The following letter was submitted by our President and CEO, Dr. Steven Girelli, as written testimony for today’s public hearing on S.B. 876, particularly as it pertains to nonprofit funding.
March 15, 2019
RE: Support of S.B. 876: An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation, and Other Purposes.
Dear Senators Fonfara and Witkos, Representatives Rojas and Davis, and members of the Finance, Revenue, and Bonding Committee:
I am writing on behalf of Klingberg Family Centers in support of S.B. 876: An Act Authorizing and Adjusting Bonds of the State for Capital Improvements, Transportation, and Other Purposes. This bill authorizes $25 million for grants-in-aid in FY21 for nonprofit health and human service providers through the Nonprofit Grant Program. This funding is vital to the nonprofit human services sector’s continued ability to serve Connecticut’s most vulnerable citizens, but the delay until FY21 in availability of these funds is very troubling. I request that the Committee add $25 million for FY20 in order to eliminate a funding gap that would be detrimental to the provider community and, most importantly, to those we serve.
Klingberg Family Centers was founded in 1903 and today provides a broad range of mental health, child permanency, and special education programs that serve nearly 2,000 individuals annually, many of whom are survivors of complex trauma. The Nonprofit Grant Program has been critical to Klingberg Family Centers in meeting our most pressing maintenance and repair needs. Grant funds have been used to purchase agency vehicles, replace faulty and leaking roofs, replace old and unreliable heating and cooling systems, and support general facility maintenance. Our few grant expenditures not related to critical maintenance or repair were used to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Examples of these include replacing old, inefficient windows and the purchase of a new electronic health record. Grant-funded projects, such as improved campus security, snowplow purchases, and generators, have directly addressed the safety of our clients and staff.
Capital projects help lower administrative costs, increase efficiency, and maintain high-quality services. Community nonprofits have no other way to capitalize for these types of projects within their current State contracts. If funding through the Nonprofit Grant Program were not available to us and the other nonprofit human service agencies in the future, we would be forced to divert operating funds from services that have become increasingly critical to the communities we serve, thereby reducing the availability of and access to those services.
The Office of Policy and Management (OPM) manages the allocation of these funds through a rigorous, competitive review process, assuring that funds are utilized for the most pressing of capital needs and have the most positive impact on persons served. Moreover, the long-term beneficial impact of funded projects is a key consideration, as is a healthy return on investment of State bond dollars.
Projects are limited to renovating existing facilities, upgrading information technology systems, enhancing ADA compliance, improving energy systems, and purchasing vehicles. These capital projects assure the provision of safe and well-maintained facilities, increase efficiency, and support critical physical plant maintenance and improvements. The request for funds has exceeded the amount available in every procurement since the Nonprofit Grant Program started in FY14, reflecting the critical needs it addresses. The elimination of these funds in the coming fiscal year would both force nonprofits to divert operational funds to meet facility needs and forestall needed repairs and improvements, increasing the ultimate cost of addressing them.
With these considerations in mind, I strongly I urge you to add $25 million in FY20 for the Nonprofit Grant Program.
Steven A. Girelli, Ph.D.
President and CEO