Message From Executive Director Allison Sesso

Two years ago, when I was named Executive Director of HSC, I pledged to: elevate the voice of the nonprofit human services industry and increase our sector's political clout; lead the way on sector wide reform efforts aimed at reducing burdens and increasing opportunities; add the sector's collective voice to movements focused on the underlying issues that bring people to our doors and undermine our ability to help those we serve move forward; and demonstrate the sector's contributions to communities, and to other systems, including education, healthcare, and business. I'm happy to say that with the support of our funders, supporters, partners, Board, staff, and our members, we've made great strides.

For starters, we've just released our Commission to Examine Nonprofit Human Services Organizations Closures report, New York Nonprofits in the Aftermath of FEGS: A Call to Action. Last year, HSC convened the Commission to examine the systemic problems contributing to the instability of so many nonprofit human services organizations with the goal of delivering thoughtful and succinct recommendations to building a strong human services delivery system in New York and addressing obstacles to providing quality programs in communities.

The time to re-envision our approach to human services delivery is now, and as the biggest funder, government must lead the way - in partnership with the human service sector and our philanthropic partners. The report is out, but our work is just beginning. It will take a concerted push to move the conversation forward and make something happen.

Using our report as a roadmap, HSC will work towards:

  • Programs that are designed with consideration for community perspective and genuine provider input;
  • Public policy changes that address financial stresses faced by nonprofits contracting with government;
  • Rates of reimbursement that support a living wage at human service agencies;
  • Increased ability to assess risk by nonprofit human services managers;
  • Improved oversight practices by nonprofit boards and auditors; and
  • Ending the perpetuation of nonprofit human services providers' participation in issues of inequity.

HSC is approaching this work with an eye towards equity. From our perspective, nonprofits must push back against contractual agreements that undermine their ability to pay a living wage to their predominately female and staff of color and insist on rates that lend themselves to quality programs that incorporate the voices of those being served.

We envision a human services delivery system where nonprofits delivering services operate from a place of strength by refusing to participate in a system that perpetuates the racial, wealth, gender, and other dynamics of bias undermining progress . We want nonprofits to take more political risks in support of progressive policies, including support for fair tax policies and a higher minimum wage. We envision a much more enlightened and engaged human services sector; one that is helping to lead the progressive movement.

I encourage you all to read and share our report and reach out to me with your comments and thoughts. If you are interested in supporting the work we do, you can donate to us or join HSC. Keep abreast of our advocacy actions by signing up to our mailing list.

With your continued support, we will be successful. I look forward to building a stronger, more equitable human services sector for New York with all of you.

Allison Sesso
February 2016