Public Presentations Before Common Council Committee

RIOC Public Purpose Funds Hit the Home Stretch

Updated 2 years ago David Stone
RIOC Public Purpose Funds Hit the Home Stretch
Photo courtesy of Gallery RIVAA

Annual distribution by RIOC of $100,000 in public purpose fund grants is a big deal for Roosevelt Island's lineup of nonprofits. After a protracted delay, grant requests are ready to step up for the next stage in approvals, this one involving interviews before a Common Council committee, this week. You're welcome to attend and comment.

RIOC Hands Off Approved Nonprofits for Common Council Review

Each year, the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation asks the Common Council for advice on how it distributes Public Purpose Fund grants. Total distribution is capped at $100,000 annually.

The groups to be considered at this phase have asked for more than $221,000 in support.

The Common Council designates an ad hoc committee to stage public interviews. That committee, chaired again this year by Dave Evans, arrives at recommended grant levels after reviewing funding requests and interviewing candidates.

Next, the Common Council in whole votes to approve or amend the recommendations before reporting back to RIOC for final approval.

Interviews this year will be held at the Good Shepherd Community Center on November 14th and 15th.

Times and order of reviews has not yet been announced.

Roosevelt Island Nonprofits Applying

Public Purpose Funds, according to RIOC's website, are "...allocated to benefit Roosevelt Island residents, enhancing their quality of life through education, artistic and cultural enrichment, improved health or a better environment."

Before sending applications to the Common Council for review, RIOC also prequalifies them with a goal including only trustworthy nonprofits that can be expected to help the community.

Applicants prequalified by RIOC for 2017:

  • Roosevelt Island Disabled Association: Long time leader Jim Bates passed away this weekend. Wendy Hersh is working hard to put the pieces back together. 
  • Roosevelt Island Historical Society: Led by Judy Berdy, the Historical Society is our unofficial and under-compensated ambassador for visitors from around the world. 
  • Roosevelt Island Visual Art Association: No other nonprofit organization has done as much to draw new people and art, and Tad Sudol's group does it aggressively and on a shoestring budget. 
  • Wildlife Freedom Foundation: After years of aiding homeless cats, geese, squirrels and other needy animals on Roosevelt Island. Rosanna Ceruzzi got serious and created a formal nonprofit organization.
  • Life Frames uses an innovative approach to teach children the nature of living things through gardens. 
  • Island Kids: Nikki Leopold's relieves stress on parents by offering creative activities for children, including a popular summer camp. 
  • More Arts, Inc. 
  • Main Street Theatre & Dance Alliance, led by Kristi Towey and a veteran team of instructors, trains future Broadway stars as well as everyday theatre enthusiasts.
  • Roosevelt Island Swimming
  • PS/IS 217 Parent Teacher Association
Rehearsal for Northanger Abbey, an original musical at MST&DA
Rehearsal for Northanger Abbey, an original musical at MST&DA
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily

Absent this year are the Roosevelt Island Seniors Association, which received a controversial grant last year, and the Carter Burden Network, which elected not to apply, this time around.

The Public Purpose Fund Committee now has its work cut out for it in a time-shortened period.

"The committee has much work to do," says Evans, "inclusive of the interviews - reviewing/evaluating all applications; individually scoring each application in accordance with RIOC established criteria."

Next Evans's committee "...submits a report, inclusive of recommended funding, to the RIRA/Common Council for review."

After the Common Council agrees on final numbers, they are sent back to RIOC where they must be voted on by the Board of Directors.

All this work is done through the volunteer efforts of Common Council Members. It's a demanding, pressure packed process that starts out with valid requests for twice as much funding as can be approved.

As timing for interviews and other information becomes available, we will share it with you here. 

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