Thursday, March 7, 2013

RIRA Approves $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds Allocations To 12 Roosevelt Island Organization Last Night - On To RIOC For Final Approval

Pile Of Money Image From Passive Income Genius

The Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council approved the recommendations of its 2013 Public Purpose Funds committee for the allocation of $100 thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds during its monthly meeting last night. These recommendations will now be submitted to RIOC for its final approval.

Here are the recommendations.

Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN)
Amount Requested $35 Thousand - Recommendation $4,250

PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
Amount Requested $32 Thousand - Recommendation $12,700

Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)
Amount Requested $30 Thousand -  Recommendation $10,500

Life Frames Inc.
Amount Requested $25,360 - Recommendation $3,250

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)
Amount Requested $22 Thousand - Recommendation $7,000

Roosevelt Island Seniors Association (RISA)
Amount Requested $20 Thousand - Recommendation $14,700

Roosevelt Island Community Literary Association (RICLA)
Amount Requested $20 Thousand - Recommendation $3,500

Island Kids
Amount Requested $19 Thousand - Recommendation $13,100

R&R Concerts
Amount Requested $14,850 - Recommendation $11 Thousand

Amount Requested $10,500 - Recommendation $7,500

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA)
Amount Requested $10,500 - Recommendation $9 Thousand

Roosevelt Island Chamber Of Commerce
Amount Requested $10 Thousand - Recommendation $3,500

Roosevelt Landings Residents Association (RLRA)
Amount Requested $5 Thousand - Recommendation None

The rationale for the recommendations are here.


YetAnotherRIer said...

It's always fun to read up on the explanations why the RIDN always gets a lot less of the pie than Island Kids. This year is no exception. You cannot tell me that there is not a certain bias involved here.

Mark Lyon said...

Does Island Kids also offer similar programs to RIDN? I understood that they they operated on a smaller scale and more affordable level than RIDN ( vs ).

RIResident said...

RIDN and Island kids are two very different organizations. RIDN is first and foremost a school. We have highly educated staff and operate based on curriculums etc. Island kids is also a great organization, but they are more like enrichment classes, although they also have a great summer camp. They aren't a fair comparison, one to the other. They are both needed on this island, and there are plenty of children who can take advantage of both programs. The sad fact, is that it costs a lot of money to run a school, and RIDN really could use a lot more money to be able to hand out more scholarships to the community.

Nikki Leopold said...

Allow me to clarify the difference between the two organizations. Island Kids provides enrichment classes for babies and toddlers, most of which are 45 minutes per session. In addition we provide a free of charge mom and baby group and a highly successful summer camp for children aged 4-10 that was started in 2006 at the request of the community. Both Island Kids and RIDN provide an invaluable resource to Roosevelt Island but have very different missions. Comments such as yours only create divisiveness, especially when done under the veil of anonymity.

Island Kids and RIDN were evaluated by RIRA separately. There was no explanation provided by RIRA comparing the two organizations as stated in your post. Last year, Island Kids raised $31,000 towards scholarships to our Summer Camp program, $11,000 of which came from Public Purpose funds. The rest came from an outside corporate donation which was a key factor considered in our Public Purpose application. We've raised a similar amount this year, I won’t address the accusation of bias because it is baseless. 

As someone who has many years of experience in non profits and grant writing, the most productive response to a less than desired fundraising outcome is self reflection on the part of the organization. Identifying any problems within the funding request is a good starting point. However, turning blame on a more successful applicant does a disservice to the organization that you claim to support, 

YetAnotherRIer, if you are currently involved in RIDN leadership, you might want to reconsider the way you publicly represent for that very worthy organization. If not, figure out a way to support them that makes you look less petty and uninformed.

Nikki Leopold

Executive Director

Island Kids, Inc.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I am not involved in the nursery school at all (nor am I in yours). But it is amusing how you thought I were. Even observers like I have this feeling that something's amiss.

Nikki Leopold said...

