Below is GPNP's 2016 media coverage.
“Since the legislation passed, several organizations designated under the measure — including the Allegheny County Bar Association, the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership — nominated volunteer board members. City council finished the confirmation process in recent months. ‘The board is designed to assure an open and transparent government. That’s part of our mission statement,’ said Linda A. King, a lawyer hired to be the board’s executive manager on a part-time basis. She hopes the group fosters trust and confidence both within and outside the city government, she said. Specifically, board members are expected to enforce the recently reworked city Ethics Code, which requires independent and impartial conduct by municipal workers.”
“Efforts have sprouted in Western Pennsylvania and around the country aimed at fostering healthy dialogue about hotly charged political topics amid what seems to be an increasingly polarized American populace. The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership focused on the goal at its annual meeting Friday.”
“Americans should work harder at breaking out of comfort zones, traveling to unfamiliar neighborhoods and being open to listening to opinions that differ from their own, several speakers emphasized Friday during Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership's annual meeting. … Urgency to foster healthy dialogue and bridge divides across greater Pittsburgh permeated discussion at the nonprofit advocacy group's meeting and panel talk, which centered on the theme, ‘Post Election: What did we learn?’ ‘What this election proved is the entire community is very heavily positioned on one side or the other, and so this gives us an opportunity to bring everybody together,’ said Kevin Bolding, president and CEO of YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh and 2017-19 advisory board nominee for GPNP, an advocacy arm of The Forbes Funds that represents more than 400 nonprofit groups.”
“[GPNP’s Annual Meeting] aimed to equip attendees with advice and perspectives to start productive conversations and move forward together, now that we’ve overcome the figurative sickness. The four-expert panel, moderated by the board president of PublicSource, Jim Crutchfield, acknowledged that contentious events like the presidential election often cause like-minded people to coalesce and shun opposing viewpoints.”
“A recent survey by the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership of its members found 70 percent of respondents expect personnel costs to rise, which is challenging because nonprofits generally can’t pass along the added expense to consumers. … Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, said the organization backs efforts to raise wages for the nonprofit sector, but the dramatic change in the overtime rule is posing major challenges for the region’s nonprofits. ‘We don’t have a profit margin to make up the additional costs,’ she said. Of 77 nonprofit organizations that participated in the partnership’s recent survey on the new rule, nearly 71 percent said the higher costs weren’t covered in their current operating budgets. Together, those organizations estimated they face an increase of $6.1 million to implement the overtime change.”
“‘We need to do a lot of healing and bridge building and get back to the business of improving the quality of life in our region,’ said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, which represents 450 organizations. Balbier said each candidate ‘represents disenfranchised populations that feel they have been marginalized, but they are being led by one political perspective ... not having a conversation about where the other side is coming from.’ The theme of the partnership's annual meeting this month is, ‘Post-Election: What did we learn? How can the community restore civil discourse?’ Balbier gave a simple answer to the latter question: ‘It's going to require a lot of work.’”
“‘This is a real sigh of relief for a lot of nonprofits because their capital projects have been held up, their financing has been held up,’ said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. ‘This is going to get the ball rolling.’”
“[Monday October 3] Sam Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP), and I will be exploring with Rick how we can work together in support of this mission for our region. GPNP is part of The Forbes Funds and represents a coalition of more than 450 nonprofits. … [Tuesday October 4] Later in the afternoon, Sam Balbier and I will meet with Joni Schwager, executive director of The Staunton Farm Foundation, about an issue of joint concern: the undercapitalization of behavioral health services in the region.”
“While voting is a right of every U.S. citizen, the process isn’t easy for those faced with strict registration deadlines, voter ID laws and limited access to polling places. That’s why the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP), a part of The Forbes Funds, is committed to getting everyone to the polls this election season. The GPNP, a coalition of over 420 nonprofits and community partners from a 12-county region in southwestern PA, assembled 17 cohorts to participate in the nonpartisan Nonprofit Vote voter engagement program. The cohorts, which include area nonprofits such as Just Harvest and the Wilkinsburg Family Support Center and Office of Child Development, are tasked with getting at least 4,250 of their clients—250 per cohort—to vote. To reach that goal, the program will host a variety of activities over the coming weeks to register voters before the state cut-off date of October 11 and to generate enthusiasm for the November primaries.”
“The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP) with funding from The Pittsburgh Foundation and the national group called Nonprofit Vote is organizing the effort, which aims to get at least 4,250 people—250 from 17 nonprofits each—registered and to the polls. How successful they’ll be won’t be known until early 2017 when data will be compiled and analyzed, GPNP executive director Samantha Balbier said, but it should show if nonprofits in Western Pennsylvania are an effective vehicle for increasing voter turnout.”
