Will Missteps Be Avoided, This Year?

Public Purpose Fund Season 2018 Underway

Updated 2 weeks ago David Stone
Public Purpose Funds help pay for programs at Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance
Public Purpose Funds help pay for programs at Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance
File photo

Yesterday, July 5th, RIOC started the process of seeking applicants qualified to receive grants from Public Purpose Fundsin the 2018 budget year. That began April 1st. Will RIOC handle it fairly and transparently, this year?

First, RIOC does next to nothing transparently. Fairness is in their hands, however.

After a season fraught with preferential treatment toward RIOC favorite, the Roosevelt Island Senior Center, in 2016, 2017 matched it in questionable, even inexplicable actions, starting on Day One. PS/IS 217's politically connected PTA was awarded a substantial grant, even after embarrassing the community by embracing the school's negligence in feeding a massive rat colony while international news sources picked it up, and actively engaging in a coordinated attack on another local nonprofit, the Roosevelt Island Youth Program.

The PTA, which already is given all revenue from the Farmers' Market without competitions, will ask for funds again, and it's unknown whether they will be held accountable for past misconduct.

This year holds the potential for greater hazards as, pressured by resident Board Members, RIOC's increased the fund by 50%, to $150,000, a paltry amount contrasted with need and the total, closer to $1,000,000, allowed under state law.

Needy nonprofits will be asked to compete for scarce dollars and the Common Council will similarly be asked to anoint the shortfall. (The Council's recommendations routinely cite the need for more funds but have little actual say in total allocations or who gets them.)

Here, according to RIOC's press release is how the process works:

Eligible nonprofit organizations, that provide direct services and programs that enrich the Roosevelt Island community, are invited to apply to the 2018 Public Purpose Funds grant program.

Interested parties are advised to submit a Letter of Intent, the form of which is now available on the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation’s website here. Completed Letters of Intent are due to RIOC by July 27 at 4:30 p.m.

This year, returning applicants will have a reduced burden of administrative paperwork. Please see the website for more information. Questions may be submitted to PublicPurpose@rioc.ny.gov.

Previous grant awardees include Island organizations that provide art, music and dance scholarships; summer camps, program and transportation services for the disabled and seniors, and staffing for the Roosevelt Island Visitor Center.

RIOC did not announce any plans or changes to make Public Purpose Fund grants more fair, transparent or generous, this time around.

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