Would you be willing to support legislation that expands vocational opportunities for ex-offenders as appropriate?
o   Levi:                YES
o   Baker:              YES
o   Jackson:           YES
o   Dean:               YES
·         Domestic Violence.  Currently Prince George's County does not have adequate domestic violence centers. If elected, would you work with community leaders and assist them in establishing support for victims of domestic violence?
o   Levi:                YES
o   Baker:              YES
o   Jackson:           YES
o   Dean:               YES
Rachel Audi
RISE, America!
301-437-1247

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