1. Experience with Cambridge nonprofits. Do you have work or volunteer experience with Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. For years, I worked as a victim advocate and volunteered at the Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (BARCC). BARCC is committed to ending sexual violence through healing and advocacy. The organization empowers survivors to heal and offers education and advocacy to prevent sexual violence. During my time at BARCC, I worked on the 24/7 crisis hotline, taught the Community Awareness Prevention programs, which covered topics such as responding to disclosure, bystander intervention, and consent, and facilitated survivor speakers. I continue my community awareness advocacy work around the country with my business, other non-profits, and legislative initiatives.
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. Listening to the opinions of our community partners is essential. I have had the opportunity to work directly with clients of a food distribution center situated on Mass Ave, and I have seen the exceptional level of service that is afforded to local residents. At BARCC, various options such as safety planning, and emergency housing may be considered, and collaboration is essential to provide needed services. Both these examples highlight the importance of seeking insights and guidance from experts and leaders in the field to further enhance the services that are available to the city's most vulnerable communities. The success of these programs is largely due to the unwavering commitment of non-profit organizations that work in tandem with others to better the lives of our fellow citizens.
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?
I don't know. I will review the Anti-Aid Amendment. I will be fiscally responsible and make the best use of taxpayer dollars.
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?
No. I understand that non-profit organizations are often managed by volunteers, which can make it difficult to find and keep employees. I am curious about this question and would like to learn more about what the CNC thinks the council could do to help.
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?
I don't know. I will have to assess the process. I agree transparency is essential in maintaining trust between the city and the citizens.