Friday, March 7, 2014

RIRA Common Council Approves $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds Allocations To 11 Roosevelt Island Organization - 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 2014 Public Purpose Funds (PPF) committee for the allocation of $100 thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds during its monthly meeting last Wednesday night. These recommendations will now be submitted to RIOC for its final approval.

Here is RIRA PPF Chair Dave Evans presenting the recommendations of the Committee,

the follow up discussion by RIRA Common Council members.

and the PPF Committee recommendations:
Roosevelt Island Day Nursery (RIDN)
Amount Requested: $35,000 Recommendation: $4,000

The RIDN, a recurring applicant, currently has two locations on the Island (405 Main Street and 4 River Road) and continues to serve a number of families. Given affordability concerns, there continues to be an effort to offer scholarships and applicants for such are evaluated by a third-party organization. The $35,000 that RIDN desires for scholarship assistance could conceivably help a number of families but could not be granted due to the aggregate needs of other PPF applicants. The recommended amount the committee puts forward is intended to provide some help in availing financial aid (scholarships) but believes RIDN could make a more concerted effort to aid needy applicants through a more aggressive pursuit of funding from other sources or perhaps from its own resources. As such, in the view of the committee with due consideration of information received, the practical breadth of the program as currently structured on the Island remains limited when compared to benefits derived from other organizations.

PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)
Amount Requested: $32,000 Recommendation: $15,000
The PTA, a recurring applicant, remains an active supporter of PS-IS/217. The essence of their request is to support a program (Salvadori Centre Globe) that focuses on a project-based approach to learning math and science. Grades 4 – 8 will be targeted as 60% of the students in those grades did not achieve proficiency in their last New York State mathematics exam. The committee believes this enrichment effort could provide medium to high benefit and will contribute to and enhance student performance, especially in math and science. Further, it is hoped to help mitigate losses from PS-IS/217 of the “best and brightest” to other schools due to parents’ concerns about school performance.

Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)
Amount Requested: $39,500 Recommendation: $16,000
The reality of higher rents has set in under the Master Lease Program. The RIVAA recurring request targets its increasing rent and utility expenses. Beyond its regular gallery, the RIVAA brought art to the Motorgate area and plans to do even more. While the committee believes that RIVAA does avail a special quality and benefit to the Island, given other competing priorities, it is not possible to fund fully the request. The committee continues to encourage RIVAA to, among other things, expand its fund-raising efforts so to mitigate expenses.

Life Frames, Inc.
Amount Requested: $19,900 Recommendation: $3,000
The Life Frames program is directed by an energetic leadership and supporting staff while continuing to be well received by those who participate in it. Though the gardening site near the Youth Center remains available, the committee found no evidence that the program will be able to use a site for gardening on the grounds of PS-IS/217. However, there could be some classroom interaction at the Public School, the Child Center, Coler Hosital, as well as the Senior and Disabled Associations. Life Frames, as a recurring requestor, continues to be well-funded in California but also continues to face more challenges in its funding effort in New York City. Though Life Frames as a long-time applicant has submitted an application that includes a wide list of possibilities/goals, when paired with information taken from the interview, the committee felt those goals would be hard to attain.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)
Amount Requested: $25,000 Recommendation: $5,000
The Historical Society, a recurring applicant, operates a Visitor’s Center that provides a wealth of information about the Island and probably has the most extensive database of Island history. The application is primarily for funding to: (a) support hiring a summer intern who does extensive archiving and database development, (b) update maps and brochures, (c) support independent contract staff very knowledgeable about the Island, and (d) avail year round support for the Historian. The committee acknowledges these as valid uses of funds but is unable to recommend full or higher funding given competing needs, inclusive of two non-recurring applicants in this year’s pool. The committee projects that going forward, given the pending growth on the Island and the associated increase in the number of visitors, the useful services of the Center will grow exponentially in demand and with some revenue stream. From this, high benefits will accrue to the Island in a broader sense.

Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA)
Amount Requested: $15,000 Recommendation: $13,000
The RISA, as a recurring applicant, continues to provide a valuable service to and advocacy for Island senior residents. As such, RISA continues to seek funding for needed upgrades, improvements and replacements that will enhance and highly benefit the quality of life for seniors on the Island. Having corrected errors in its prepared budget and provided to RIOC and the committee for review, the committee recommends that appropriate PPF funds are availed to support the efforts of RISA.

