2023 Candidate for Cambridge City Council
1. Experience with Cambridge nonprofits. Do you have work or volunteer experience with Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. I have led the non-profit Magazine Beach Partners; served as President, Clerk & Treasurer of the Cambridgeport Neighborhood Association; initiated the exterior restoration of St. Augustine's African-Orthodox Church; served as the Treasurer of Afterworks (an afterschool for mostly new immigrant children); served on the board of the Cambridge Performance Project; and done so much more.
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. Non profit workers engage directly with Cantabrigians and have firsthand knowledge of their challenges and aspirations.
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'd need to hear the City's position on this first. There must be pros and cons.
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?
I don't know. It's essential that the City and our non profits work together to provide services in a coordinated way. We should assess needs together, evaluate programs and develop an overall plan for service delivery.
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. It's been very hard to access the ARPA funds overall. Yes, we should identify the issues stalling the distribution of funds and work to remedy them ASAP!