2023 Candidate for Cambridge City Council
1. Experience with Cambridge nonprofits. Do you have work or volunteer experience with Cambridge nonprofits?
Yes. I was the Adoption Director at Cambridge Family and Children's Services. I have also worked very closely with many Cambridge nonprofits, such as CEOC, East End House, Margaret Fuller House, Y2Y and others.
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. I have been a social worker with children and families for close to 30 years. Supporting vulnerable people has been my life's work, and I bring that experience to the City Council. I understand first hand what it's like to have ever growing responsibilities, with ever shrinking budgets. My work on the Council has focused on affordable housing, homelessness, poverty, mental health and substance use disorder, early childhood education, and more. I don't just vote for policies, I champion them.
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 have found our city's interpretation of the anti-Aid amendment very frustrating. I watch other cities use funds much more flexibly then we do. This is a fight I have been working on for years. Our nonprofits are essential to supporting our residents and although the city does a lot, we do not do enough. We must be more flexible.
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 regularly reach out to my networks, both in my political and professional roles to try and recruit people to work in Cambridge. One thing I want to do is work with the Non-profit Coalition to hold a jobs fair to not only recruit employees but educate the public on what services are available in Cambridge.
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. Again, this is something I have been working on both publicly and behind the scenes. Similar to my answer on the anti-aid question, for a "progressive" city, we are far too conservative with how we provide funds to our non-profits.