“As it has in past national election years, the Port Authority of Allegheny County has teamed up with the Black Political Empowerment Project to push that organizations tenet that African Americans should vote in each and every election. In East Liberty, Sept.8, PAT and B-PEP announced that 40 buses will carry that message across Allegheny County as they ply their daily routes between now and the Nov. 8 election.”
GPNP participated in the press conference announcing Roll to the Polls. GPNP Public Policy Manager David Streeter and GPNP Nonprofit Vote Coordinator Deaglan McManus are included in NPC's photos from the event.
“National Council of Jewish Women, Pittsburgh Section, is one of 17 organizations participating in the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership (GPNP), a nonpartisan voter engagement program. The 17 regional nonprofits will engage staff, consumers and boards in the 2016 election.”
“‘The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership has assembled a cohort of 17 regional nonprofits to engage staff, consumers, and boards in the 2016 election,’ said Auberle CEO and GPNP Advisory Team Chair John Lydon. ‘It is well established that the people served by nonprofits are among the least likely to participate in elections, which creates a sense of detachment and disenfranchisement from the issues impacting their daily lives. To address this, GPNP is harnessing the nonprofit sector’s deep regional reach to empower people to participate in the democratic process.’
‘The 2015-2016 budget impasse revealed a concerning lack of political urgency in our Commonwealth and we do not want to see that happen again,’ said Catholic Charities Executive Director and GPNP Public Policy Chair Susan Rauscher. ‘This program provides GPNP an opportunity to mobilize, educate, and build relationships with thousands of voters in southwestern Pennsylvania. Additionally, the program will help others to see voting as one way to get involved in the civic process by providing follow up information about the role of the General Assembly and Governor on the issues that impact our communities in order to increase citizen participation in upcoming state policy decisions.’
‘This is just a first step in a larger effort to engage the general public in issues that impact communities that are typically left behind in the political process,’ said GPNP Executive Director Samantha Balbier. ‘The nonprofit sector has a tremendous amount of untapped and allowable advocacy power. We are ecstatic to have such a strong cohort of organizations participating in our program and we are looking forward to the next few months of activities.’”
“Not knowing whether to rely on state RACP funding is particularly disconcerting for cash-strapped nonprofits trying to avoid unnecessary debt service and construction or financing delays that hike project costs, said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. She said she's been flooded by calls from nonprofits who anticipated an announcement in the spring. ‘They're in the middle of capital campaigns and facility expansions,’ Balbier said, ‘so timing is everything and being able to get a firm answer one way or another is important.’”
“Samantha Balbier, the executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, a coalition of 420 nonprofits in Southwestern Pennsylvania, says that they found that nonprofits that were not Medicaid-reimbursable, with budgets less than $10 million, were hit particularly hard by the impasse—organizations such as senior-care service providers, domestic-violence shelters, and some drug and alcohol facilities. While Balbier’s organization is encouraged that Wolf recognizes both the importance of restoring human-services funding and how the impasse cost nonprofits money, she says there’s still a lot of concern that ‘there could be a precedent set where the budget is just never passed on time, and where Pennsylvania politics emulate what happens on the federal level.’
“‘It's really important to have an on-time budget that invests in services in the state,’ said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. Human services will not receive increases, but at least nonprofit agencies know the outcome and can move forward, she said. Kate Dewey of the Forbes Fund, the nonprofit arm of the Pittsburgh Foundation, called an on-time budget ‘extraordinarily important.’ ‘Last year created such havoc,’ she said. ‘It really took agility to navigate the nine-month budget impasse.’ It would take millions of dollars to make human service providers whole from last year, she said.”
“A recent survey by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, the United Way of Pennsylvania, and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership shows organizations all across the state were stressed by the budget impasse. According to the survey — based on results of 176 respondents — 135 organizations borrowed about $172 million during the impasse.”
"...more than a dozen people who spoke Wednesday at a noon rally in the courtyard in front of the Westmoreland County Courthouse to lobby state lawmakers and Gov. Tom Wolf to pass a state spending plan on time this year. As signs throughout the crowd of about 200 pointed out, passage of last year's state budget was delayed by 267 days, causing funding problems for municipalities, schools and social service programs."
GPNP Vice Chair Bobbi Watt Geer and GPNP Advisory Team member Laurie Barnett Levine spoke during the rally, along with representatives from GPNP members the Consumer Health Coalition, Family Services of Western Pennsylvania, Westmoreland Case Management and Supports, and Westmoreland Community Action.