Island Kids
Amount Requested: $15,000 Recommendation: $10,000
The Island Kids program is well-received throughout the Island and has again requested funding to support its scholarship efforts. The scholarship program allows for a wider number of children to attend who otherwise would not be able to given relatively modest family resources. The committee felt the program’s scope merited funding given its high benefit to the Island.

R&R Concerts
Amount Requested: $11,250 Recommendation: $7,000
R&R Concepts, a recurring applicant, has consistently offered a variety of concerts that are well-received by and easily accessible for Island residents. The funds requested would cover about 50% of the anticipated costs for musicians, supplies and other expenses. The committee suggested that more outside funding be pursued, including from foundations. Further, R&R could investigate use of PS-IS/217 for performances with potential cost-savings and was urged to do more advertising in advance, inclusive of notices in Island buildings. The committee believes the Island continues to receive good benefit from R&R Concerts at relatively low cost.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA)
Amount Requested: $9,000 Recommendation: $9,000
The RIDA request is a little less than last year and is basically aimed at transportation, maintenance/repair and other associated costs. By providing bus transportation, the committee believes RIDA, a recurring applicant, has been extremely successful in providing previously non-existent opportunities with high benefit for the disabled. Though difficult to fully measure the outcome, forty bus trips, each capable of accommodating ten wheelchairs, would seem to enhance quality of life in ways many of us take for granted. The committee felt that similar elaborating language should have been included in the uncompleted Section One of the application that asked for a “successful community initiative” undertaken. The committee asked if it was feasible and advantageous to pursue joining a national disabled organization and if other funding sources were available. The response to the former was that joining a national would not be advantageous and likely a disadvantage. As to other sources of funding, this is becoming an increasing challenge for RIDA.

Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance
Amount Requested: $27,250 Amount Recommended: $15,000
MST&DA, a first time applicant, has a host of needs following the trauma of Hurricane Sandy, i.e., the storm’s impact upon costs, upon the prior location, and upon enrollment. The committee acknowledges the high value to the Island of the long-standing programs offered by the Alliance. Also noted was the breadth of residents who participate. For example, of 81 students who self-reported ethnicity, 25% were Asian, 21% White/Caucasian, 17% African-American, 6% Hispanic, and 30% of mixed heritage. The committee believes strongly that the Alliance should be restored to its former glory. Current projections from other possible funding sources will not do that.

Island Cats
Amount Requested: $3,000 Recommended: $3,000
As a first time applicant for PPF, Island Cats brought a lot of ‘sincerity of purpose’ to the committee. This group of concerned Islanders effectively care for “animals in the wild” (currently estimated at 90 or slightly more cats) that are located on Roosevelt Island and invisible to many residents. Yet, Island Cats with 12 – 20 volunteers, does its best to take care of the animals (feedings, medical care, etc.). There are shelters and/or feeding stations for these outdoor cats near Day Springs Church, the Garden Club and at the south end of the Island. Island Cats works with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and with other animal rescue organizations to stem the over population of stray cats abandoned on our Island. Their plan is to expand their program to reach out more to the disabled and elderly shut-ins, including increased therapeutic visits. This would provide good benefits and include, for example, nail-clipping the animal(s) owned by the visited or availing an animal to “cuddle”. Partnering with Dr. Resnick’s DASH program is under consideration as well as with both the Senior and Disabled Associations. Of course, there are expenses associated with what Island Cats does and with their plans for expansion. The committee was impressed by their enthusiasm and agrees with their need for help.


KTG said...

That allocation is ridiculous, so you give 4000.000 to RIDN which is 1/8 of what they requested but Island Cats get $3000? Really??

OldRossie said...

Island Cats? That's a thing? What about Island Pigeons? Island rats can also be cuddly, if cared for properly. All kidding aside, that's ridiculous. Allocate that $3k to pest control. Also, the Day Nursery should get all or none - there's an allocation to support scholarships which includes an acceptance that it can't afford scholarships... makes no sense.

APS said...

Yes, Island Cats... it's part of the fabric of our community. I don't think orgs like RR Concerts, Lifeframe of RI Nursery should get these funds. These are not orgs that serve the larger part of the Island, they are niche with limited reach.