If I seem defensive it is simply in response to what seem like an ongoing attempt at pitting one organization against another over the
years, based on a lack of understanding of what both offer and also how the Public Purpose Fund process works. We have RIDN brochures at our facility that are available and continually refer families to their program. They have done the same for us in the past. Your comments are non productive and a deflection from any positive relationship that has been developed between the two organizations over time.

Island Kids is not the only organization that received more funds than RIDN. I’m confused at your assertion that Island Kids was their main competition. In addition to my comments, two other individuals have
pointed out the vast differences between the two organizations. You seem to suggest that if Island Kids were out of the picture, that the
money would have been divided differently. Nothing in RIRA's recommendations supports that. The committee looks at the full
financial background of each organization, what the requested funds will be used for, and where the most benefit to the greatest number of Island residents will be. We will be able to provide over 38 weeks of scholarships with our allocation, and are thrilled to be able to do
so. That is why the implication that we got these funds at the expense of one other particular organization is bothersome.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: It's not RIDN vs. (say) Island Kids, it's RIDN vs. all of the other participants. In short, RIDN (1) provides less value for PPF dollar than others, (2) the number of residents served (per dollar) is much smaller by one or two orders of magnitude, (3) is already one of the better funded, financially capable organizations on the Island and is less in need of PPF. For example, RIDN's top line is about $1.5 million, which is mostly tuition, and an endowment (investment fund) of approximately a half million. With approximately 50 students, the average tuition cost is about $30K for full-time students (ballpark number).

At RIDN's pricing, one has to make a lot of money: this isn't a program for low or middle income residents. In fact, the median income for financial aid participants is about $60K.

When RIDN provides scholarships, they only provide up to 50% scholarship, i.e., the parents need to be able to afford the remaining $15K-ish tuition.

So even if we gave RIDN their full request of $20K, the benefit would accrue to 2-3 kids. And, because it is a school (which is different than most other applications), if we couldn't give another $20K for those kids to continue next year and the year after, the benefit of the first $20K would be small, even if we accepted the idea that it would benefit a very tiny slice of residents.

Really, the $20K RIDN is requesting would cost approximately $6,000-$10,000 per resident. Meanwhile, PPF for other applicants are provide benefit to hundreds of residents at half the cost. And the benefits RIDN would provide are not a cross-section of the community, they are the people who can afford the remaining 50% of the tuition which, according to their representative, is $60K+ income.

Years ago, Margie Smith (then RIRA member, now RIOC Director) complained about the high salaries and their increases in the RIDN application (2009?). In fact, had the salary increases been kept to normal industry levels, there would be no need for the PPF funds, i.e., the PPF funds would paying for the salary increases.

The problem with the RIDN proposals is they are less competitive than the other applicants and, thus, get less money. This has been explained to RIDN every year, yet they keep returning the same PPF application the year after. And even if they gave someone 100% scholarship, the cost-benefit would be $20K for one or two children (who would still need to receive the same benefit the next couple years), again not competitive with other PPF applications.

Or said differently, do you want one fifth of your PPF money to benefit one or two residents? Right, I didn't think so.

RIResident said...

Once again Frank, you show your ignorance... RIDN is not a huge money making machine. Our teachers aren't raking it in, our directors aren't raking it in. Our teachers are paid middle to low industry standards and our directors as well. We devote 50K to our scholarship fund from our budget, and fundraise for more...each year our scholarship needs change. I remember having a time when we had 1 in 5 kids having some kind of financial assistance. Our school has grown to 80 children, for whom, having a place to go allows their parents to go to work. We provide not only 50% scholarships, but they range all over the place. in our PPF request we asked for a lot more, sure, but each dollar that we receive we pass on to the community. We have children from each building on the island...not just 'elitist" buildings. By not receiving more PPF it is that much harder to afford to give more scholarships to mid-low income brackets. We asked for 35K... not 20... with 35K, plus our 50K and more that we raise, we would be able to fund many many more children... and thus support more Island families. It's your short mindedness and your poison that you spew that makes you a nasty bully. We provide a valuable asset to this community.

Janet Falk said...

