Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Here's How RIRA Recommends Spending $100,000 In Public Purpose Funds For Roosevelt Island Organizations - Come To RIRA Meeting Tonight To Find Out More

Bag Of Money Image From Trade Show Shopping

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) will be meeting 8 PM tonight at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street). The Agenda for the meeting is here. As always, prior to the start of each meeting there is a public session in which any resident can come and address the Common Council Delegates on any issue of concern.

Among the items on the Agenda will be RIRA's recommendations to the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) for the allocation of $100,000 in Public Purpose Funds. RIRA's Public Purpose Funds Sub-Committee will be presenting their report to the full RIRA Council and if approved their recommendations will be sent to RIOC for Board approval and distribution of funds to the allotted organizations.

I attended two of the Public Purpose Funds Sub-Committee meetings. One meeting involved the interviewing of two applicant organizations for funding. The second meeting was the actual discussion by Committee members of their reasons for and final recommendations to RIRA of allocating Public Purpose Funds to the applicant organizations. I must say that I was pleased and impressed with the diligence, thoughtfulness and hard work displayed by the Public Purpose Funds Sub-Committee in reviewing the applications and arriving at their final recommendations.

Image Of RIRA Public Purpose Funds Subcommittee Meeting

As a condition of attending the second meeting, I was asked not to publish any information regarding the actual amount of Public Purpose Funds that the committee recommended be allocated to the various groups prior to the March RIRA meeting. I agreed to that condition with the exception that if I received the information from other sources, I was free to publish how the Committee recommended these funds be distributed and the Committee agreed to that exception.

That condition has been met. Below is a chart showing RIRA's Public Purpose Funds Sub-Committee recommendations for 2011 allocations and a summary of their reasons. Click on the Chart image to enlarge.
Summary of 2011 RIRA Public Purpose Fund Recommendations

Island Kids

Amount requested:    $25,000 Recommended allocation:    $20,000
The Island Kids program continues to be managed effectively and to offer a well-received program. The request is for scholarships for the summer camp that the program runs. With an income eligibility test to receive a camp scholarship, the program benefits low and moderate income residents. Last year, the number of applicants for full and partial scholarships exceeded the funds available. This year, the participation in the program is expected to grow. The committee recommends the same allocation as last year, however.


Amount requested:    $26,558 Recommended allocation:    $20,000
This program will offset the loss of the school's Art program to public school budget cuts. Although the funds for this program were eliminated, the mandate in the curriculum for art instruction remains. Given competing priorities for PPF allocations, the amount the committee recommends represents one fewer teaching artist than the applicants requested.


Amount requested:    $34,610 Recommended allocation    $5,000
This program has received mixed reviews from the parties involved with it. It has been popular with the children involved, but has not been able to expand funding from outside sources. The main concern from the committee for the upcoming year is whether the program would be able to operate effectively in light of renovation taking place at PS/IS 217—it's main programmatic targets in the past. The committee intends that it's allocation promote some continuity in the program as it expands to other target audiences, with the hope that other funding can be found to leverage future PPF allocations.


Amount requested:    $19,500 Recommended allocation    $7,500
The RICLA performs a valuable function in supplementing the advertising funds of Island organizations and assisting such organizations in obtaining grants. The committee members wish to further this objective. The committee is concerned, however, about the effectiveness of these efforts to date. The recommended allocation is for the advertising matching and grant-writing programs only.


Amount requested:    $20,000 Recommended allocation    $20,000
The RISA request is for a different purpose than were previous requests. The current request is to fund a popular activities program for Island seniors. The committee members view the request as a modest one compared to the benefit of the program. The recommendation is to allocate the full amount that the applicante requested.


Amount requested:    $9,105 Recommended allocation    $9,000
The request from RIDA, while modest, may produce the highest benefit-cost comparison of all the programs that the committee considered. The current request goes for the operation of the van that was funded by a past PPF grant and thus leverages that allocation in a beneficial and meaningful way.

R&R Concerts

Amount requested:    $9,600 Recommended allocation    $9,000
This applicant has shown the initiative to incorporate as a 501(c)(3) organization, which status will help it raise outside funding in the future. That initiative, combined with the history of the applicant's programs on the Island are likely to enable the applicant to expand it's program here.


Amount requested:    $20,000 Recommended allocation    $9,500
The committee recognizes this applicant's achievements in acquiring and renovating the kiosk that is it's main venue of operation. The portion of the request for an intern archivist is also promotes a worthy goal. The committee members believe, however, that the direct benefit to Island residents is lower than that of other applicants. The amount that the committee recommends reflects that belief.
In some cases, the Public Purpose Committee members had widely different views as to how much money a particular organization should be allocated. The final recommendations were arrived at by averaging each Committee Member's recommendations per group and then making slight adjustments to insure that the total amount of funds to be distributed did not exceed $100,000.

On balance, I think the Committee did an excellent job prioritizing the various interests represented by the groups seeking funding and allocating most of the funds for Seniors, the Disabled and Kids.

UPDATE 2/3 - The RIRA Common Council approved the Public Purpose Funds Sub-Committee report during last night's meeting and will send their recommendations on to RIOC.


Jim Hines, Manhattan Park said...

Thank you for the fine report with regards to the funding distribution. However as a fairly new resident of the Island, I am not sure what all of the organizations "Initials" stand for? If those could be listed, that would be helpful.


The full names of the organizations can be found

Jim Hines, Manhattan Park said...

Thank you for the prompt response. Greatly appreciated!

Anonymous said...

The Historical Society is getting almost $10,000 ... for what?

Give that money to the kids!!!

Anonymous said...

The kids are getting enough money already. I think this is a good distribution of the funds. Well done, RIRA.

Anonymous said...

I also think this is a good distribution of the funds. I am glad that LifeFrames got 5K, not 34K it requested.

Anonymous said...

Give all the money to RIRA they done so well in past, these clowns have no clue.

Anonymous said...

The school gym is open 6 days per week with program ranging in age from 6 to 60 including the supposed not served. Give charlie some credit it's deserved and who is this guy sal.

Anonymous said...

Yay for Judy Birdy!!!

More free money!!!