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State of the Sector 2024

February 28, 2024

This report provides results from a survey of New York Council of Nonprofits, Inc. (NYCON) members, providing information about the types of nonprofits in New York, their income, main challenges, and where they are located throughout the state.

2024 Waterfront and Resilience Platform: Waterfront Alliance Policy Priorities

February 22, 2024

Waterfront Alliance leads policy and legislative change; informs communities, elected leaders and decision makers; and educates residents, to bring forth systemic solutions. The 2024 Waterfront and Resilience Platform describes the following policy priorities and solutions for New York, New Jersey, and beyond:1.Climate Change Resilience and Adaptation      a.Infrastructure and Design      b.Governance and Planning      c.Dedicated Funding and Investment      d.Emergency Preparedness      e.Developing the Best Waterfronts Possible2.Climate and Estuary Education3.Public Access to the Waterfront4.Maritime, Working Waterfront, and Waterborne Transportation5.Renewable Energy

The Unusable Zoning Override Threat: Analyzing the State Urban Development Corporation’s Westchester Plans

February 15, 2024

This research report aims to explicate the tactics underpinning the State Urban Development Corporation's ill-fated efforts, between February 18, 1970 and 1973, to construct affordable housing in generally affluent, suburban Westchester County.  Designed to cut through federal and local municipal red tape that disincentivized private industry from entering the affordable housing field, Governor Nelson Rockefeller hoped that the Urban Development Corporation (UDC) could play a pivotal role in solving the state's housing crisis.  The UDC bore the unique power to override local zoning codes. It thus became immediately controversial, inducing the corporation's first president, the (in)famous Bostonian urban planner Edward Logue, to emphasize the UDC's ability to work with local municipal officials to construct much-needed housing, often through a locally-managed subsidiary corporation.  When the UDC entered Westchester County on February 18, 1970, hoping to expand its operations to the state's suburbs, these tactics proved ineffective in the face of the county's traditionally decentralized politics, municipal and county officials' long history of support for restrictive zoning and single-family residential construction, and the weakening political position of the county's once-powerful Republican Party.  Additionally, widespread protests against state-led public works projects in the late 1960s sapped local support for Governor Rockefeller's administration just before the UDC entered the county.  Combined, these factors conspired to enable affluent, white Westchester residents and officials to stall out the UDC until they could form a coalition of state legislators to pass a bill eliminating the UDC's zoning override powers, effectively ending state-level efforts to construct affordable housing.

New Yorkers Support the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act

February 1, 2024

This report releases new polling data showing a broad base of support from the New York public for the state's 2019 Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act. This data underscores New Yorkers' desire for climate action, and the importance of swift, effective implementation to protect communities statewide from the worst effects of the climate crisis. The report also details key pieces of legislation that New York must pass in 2024 to further implement and fund the climate law and provide immediate and long-term relief, assistance, and protection to New Yorkers statewide.

Lessons From the Field: Implementing Mental Health Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) & Recommendations for Future Success

January 26, 2024

NAMI-NYC partnered with fourteen organizations to learn about the impactful work they are doing through their disability/mental health ERGs to create a culture promoting good mental health and emotional wellness in the workplace. The goal was to bridge the gap between theory and practice to identify real-world applications of how ERGs are developed, what they focus on, and how they make an impact. To do so, we developed a survey based on a literature review of ERG best practices and workplace mental health programs. The survey was 45 qualitative and quantitative questions about governance, collaboration, and programming.This report presents the data learned from the survey and recommendations to support employees, leadership, Human Resources (HR), Diversity Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEIB), and Wellness teams starting or enhancing disability/mental health ERGs. It provides strategies to set up a successful governance structure, leverage cross-department collaboration, and create meaningful programs to reduce stigma and promote good mental health among employees.

Prison Plastic Surgery: The Biopolitics of Appearance and Crime in New York’s Civil Rights Era

December 4, 2023

From 1920 to 1990, around 500,000 US incarcerees received free plastic surgery during their incarceration. The majority of the surgeries — which included facelifts, rhinoplasty, chin implants, blepharoplasties, breast implants, etc. — were performed for purely cosmetic reasons, under the broad banner of prisoner rehabilitation. The underlying notion was to assist marginalized individuals in assimilating into society by capitalizing on prevailing beauty biases. New York was an early prison plastic surgery pioneer, alongside other rehabilitative offerings, but these programs were not without controversy. Concerned, in 1968, Governor Nelson Rockefeller charged the Department of Crime Control Planning to investigate the long-term outcomes of various recidivism programs, a project that spanned five years and covered 231 methodologies. This research report outlines the early emphasis on prisoner beautification, and the broader shift in carceral policies from rehabilitative to punitive, based on a review of records in the Rockefeller Archive Center pertaining to correctional reform, access to healthcare, and civil rights issues. This report summarizes my preliminary findings from the archives, and adds additional context to my book, Killer Looks: The Forgotten History of Plastic Surgery In Prisons, (Prometheus Books, 2021), which explored the history of criminal reform through the lens of beauty and bias.  Using records, the majority unearthed from the Joint Commission on Correctional Manpower and Training in the Nelson A. Rockefeller Gubernatorial Records, along with records from the Bureau of Social Hygiene, the Ford Foundation, and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund archives, I discuss rehabilitative ideals and lookism, intermingled with political wrangling and efficacy in twentieth-century New York. My work deals with correctional healthcare and surgery, but more broadly, it is about the shift from a rehabilitative to a punitive approach to crime. As contemporary discourse returns to the importance of rehabilitation, the insights presented in this research will foster current conversations and enable us to learn from the past. 