The real issue is why the PPF supply of money remains at $100 K, when there is considerable demand from legitimate Island groups serving large numbers of residents in the community.

Frank Farance said...

RIResident: My comments are based upon RIDN's presentation to the PPF committee. Sorry for the typo: so you're saying 1/3 of the PPF funds should benefit only a handful of residents, right? That's what your application says and was confirmed in the meeting with RIDN. As for "elitist", your Executive Director said the median income of scholarship grants is $60K, and scholarship is limited to 50%. Are you saying the Executive Director's statements were not reflective of RIDN? Other than my typo on the funding request, you have not provided any facts of substance to counter my points. And many people on the PPF committee said they themselves couldn't afford RIDN for their own kids, it's really expensive ($23K-31K per child). It's obvious RIDN was a low priority (didn't compete well) for most of the committee.

It's not "short mindedness and your poison that you spew that makes you a nasty bully". Right, any time someone points out inconvenient facts about RIDN, we get the same criticism you provide above, as heard over the years. It's just facts that make RIDN a poor recipient of PPF money. It's not bullying, it's hearing misleading BS from people (like you) that is troubling.

Again, I'm not saying RIDN is a bad organization, many people recognize it's value, and so do I. I'm saying:

- that it's an expensive organization ($23-31K per child for full-day), see rate card "",

- that it's geared for high-income people (which is totally fine and it's a great business success) or those with funded child care expenses (and the hospitals are reserving slots in RIDN for 465 and 475 residents),

- that the medium income for scholarship recipients is pretty high (i.e., low/middle income people need not apply),

- that RIDN PPF application applies to a very small number of Island residents with a very high cost/recipient, and

- that (given the limited amount of PPF) RIDN doesn't complete well for the RIOC PPF program grants ... RIDN might do very well for other grants.

Rather than complaining about the complainers, why not listen to the criticism of the application and why it competed poorly? The PPF committee has spent lots of time trying to balance the priorities, and the RIDN keeps hearing the same same criticism, but doesn't change its approach.

Really, had 1/3 of the PPF been spent on a handful of residents (which would require similar funding in following years), I think most people would be screaming loudly that this is a poor use of PPF when other organizations and projects could get more Bang For The Buck with benefits spread to a wider part of the community, not just those making more than $60K.

CheshireKitty said...

RIResident: Ms. Leopold has explained the differences between the two programs - so they can't be compared directly. The PPF committee had to divide up a limited amount of money - Janet is right in observing that the amount of money RIOC allocates to the PPF itself should be increased now that the island has grown. Then the needs of the organizations could be better met. I don't think Frank's comments are poisonous or divisive. He has pointed out that considering the overall facts of the clientele of RIDN, their other sources of funding, and so forth, it would appear their needs are not as acute since they are drawing clients from a more affluent group of parents that are less likely to need scholarship support. What is wrong with saying that? He should be in a position to know since I think he was on the PPF committee. If the affluent group of clients can afford to pay, then why should scarce resources (State money) be directed to that organization to provide scholarships to them vs an organization that may be geared to those who may find it difficult to pay for a similar program. The result is that the benefit of the PPF is extended to those who get the most benefit - who wouldn't be in a position to obtain the service otherwise. I don't see this as discriminatory or biased against the affluent. Many scholarships or financial aid programs are aimed to assist those who need financial assistance to attend college for example. Nobody complains about these funds going toward needy or less affluent kids who would not be able to attend college otherwise. Why attack Frank - basically, he's just saying the same thing.

YetAnotherRIer said...

And why was it not explained that way? Why was the explanation given very wishy-washy? The way it was explained (or not explained) was the main reason why I commented in the first place.

CheshireKitty said...

Because this is the way Frank thinks - in terms of math/numbers. You have to read some of Frank's comments in such a way as to skip over the math/numbers and instead look for the drift of what he's saying. Otherwise, you may get side-tracked or think the explanation is wishy-washy. Even so, with the numbers provided, you get a glimpse of what went into determining the PPF RIDN allocation.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: I am trying to understand your point ... where was it explained wishy-washy? Thanks.

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