Marlon Williams Represented Philanthropy New York with City Council Testimony on Progress of Reforms to Accelerate Nonprofit Contract Payments

Tuesday, June 4, 2024

Marlon Williams Represented Philanthropy New York with City Council Testimony on Progress of Reforms to Accelerate Nonprofit Contract Payments


As a part of Philanthropy New York's ongoing efforts to serve as an ally to nonprofits and advocate for a stronger nonprofit ecosystem, Marlon Williams, Vice President of Public Policy and Collaboration, testified in front of the New York City Council to strongly support reforms to accelerate NYC's nonprofit contracting payments. 



Read his written testimony here:

TO: Committee on Contracts (Julie Won, Chair, and Members: Erik D. Bottcher, Sandy Nurse, Althea V. Stevens and Inna Vernikov)

FROM: Marlon Williams, Philanthropy New York
DATE: June 4, 2024

SUBJECT: Philanthropy New York Supports Reforms to Accelerate Nonprofit Contract Payments

Good morning, Chair Won, and esteemed members of the Committee on Contracts.

My name is Marlon Williams, Vice President of Public Policy and Collaboration at Philanthropy New York (PNY). We are submitting a testimony to express our strong support for proposed reforms to accelerate nonprofit contract payments. These reforms are essential to make contracting more efficient and accountable, ensuring nonprofits have the resources they need to deliver their critical services effectively. Nonprofits are a cornerstone of a strong NYC. By streamlining the contracting process, these reforms will ensure our nonprofit partners have the resources and support they need to continue their vital work. Philanthropy New York, along with our partners like Human Services Council and Nonprofit New York, has a history of collaboration with the city on strengthening the nonprofit ecosystem and its contracting environment. We urge continued progress on these important reforms to ensure a thriving nonprofit sector in New York City.

In April, we applauded the City Council’s leadership in negotiating and, ultimately, reversing the decades-long divestments in human services workers by securing COLA increases over the next three years. We believe this is a huge win for the stability of the sector. However, we are concerned that without the proposed reforms, these critical enhancements will not be effectively implemented, hindering nonprofits' ability to serve communities. It is crucial to establish secure contract agreements under policies that ensure accountability and effectiveness in resourcing nonprofits. This will enhance the stability of these organizations and the people working within the nonprofit sector.

Philanthropy New York is a membership organization of nearly 300 grantmaking institutions within the New York City metropolitan area and over 5,000 engaged community funders in a range of roles within those institutions. Collectively, our members contribute over $7 billion in grants annually. We convene and organize funders from various philanthropies to exchange insights and cultivate essential skills that enhance the impact of the philanthropic community at large. PNY's values, encompassing learning, leadership, community, and equity, shape our decisions, driving our commitment to assist our membership in striving towards a society that is more equitable and democratic.

We firmly believe that supporting our members' philanthropic efforts requires fostering an ecosystem with policies that provide nonprofit partners the support they need to flourish. Beyond the vital funding our members offer to New York nonprofits, we recognize that government funding and contracts are essential for nonprofits to carry out their crucial missions. Through our policy work, we actively endorse initiatives like those highlighted in the report "Strengthening NYC Nonprofits by Reducing Administrative Burden," authored by the Center for the Urban Future and published last year. Implementing the strategies outlined in this report necessitates that the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services (MOCS) has the staffing, resources, policies, and procedures to engage with partner nonprofits, streamline contracting processes, and effectively communicate with these organizations. Philanthropic dollars alone cannot fill the gap left by public sector resources; thus, we must partner with the city and, critically, MOCS to ensure nonprofits receive the resources they need to provide essential services to New Yorkers.

We have received firsthand accounts from our nonprofit and philanthropic partners detailing the detrimental effects of delayed payments and stalled contracts, which have left a devastating impact on nonprofits and their staff. These organizations have been compelled to make agonizing decisions: either implement layoffs, slash employee wages, or forego crucial services to remain operational. Most distressingly, some longstanding nonprofits, which have been indispensable to their communities for generations, are being forced to close their doors. This exacerbates an already pressing situation as New York faces widespread mental health crises, an influx of new New Yorkers, and an increasing demand for food and shelter. This creates a substantial void in the social safety net for New Yorkers who depend on these essential services.

Over the last couple of years, PNY championed a stronger nonprofit sector through various initiatives. We partnered with Human Services Council and Nonprofit New York, advocated for federal support for a stronger national nonprofit sector, and facilitated cross-sector collaboration. These combined efforts demonstrate PNY's unwavering commitment to a robust nonprofit sector that effectively serves New Yorkers and maximizes philanthropic investments.

PNY believes timely contract registration and payments are critical to an organization's success and a fundamental obligation of a government that outsources crucial services. Late payments often force philanthropic dollars to act as a backstop, hindering investments in strengthening interventions and building capacity. Prioritizing on-time and in-full payments benefits not only nonprofits but also the communities they serve. Reforming the contracting and payment process provides the stability needed to ensure quality social services and empowers BIPOC-led nonprofits to sustainably serve their communities.

PNY urges the City to restore proposed cuts to the MOCS and prioritize policies that improve the contracting process for nonprofits and ensure they get paid in-full and on-time. This reform will create a more equitable and efficient system, allowing these crucial organizations to focus on what matters most: serving all New Yorkers.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


PNY has been actively testifying before the New York City Council in support of streamlining New York City’s nonprofit contracting and payment processes. See our March 2024 testimony here

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