Marlon Williams Represented Philanthropy New York with City Council Testimony on Living Wage Provisions and City Contracting

Friday, February 3, 2023

Marlon Williams' City Council Testimony on Living Wage Provisions and City Contracting

As a part of Philanthropy New York's ongoing efforts to advocate for a more equitable and just non-profit operating environment, this week, our Vice President of Public Policy and Collaboration, Marlon Williams, testified in front of the city council to advocate for a prevailing wage provision for human services contracts and to address contracting and payment issues to reduce the administrative burdens on the non-profit sector.

Read his testimony here:

Philanthropy New York City Council Testimony On City Contracts And Living Wage Provisions

January 2023

I am Marlon Williams, the Vice President of Public Policy and Collaboration at Philanthropy New York. We are submitting a testimony to demonstrate our support for recommendations that strengthen New York City’s non-profit eco-system by reducing or eliminating several unnecessary administrative burdens that city agencies impose on nonprofits in the contracting process.

Philanthropy New York is a membership organization consisting of nearly 300 grantmaking institutions within the regional area and over 5,000 engaged community funders in a range of roles within those institutions. Collectively, our members make more than $7 billion in grants annually. We bring together funders from within and across sectors to address the unique challenges facing the sector, share knowledge and nurture crucial skills to make the work of each grantmaker - and the philanthropic community as a whole - more meaningful and more effective. Philanthropy New York’s values guide our decisions and our actions are rooted in our fundamental goal of supporting our membership in pursuing a more equitable, democratic society.

We believe that supporting our members' philanthropic efforts must include creating an ecosystem in which the non-profit partners that they support can thrive. In addition to the critical funding that our members provide to New York non-profits we know that government funding and contracts are an essential part of the resource stream needed for non-profits to do their critical work. Through our public policy work we are actively supporting efforts like those cited in the recently released report, Strengthening NYC Nonprofits by Reducing Administrative Burden authored by the Center for the Urban Future. Efforts like those outlined in this report would drastically improve a broken contracting process and ensure that critical government and philanthropic dollars are used most effectively towards supporting everyday New Yorkers and the nonprofits that provide essential services.

In June of 2022, PNY worked with the Adams Administration and our non-profit partners to convene a briefing on the impact of the Mayor and Comptroller’s Joint Task Force to Get Nonprofits Paid on Time, an effort to resolve the backlog of thousands of outstanding and unregistered City contracts. While there is much work to do, that Task Force represented an acceleration of the City’s previous efforts. We strongly advocate for further attention and action to address contracting and payment issues and reduce the administrative burdens on the nonprofit sector that New Yorkers rely on everyday. Whether getting a hot meal to an elderly resident, providing an enriching after school program to a teen, or producing cultural programs that represent New York City’s diversity, it is critical to New York City’s vibrancy and sustainability that nonprofits focus on mission, rather than chasing after overdue payments, waiting months to register contracts, and seeking loans to underwrite work that the City is contractually obliged to fund.

In addition to the CUF report recommendations on contracting reform, Philanthropy New York also supports Intro 510 regarding the prevailing wage provision for human services contracts. This measure will advance equity by addressing the racial and gender wealth gap in New York.5 The city raised the minimum wage to $15 an hour in 2015. Despite the cost of living continuing to sharply rise in the second most expensive city in the United States.2 3 The Living Wage Calculator calculates that the current living wage for a single adult in New York City starts at $25.42 an hour.4 This means that workers employed at the minimum wage of $15 an hour are unable to meet the minimum standard for food, housing, medical care, clothing, and transportation...

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