Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Roosevelt Island Residents Association Special Meeting November 11 To Review, Debate & Vote on These Public Purpose Funds Committee Recommendations - Final Approval Up To RIOC

Image Of September 2015 RIRA Common Council Meeting

A Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA) Common Council Special Meeting will take place 8 PM Wednesday November 11 at the Good Shepherd Community Center (543 Main Street) to review, debate and vote on the RIRA Public Purpose Funds (PPF) Committee's report recommending the allocation of up to $100 Thousand in Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Public Purpose Funds

 Image From RIOC

to Roosevelt Island non profit organizations. The RIRA approved recommendations will then be submitted to RIOC for final approval

As previously reported, the RIRA PPF committee did not submit its report to the November 4 RIRA meeting so a meeting was called for November 11 to discuss the issue. PPF Chair Dave Evans explained:
It is with regret that the PPF Committee report did not arrive in time for proper distribution to the Common Council for its review. For that, I take full responsibility. I am also fully aware of the fact that the applicants are anxious to know, and for valid reasons, the extent of funds that could possibly be availed them. I sought confirmation of when the decision of the Council would be acted upon at RIOC, the answer effectively being as early as a Board Meeting in December though there would be staff work required in advance of that. As evidenced during the November meeting, the Council will find a proper way to make this happen. 
All of the presentations made by Roosevelt Island organizations to the RIRA PPF committee can be viewed on video here. Watching them is a very good way to learn about the programs and services they provide and may be available to you.

Here's the recommendations of the RIRA PPF Committee which will be reviewed, debated, voted upon and sent to RIOC for final approval.
Summary of 2015 Public Purpose Fund (PPF) Committee Funding Recommendations

Date Finalized ‐ November 5, 2015

PS/IS 217 Parent Teachers Association (PTA)

Amount Requested: $32,000 Amount Recommended: $17,000

The PTA 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 four through eight will continue to be targeted in an effort to further increase the number of students who achieve proficiency ratings on the NY State exams. 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. In fact, recent reports of an increase in testing performance might in part be attributed to Salvadori. Further, it is hoped to help mitigate losses from PS‐IS/217 of the “best and brightest” to other schools due to any lingering concerns parents might have about school performance.

Roosevelt Island Visual Arts Association (RIVAA)

Amount Requested: $42,000 Amount Recommended: $9,300

The RIVAA application describes in a broad manner the program activities that PPF could address. Yet, as evidenced by questions answered at the public review session, the high cost of rent at its location is the greatest challenge facing RIVAA. In fact, RIVAA remains concerned about this as indicated by the following statement in its application: “Funding is necessary for us to continue operating. Currently, we pay monthly rent of $3000. This amount is way beyond the amount that we take in monthly from our exhibition sales or funding from other sources.” Several of the key questions asked were about the scope of RIVAA’s fund‐ raising efforts, size of membership and the prospects for dues to help off‐set expenses. Further, a lingering question is whether there are island locations available at lower cost. It is the sense of the Committee that there is value to having this art gallery on the island and there is also the potential for growth. The challenge remains with regards to being able to meet operating costs.

Life Frames, Inc.

Amount Requested: $19,900 Amount Recommended: $5,000

The Life Frames program continues to be directed by an energetic leadership and supporting staff inclusive of parental support. Observations confirm that many children actively participate in the gardening activities. The gardening site near the Youth Center is the primary operating location and, when the children are there, it is a delight to observe the joy and lessons it provides them. As noted in prior years, Life Frames continues to be well‐funded in California but also continues to face more challenges in its funding effort in New York City. This funding challenge, given the breadth of what Life Frames could do, is inimical to its broader goals.

Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS)

Amount Requested: $24,700 Amount Recommended: $8,000

The Historical Society seeks funding support to: (a) maintain a viable number of contract staff at the Visitors Center, (b) compensate other administrative support, and (c) pursue a project to record the oral history of the island. As to the latter, not only could students benefit if availed to them, but also, “the lessons could eventually be captured in a book for the shelves of the center”. Though unable to recommend a higher amount of the PPF, the Committee is of the view that the Visitors Center, given its location, will benefit from the increasing number of residents and visitors to the island and especially the near‐future Cornell presence. Further, it is hoped that the number of operating days and hours of the Visitor Center can eventually be increased.

Roosevelt Island Senior Association (RISA)

Amount Requested: $20,000 Amount Recommended: $15,000

The RISA continues to provide a valuable service to and advocacy for island senior residents. In its application, the association seeks funding primarily to increase offerings to its members and, with an open door policy for visitors consistent with the rules of their governing authority. Apparently, some off‐island seniors also find their way to the Center. Classes in aerobic activity such as various dance styles have proven so effective and popular in demand that the intent is to expand them so to offer on a more regular basis.

Island Kids

Amount Requested: $20,000 Amount Recommended: $7,000

The Island Kids program is well‐received throughout the island and has again requested funding to support its scholarship efforts for the summer camp. The scholarship program allows for a wider number of children to attend who otherwise would not be able to engage in such organized summer activities due to limited family resources. Furthermore, the summer camp is unique to four and five year olds on the island. Thus, the committee felt the program’s scope merited funding given its outreach, inclusiveness, and uniqueness.

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA)

Amount Requested: $11,400 Amount Recommended: $11,000

The RIDA program has various needs as highlighted in its application for PPF. The primary need is based upon the fact that the RIDA bus has been out of commission for a lengthy period of time. This has greatly affected the quality of life opportunities for its members. As in the past, the Committee noted that the bus is capable of accommodating ten wheelchairs and with travel, creates opportunities for its occupants that many of us take for granted. It is primarily for this and associated reasons that the Committee concluded the funds would be put to good use with high benefit to those served through the RIDA.

Youth Center‐IDig2Learn

Amount Requested: $15,000 Amount Recommended: $9,000

The IDig2Learn program is well accepted by islanders and is multi‐faced – serving the “PS IS/217 during the day and the Roosevelt Island Youth Program and its Beacon after school”. Under the overall direction of its energetic leader, the approach of this program is aimed at, among other goals, keeping children in touch with nature and growing fresh fruit and vegetables. The possible benefits to participants in this broad program include proper eating, an awareness of ‘mother nature’, and enhanced social and academic achievements. The Committee is optimistic about the prospects of this specific program expanding further and with obvious benefits to island residents.

Main Street Theater and Dance Alliance

Amount Requested: $35,000 Amount Recommended: $18,700

It is obvious that MST&DA has made significant strides since coming forth as a first time applicant to express needs subsequent to the trauma of hurricane Sandy. Their application focused upon the help that PPF could provide in support of their scholarship program and further offers. The scholarship program helps ensure islanders (children through seniors) can participate who otherwise could not. Further, there are a variety of dance and fitness programs offered. The need for supplies and equipment continue as well. PPF can help this resource to the island as it continues to get stronger going forward in terms of self‐sufficiency.
UPDATE 11/11 10:30 PM - The RIRA Common Council approved the Public Purpose Funds Committee recommendations for allocating $100 Thousand to Roosevelt Island non-profit organizations. The recommendations now get sent to RIOC for final approval.