2023 Candidate for Cambridge City Council
1. Experience with Cambridge nonprofits. Do you have work or volunteer experience with Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. My volunteer and work experience has been predominately with Phillips Brooks House Association, doing sports empowerment work in Cambridge between schools like Baldwin and Tobin. I have volunteered for other nonprofits in Cambridge as well as events and activities came up in our community. I love taking the time to interact with nonprofits because you all are doing the day-to-day grassroots work of supporting, inspiring, and empowering our community.
2. Valuing nonprofit expertise. Cambridge nonprofits deliver programs and services across a wide range of missions, from early education and youth development, to affordable housing production and management, arts and culture exposure and education, food security, environmental preservation, civic engagement (or community involvement), and much more. As a result, nonprofit leaders and staff are often well positioned to advise the City on program policies related to their clients and consumers. Will you use your position on the City Council to ensure that the City incorporates the voice and expertise of nonprofit leaders into planning around current City priorities?
Yes. Nonprofits have one of the highest levels of expertise because they're serving the community every single day. They are hearing and navigating stories and situations with community members every single day. Nonprofits know exactly the types of needs that are pressing in the community and the intersectionality of these needs. We need to engage with nonprofits on issues in Cambridge because you all are one of the best advocates for our community members. This is exactly why I spent a large portion of my time meeting with nearly 30 nonprofits in Cambridge when I started the campaign because I know the hard work and effort it takes to run a nonprofit.
3. Limiting application of Anti-Aid Amendment. With the exception of contracts for services, the Anti-Aid Amendment of the MA Constitution prohibits municipalities from directly distributing funds raised through taxation to nonprofits. While the City provides financial support to nonprofits through contracting, this approach increased administrative burdens, can cause cash-flow issues due to payment delays, and limits creativity in developing new funding opportunities. It also can create an incentive for the City to start new initiatives rather than invest in programs already well established in the community. Will you use your position on the City Council to limit the application of the Anti-Aid Amendment to tax generated revenue only, in order to maximize the resources available to Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. I would support limiting the Anti-Aid Amendment because it limits the ability of the government to be as supportive to nonprofits. Also, it adds barriers that also limits the full potential of using our wealth to support our people.
4. Attending to nonprofit workforce challenges. According to CNC's December 2022 survey of Cambridge nonprofits, (70%) reported open positions and over a third (36%) said they lacked the funding to fill them, comprising their ability to meet service demands. Do you believe the City Council can play a role in helping nonprofits recruit and retain high quality staff?
Yes. I believe that in addition to pushing funding opportunities for nonprofits, we need to push community cohesion which can help recruit people to support nonprofits from volunteer or work positions. There is also opportunities to get our youth involved in ways that allow them to give back to the community.
5. ARPA investments in nonprofits. While Cambridge nonprofits are grateful for the City committing millions of ARPA dollars to local organizations, concerns have been raised both about the slow pace of releasing funds into the community and a lack of information being shared broadly regarding their progress. Will you use your position on the City Council to expedite this process and ensure there is greater transparency going forward?
Yes. We need more transparency with what's going on with our ARPA funds. Our city is leaning in on these funds which is great, but we can work with nonprofits to provide transparency on what is happening with these funds in addition to what we can do with our local funds, especially when we should support non-profits in a sustainable way.