Hopes for $100,000 in Grants from RIOC

Common Council Public Purpose Fund Grant Recommendations

Updated 5 weeks ago David Stone
PPF Grants help Gallery RIVAA and other Island nonprofits complete their missions.
PPF Grants help Gallery RIVAA and other Island nonprofits complete their missions.
Photo courtesy of Gallery RIVAA

On Thursday evening, an ad hoc committee of the RIRA Common Council, headed by Dave Evans, successfully asked the full Council to approve $100,000 in Public Purpose Fund Grant recommendations. The biggest winner is Roosevelt Island, which again benefits from an abundance of volunteer spirit.

Public Purpose Funds: Who Got What Out of a Shallow Pool

Because the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation makes far too little available, Public Purpose Funds must be divvied up in a way that rarely meets the needs of any of the nonprofits they're intended to help, Evans and his committee of three were forced to call up something like the wisdom of Solomon to reach the fairest recommendations.

Evans and his team, consisting of himself as Chair along with Erin Feely-Nahem and Cynthia Wilkerson, addressed that point in their presentation.

"...the Common Council continues to urge RIOC to fully implement the still relatively new PPF-related legislation approved by Governor Cuomo," they wrote.

"Championed by our local legislators, the funds, in our view, should be granted at or close to three percent of the RIOC operating budget in the manner envisioned. As evidenced by this and prior reports, qualified Island 501c non-profits lack funds sufficient to fully meet their goals beneficial to the Island."

Grant Recommendations Sent to RIOC

You can get a more detailed story, including video, at the Roosevelt Islander blog, but here are the highlights.

  • PS/IS 217 PTA: The committee recommended $15,000 of the $22,500 asked for educational enhancement. Mindful of controversies around PTA activities and spending, the funds were tied tightly to specific programs.
  • The Wildlife Freedom Foundation won funding for the first time. Among many humanitarian activities carried out by founder Rossana Ceruzzi, the Foundation takes on responsibilities previously handled by the now defunct Island Cats.
  • Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association took a major hit, denied all but $11,800 of $42,000 requested. The additional funding would have paid for utilities at their gallery and an upgrade to their heating and cooling systems. With nowhere near enough money available, the Committee also wondered about who should pay for necessary infrastructure repairs in expensive rental space. Poor facility maintenance was long a theme when RIOC managed spaces and contributed to the failure of several Main Street businesses. Hudson has done nothing to address the problems at RIVAA's gallery since they began demanding rent.
PPF Grants make it possible for MST&DA to offer a home for the Holiday Spectacular. Teacher and performer Kaitlyn Abdul is seen here rehearsing her charges.
PPF Grants make it possible for MST&DA to offer a home for the Holiday Spectacular. Teacher and performer Kaitlyn Abdul is seen here rehearsing her charges.
© David Stone / Roosevelt Island Daily
  • Island Kids won a recommendation of $15,000 for a new program that takes this group into new territory: "Moving Forward Vocational and Educational services aimed at helping teens and young adults navigate personal, social, and emotional growth necessary to reach their full potential."

Mission accomplished, Evans, in a conversation with The Daily, "expresses his great appreciation and honor in working with Committee Members Erin Feely-Nahem and Cynthia Wilkerson. 

"They are professional, smart, thoughtful, and dedicated to efforts aimed at helping make our community great."

Evans also wanted to "thank RIOC for giving our Island Residents Association the opportunity  to make recommendations on the use of Public Purpose Funds aimed at helping qualified not-for-profit Island organizations who collectively offer so much in this place we call home."

Pressed for time because RIOC was slow in getting approved applications to them, the all-volunteer Public Purpose Fund Committee did yeoman service to the community, putting in long hours listening to, then evaluating presentations from nine needy organizations.

That they were rendered decisions this fair and well thought out is something of which the Common Council can be proud.

There's hope that, as well as approving these grants, RIOC will also follow the Common Council's advice and open up a great deal more funding for our nonprofits.

Comments powered by Disqus