HSC’s Semiannual Membership Meeting 2017

On Wednesday, February 08, 2017, the Human Services Council hosted our second FY17 membership meeting. The morning included:

  • a panel discussion on the impact of the federal election on the human services sector;
  • updates on HSC FY17 initiatives and strategy;
  • a vote on a slate of the Priority and Strategy Council;
  • HSC RFP rater and Government Agency Scorecard; and
  • updates on the Nonprofit Resiliency Committee.

Panel Discussion: Federal Administration and the Human Services Sector

As we move forward from the federal election, it’s crucial that we understand how federal economic shifts will affect our sector and our organizations. Moderated by Pat Jenny, Vice President of New York Community Trust, we engaged in dialogue with Jared Bernstein, Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor, and James Parrot, Deputy Director and Chief Economist at the Fiscal Policy Institute. The panelists discussed how potential federal policies like the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, plans to cut taxes, and implementation of block grants might affect City and State budgets. Many of these suggested policies might result in decreased funding to the City and State which will have a negative effect on human services organizations and the people we serve. Jared stressed the importance of monitoring non-defense discretionary spending and other funding streams that might affect human services. James suggested that the City and State are well positioned to weather potential cuts; ultimately, the sector should remain flexible, united, and ready to take action if necessary.

Updates on HSC FY17 Priorities and Strategy

Following the discussion, Allison Sesso, Executive Director of HSC, presented updates on HSC’s priorities for FY17. After the federal election, we find ourselves as part of a continuously evolving landscape.  We at HSC realize that we must remain flexible and ready to shift when necessary, while maintaining a clear and consistent goal—to insist on a strong nonprofit human services sector so that communities receive the programming, support, and services they need to thrive.

Highlights of HSC’s current priorities include advocacy efforts at local, state, and federal levels.

  • 12% Campaign to increase funding for indirect and OTPS concerns, which we’ve identified as central to the sector’s sustainability.
    • We are in discussion with high level City officials, and are looking for a solution that offers flexibility and address part of the budget other than raises for direct program staff.
  • Restore Opportunity Now Campaign, in partnership with FPWA and the Fiscal Policy Institute, is the first time we’ve created a statewide coalition, with 360 organizations signed on. Asks for this year include:
    • 15% overhead or federal indirect rate
    • Pay for minimum wage in contracts
    • More funding for nonprofit infrastructure fund ($100 mm)
  • Federal Roundtable intended to track and analyze fiscal, policy, and legislative shifts in order to understand the impact on nonprofits and communities
    • In response to federal shifts, we are forming a roundtable with key partners:
      • Catholic Charities, Archdiocese of NY
      • FPWA
      • UJA-Federation
      • United Neighborhood Houses
  • Value-based Payment Commission, spurred from the Call to Action Commission Work, intends to strengthen our role as thought leaders and discuss:
    • Risks inherent in VBP for nonprofits;
    • What is needed to mitigate those risks and ensure nonprofits are able to participate effectively in VBP (g., contractual language, funding, oversight structures for our relationships with hospitals);
    • What we can contribute to achieving better health outcomes; and
    • How we can demonstrate our value.
  • Disaster Readiness and Resilience Work is a natural and inevitable pivot nonprofits will take in the time of disaster. HSC is at the forefront of these efforts to help the sector prepare in order to reduce the potential risk on individual agencies.
  • Media Strategy
    • Our media consultant has been an important tool to get our message out and to help encourage government to prioritize the things we are asking for
  • Advocacy Institute
    • Trainings direct lead advocates and coalition partners on making their advocacy more targeted, robust, and effective.
  • Reframing intends to shift the public mindset of human services and focuses on human potential and positive community impact.
    • Our new mission statement reflects this important change:
      • HSC strengthens New York’s nonprofit human services sector, ensuring all New Yorkers, across diverse neighborhoods, cultures, and generations reach their full potential.

HSC’s Priority and Strategy Council

Following HSC updates, the membership in attendance voted on a new Priority and Strategy Council. Thomas Krever, head of the Nominating and Governance Committee, described the process HSC went through this year to adjust our governance structure and create this group. The Priority and Strategy Council is chaired by Frederick Shack and works in tandem with the Board to set priorities and develop feasible strategies.

After a unanimous vote, we are honored to welcome the new Priority and Strategy Council which can be found here.


RFP Rater and Scorecard Updates

Following the recommendations in our Commission Report, HSC has created a new set of raters that will enable HCS to inform its members about risks and opportunities associated with bids for human services contracts with the State and City of New York.  The RFP rater will allow participants to rate Request for Proposals and the Gov Grader will produce an annual scorecard of the City and State agency contract management performance.

Update on Nonprofit Resiliency Committee

The final piece on the agenda was a panel discussion update on the Nonprofit Resiliency Committee, led by Jack Krauskopf, Director of the Center for Nonprofit Strategy and Management at Baruch College. All three co-Chairs provided an update on the work they are doing, including renewal and auditing processes and the creation of a service design toolkit for Request for Proposals (RFPs).

The co-Chairs are as follows:

  • Phoebe Boyer, Collaborative Service and Program Design
  • Louisa Chafee, Organizational Infrastructure
  • Frederick Shack, Streamline Administrative Process


HSC is looking forward to continuing our efforts on behalf of the sector. We would like to thank our funders for their support of our work:

  • Altman Foundation
  • The Clark Foundation
  • Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust
  • The Kresge Foundation
  • New York City Council
  • The New York Community Trust
  • United Way of New York City
  • UJA-Federation of New York

We have an ambitious agenda and we thank our members, supporters, and partners for your dedication and advocacy towards the strength and sustainability of our sector.

About Human Services Council

The Human Services Council strengthens New York's nonprofit human services sector, ensuring all New Yorkers across diverse neighborhoods, cultures, and generations reach their full potential.
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