P-TECH 9-14 Pathways to Success: Implementation, Impact, and Cost Findings from the New York City P-TECH 9-14 Schools Evaluation

October 30, 2023

The New York City P-TECH 9-14 schools are an educational model that ties together the secondary, higher education, and workforce systems to improve outcomes across domains. The distinguishing feature of the model is a partnership among a high school, a community college, and one or more employer partners that focuses on preparing students for both college and careers within six years.P-TECH 9-14 schools collaborate with local colleges to provide students with an opportunity to earn a high school diploma within four years, followed by a cost-free, industry-recognized associate's degree. During the six-year program, employer partners provide students with work-based learning experiences such as internships, mentoring, and job shadowing. This model has proliferated rapidly both nationally and internationally since the first school was opened in Brooklyn, NY in 2010.This study provides impact, implementation, and cost study findings from the first rigorous evaluation of the model, examining the first seven P-TECH 9-14 schools that opened in New York City. The study follows entering classes of students for seven years after they begin ninth grade, which would carry them through the end of their expected high school graduations and through three years of postsecondary education. The study takes advantage of the random lottery process created by the New York City high school admissions system to identify the model's effects: It compares students who won lotteries to attend P-TECH 9-14 schools (the P-TECH 9-14 group) with students who applied but did not win (the comparison group). It also includes an in-depth implementation study that assesses how schools carried out the model, and a cost-effectiveness study that examines costs per college degree earned for P-TECH 9-14 schools compared with other schools.

Independent State of Mind: The Rise of New York's Unaffiliated Voters

October 24, 2023

Common Cause New York, a longtime leader in the voting rights and democracy space, received generous funding from The New York Community Trust to conduct a statewide poll and qualitative focus groups of unaffiliated voters in the late summer and fall of 2023. Our research mandate was clear: develop and analyze clear, actionable data on unaffiliated voters, understand their motivations, and identify any policy proposals that could deepen and strengthen their civic and electoral engagement.This report is the culmination of such efforts and our findings are clear:Overall, unaffiliated voters are engaged in politics and think voting is important. Unaffiliated voters believe it's their civic duty to vote and that they want to have a voice.Nearly 90% of unaffiliated voters stated they are likely to vote in primaries if they could and are engaged with down ballot local elections as well.Demographically, unaffiliated voters are predominantly white, college educated, live in the suburbs, and are over the age of 40. Politically, most identify as moderate or independents.Unaffiliated voters have a strong, clear preference for flexible policy solutions, specifically policies that do not require them to affiliate with a political party in order to vote in primary elections.Unaffiliated voters are a large and rising group of voters, and New York's elections and election administration are inherently at odds with them in a closed primary system and in a governance structure that is solely bipartisan by design.The following data and analysis provides rich insight into who these voters are, what motivates them and how they see themselves in the political system. Our findings show unaffiliated voters would deepen their engagement in the political process if given the opportunity, and there is a viable path forward if there is the political will to do so. 

Upstate’s Creative Spark: How the Arts Is Catalyzing Economic Vitality Across Upstate New York

October 18, 2023

To reverse decades of economic stagnation and population declines in upstate New York, policymakers should look to one powerful but often overlooked catalyst: the arts. By better integrating the arts into New York State economic development planning, policymakers have an opportunity to build on recent momentum and lay the groundwork for a more vibrant, sustainable, and equitable economy.

Advancing Regional Climate-Action Goals through Federal Funding: A Case Study of the Genesee–Finger Lakes Region

October 6, 2023

The most severe harms from climate change fall disproportionately on communities with low incomes and communities of color who are least able to prepare for, and recover from, heat waves, poor air quality, flooding, and other impacts. Infrastructure projects and economic policy decisions in the US have failed to fully account for related harms from pollution, natural disasters, and environmental displacement. The Infrastructure Investments and Jobs Act (IIJA) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), if implemented intentionally, provide an opportunity to reverse this damage. However, depending on the projects that localities prioritize, these investments could exacerbate rather than mitigate climate change. In this brief, we provide a case study of how New York's Genesee-Finger Lakes (FLX) region can use the IIJA and the IRA to advance their regional climate action goals. Based upon this research, recommendations for how the Genesee-FLX Climate Collective and other organizations like it can use the IIJA and the IRA to turn their climate action strategies into action include the following: Decide which tactics the collective will use to influence the IIJA and IRA funding decisions. Encourage "flexing" to use funds for climate action activities rather than their traditional uses. Pay attention to state formula grant programs and how those funds are spent. Take advantage of tax credits. Incorporate workforce development efforts across all topic areas. 

Spotlight on 3-K For All: New York City’s 3-K for All Supports Mothers’ Labor Force Participation

September 8, 2023

New York City's 3-K for All program was first introduced to a few districts beginning in 2017 and was gradually made available to all districts by 2021. The rollout prioritized the highest-need districts for prekindergarten services. This report focuses on the role of New York City's 3-K in supporting mothers' labor force participation and employment.Using data from the Early Childhood Poverty Tracker, which repeatedly surveyed the same New York City families with young children from 2017 to 2021, the report investigates whether 3-K availability was associated with increased labor force participation and employment among mothers of preschool-age children in New York City.

Nonprofit Workforce Shortage Survey In New York

September 5, 2023

In April 2023, more than 1,600 charitable nonprofit organizations throughout the United States completed the nonprofit workforce shortages survey designed to gauge whether job vacancies continue to be a problem for the missions of those organizations, how the vacancies impact communities, and what actions have been taken and are proposed for alleviating the challenges. More than one hundred New York nonprofits shared insights that provide the substance of this report.