Monday, February 23, 2015

Roosevelt Island Organizations Fear No More Annual $100 Thousand Public Purpose Funds - RIOC Says Funds Are On Hold Pending Further Clarification From NY State

What is the status of Roosevelt Island Public Purpose Funds distribution for 2015?

As described by Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) President Charlene Indelicato:
... Every year, RIOC awards a set amount of Public Purpose Funds to non-profit organizations whose programs benefit Roosevelt Island residents. These funds are provided for the educational, artistic, environmental, and cultural enrichment of the community, with an aim to deliver services to those who need them most....
In past years, a portion of approximately $100 thousand was distributed annually among Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations.

However, as reported last January 17, the 2015 RIOC Public Purpose Funds distribution is in jeopardy due to this January 13 NY State Authorities Budget Office Policy Guidance stating:
... All state and local authorities which, as a matter of practice or policy, grant or loan their monies to such entities without specific legislative authorization are directed to immediately end such practice or policy so as to comply with applicable state law and the opinions of the State Attorney General and State Comptroller...
Apparently, there is no specific legislative authorization for RIOC to  grant Public Purpose Funds.

Last Saturday, a leader of a Roosevelt Island organization that has previously obtained RIOC Public Purpose Funds reported receiving a phone call from RIOC saying that there are no Public Purpose Funds available this year.

Today, I asked RIOC President Indelicato:
I understand that Roosevelt Island organizations were told definitively that there would be no RIOC Public Purpose Funds this year.

Is it true that RIOC will not allocate Public Purpose Funds this year?...
Ms. Indelicato replied:
No, we just said it was on hold until we can get further clarification.
During February 4 Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Public Session, NYC Council Member Ben Kallos spoke

about funding for Roosevelt Island community groups noting that the deadline to apply for expense items, such as those allocated by RIOC Public Purpose Funds, was February 20.

Mr. Kallos added that funds for capital projects through the Participatory Budgeting process are available for Roosevelt Island.