May 25, 2023 - A Day Without Human Services

Friday, May 26, 2023

May 25, 2023 - A Day Without Human Services

On Thursday, May 25th the #JustPay Campaign held A Day Without Human Services across New York City. More than 6,000 people showed up in response to Mayor Adam's failure to provide a cost-of-living adjustment for human services workers in his Executive Budget and the city’s continued delay in registering and paying nonprofit contracts. Philanthropy and City Government are co-funders to critical human services and on-time and equitable pay for nonprofit workers is essential to ameliorating many of the poverty-driven issues that Philanthropy New York members work to address in their grantmaking. 

A Day Without Human Services was centered on supporting the voices and economic security of a BIPOC workforce who often live and work in communities of color. The vast majority of human services in New York City are contracted by City and State agencies where workers are paid about 30% less than what government employees make to provide the same essential services to New Yorkers. These services include afterschool programs, senior centers, homeless services, supportive housing, and home-delivered meals. Out of the 80,000 contracted human services workers in NYC, 70% identify as women, and 75% identify as BIPOC. This is explicitly an issue of equity. 

Yesterday’s action aligned with Philanthropy New York’s ongoing advocacy at City Hall and with the City Council on city contracting.  

  • PNY’s position on a true cost of living and wage standard is about helping philanthropy support an effective nonprofit ecosystem and ensure that government contracts do not exacerbate poverty for working New Yorkers. The strength of any organization is dependent on its people and we want to make sure that they are compensated for the work that they do.
  • We believe that the people doing the work have the most intimate knowledge of the policy conditions, context, and critical insights needed for them to effectively achieve their mission. It’s critical for nonprofits to have a voice in the policies that govern their work if we hope for them to be successful.
  • When the government ensures full, on-time payments to nonprofit contractors, they are making sure that there is a stable, secure, and dependable rate of resources, which is essential for nonprofits to plan for and execute their critical services.

Philanthropy New York members co-fund with the public sector to support these critical human services in New York City. When the city government isn’t covering the cost to provide the direct services that the nonprofits are contracted for, philanthropic dollars subsidize government dollars to fill the gap. This prevents philanthropic investments from serving the critical role of advancing and innovating on nonprofit practices rather than simply keeping the system afloat. Ensuring that employed individuals are able to maintain a basic standard of living and that nonprofit contracts are registered on time and paid in full would significantly increase the impact of PNY members’ grantmaking strategies. Philanthropy New York stands beside the JustPay campaign in fighting to end government-sanctioned poverty wages for human services workers.

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