PNY's Policy Corner: Following the Lead of our Partners by Supporting #WHY15 and #JustPay Campaigns:

Friday, February 2, 2024


In times of unprecedented challenges, collaboration between philanthropy and nonprofits in New York City has never been more vital. At Philanthropy New York, we’re committed to growing the capacity of both our organization and membership to influence government actors to strengthen the nonprofit ecosystem and therefore the social safety net in New York. We recognize that a system laden with delayed contract payments and broken budget practices – which causes 25 percent of the primarily BIPOC nonprofit workforce to rely on SNAP benefits – is inherently unjust. 

Creating a living wage standard and equitable pay for nonprofit workers is critical to addressing the gendered and racialized wealth gap in New York City and ameliorating many of the poverty-driven issues that Philanthropy New York members seek to address in their grantmaking.

Following the Lead of our Partners by Supporting #WHY15 and #JustPay Campaigns:

As New York City faces arbitrary budget cuts, the threat to nonprofits and the communities they serve is alarming. In response, PNY maintains its commitment to serve as an ally and is following the lead of its nonprofit partners. 

We've joined NonProfit New York’s #WHY15 campaign demanding clarity from the Adams administration while standing in unified opposition to the City’s impending budget cuts.

Add your voice to the chorus and sign the open letter to the City government here

We’ve also stood in allyship with the Human Services Council through their #JustPay campaign, which demands: 

  • An automatic annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) of 3.2% for Fiscal Year 2024-2025.

  • A public commitment of funding for the next three years for a 3% COLA each year.

  • To pass prevailing wage legislation to lift human services salaries.

These campaigns are about more than the survival of the non-profit ecosystem; they're about ensuring that the people and communities who serve as a backbone to our city in some of its most critical moments are also thriving and resilient. 

Chai Jindasurat-Yasui, Vice President of Policy, Nonprofit New York and Michelle Jackson, Executive Director, Human Services Council recently joined Marlon Williams our Vice President of Policy & Collaboration, for a critical discussion on the impact of #WHY15 and #JustPay campaigns and innovative ways philanthropy and nonprofits can collaborate to support nonprofits in the face of historic budget cuts.





A Call to Action:

In response to the challenges facing our city, and in acknowledgment of recent reporting on the Philanthropic sector’s response our CEO Kathryn O'Neal - Dunham recently penned the following letter to the editor published in the New York Times over the weekend:

“PHILANTHROPY NEW YORK represents 280 philanthropic institutions in the New York area. Our members have proven they can deploy significant investments in partner­ ship with the city. Philanthropy’s invest­ments are key to funding the communities, grass­roots movements and innovation that make New York great. To do that, govern­ment must perform efficiently, and fairly.

But nonprofit contracts continue to have payment delays and bureaucratic hurdles, resulting in the closure of numerous long­ standing nonprofits. Government contracts perpetuate poverty­ level wages — meaning 25 percent of the primarily female and BIPOC nonprofit workforce are eligible for SNAP benefits. Philanthropy New York has joined our partners at the Human Services Council of New York and Nonprofit New York to call on the city to rethink wage, contracting and budgeting practices.

The mayor’s plan for sweeping budget cuts for all city agencies will exacerbate the cost of serving the newest New Yorkers, all while the administration has not meaning­ fully engaged the sector best suited to serve new arrivals — nonprofit human services providers. While philanthropy is ready to partner with the administration, we will continue to push city leaders to listen to the nonprofit and philanthropic sector and restore a fraying safety net.”

The path ahead demands not only collective action but also a form of leadership that embodies a united voice. We invite you to join us in this journey, lending your voice and effort to a movement that seeks to transform and uplift the nonprofit sector. 

At Philanthropy New York, we're exploring what it means to be stronger allies, amplify key issues that impact grantees and non-profits, and create fertile ground for our members’ investments to flourish.

Together, we can build a more equitable and just New York City.

Best regards,

Marlon WilliamsVice President of Public Policy & Collaboration

Ariane CruzManager of Public Policy & Collaboration