"A new survey says nonprofit organizations that carry out social services in Pennsylvania still owe interest from loans taken out during the protracted state government budget stalemate. The survey of 176 nonprofits also found that the organizations haven't filled or restored about half of the 380 full-time positions that were eliminated or affected during the budget fight. The survey, released in May, comes from the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations. It reflected data from July 1, 2015 through Feb. 29."
"The Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, a program of The Forbes Funds, estimates the new regulations will increase expenses for local nonprofits by as much as 10 percent. Samantha Balbier, its executive director, testified June 9 before the Pennsylvania House of Representatives’ Human Services Committee that government reimbursement rates to human services nonprofits need to be increased so they can accommodate the rising labor costs associated with the changes to the overtime regulations. Carrying the burden of making up funding gaps during the 2015-16 state budget impasse was devastating for human services agencies, she said. Now, they face further destabilization if the 2016-17 budget is delayed or funding remains flat. 'Nonprofits are not in control of their pricing structure so there’s no way to administratively calculate how to make up that margin,' Balbier said. 'It’s the government that controls the reimbursement rates that service organizations receive. If the government isn’t going to increase the reimbursement rates, they either have to cut services or increase fundraising goals from private foundations, companies and individual donors or change their entire service delivery model.' Like the commonwealth, most nonprofits have a fiscal year that begins July 1. That means guesstimating how much compliance will cost when the rules kick in five months later for purposes of their own budgets, while keeping fingers crossed that the state’s 2016-17 budget is approved on time. 'It’s worse and worse, a perfect storm,' Balbier said."
“A survey recently conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership illustrated how Pennsylvania nonprofits were financially devastated by the budget impasse. The survey revealed that 17,100 clients served by 22 organizations in all 67 counties received no services or reduced services as a result of the impasse. Additionally, 135 organizations borrowed more than $171.9 million to continue operations -- using cash reserves, borrowing from banks or “borrowing” from their vendors by delaying payments.”
"Adrienne Walnoha, executive director of Community Human Services Corporation based in Pittsburgh [and a GPNP Advisory Team member], said she and her partner had no other option but to empty their retirement accounts just to replace the damaged roof of their house. Despite their personal finance woes, the main concern of the non-profit employees lies with the clients they've had to turn away. '[During budget impasses] we are to look at the thousands of citizens of Pennsylvania pouring into our office and say "we have no bed for you, sleep in your car in 2 degree weather. We have no food for you, go hungry. Our psychiatrist can't see your mother so you will have to figure out another way to manage her schizophrenia,' Walnoha said angrily. 'You expect us to do what government can't or won't.'"
"The survey was administered by PANO in partnership with the United Way of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, with data received for the period between July 1, 2015 and Feb. 29, 2016. PANO did the analysis and created the report."
“‘We want to make it very clear that the nonprofit community is not bemoaning these changes,’ said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, an advocacy arm of The Forbes Funds representing more than 400 nonprofits in a 10-county region. ‘We are in support of people's wages being increased; it's just how is this possible without the state Legislature acknowledging the increased cost of doing business?’ … GPNP joined nonprofit advocates statewide in requesting a House Human Services Committee hearing set for Thursday, during which they will seek more funding and discuss the effect that last year's state budget gridlock had on nonprofits.”
“This survey of 176 responding nonprofits was done by PANO, United Way of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. The House Human Services Committee has scheduled a meeting on the survey Thursday. … As nonprofit leaders take soundings at the Capitol, they hear the soothing cliche that nobody wants to go through another stalemate again. That doesn’t mean it won’t happen, though.”
“According to the study prepared by Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, along with Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership and United Way of Pennsylvania, more than 17,000 Pennsylvanians served by 22 organizations received no services or reduced services throughout the budget standoff. Then there were 90 organizations that had to find ways to compensate for $80 million that was supposed to come from Harrisburg, but was delayed or never arrived.”
“A new survey says nonprofit organizations that carry out social services in Pennsylvania still owe interest from loans taken out during a protracted state government budget stalemate. The survey released last week comes from the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, the United Way of Pennsylvania, and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations. A total of 176 nonprofits responded to the survey, which also found that the organizations haven't filled or restored about half of the 380 full-time positions that were eliminated or affected during the budget fight. The impact ranged from the severe to the inconvenient, but even groups that had enough cash to survive had to change how they operate.”
“A new survey says non-profit organizations that carry out social services in Pennsylvania still owe interest from loans taken out during a protracted state government budget stalemate. … The survey released last week comes from the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations.”
“The survey of 176 nonprofit organizations, which often serve vulnerable populations, was conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations (PANO) along with the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership and United Way of Pennsylvania. The number of respondents was a small fraction of the more than 3,000 nonprofits in Pennsylvania with government contracts and grants.”
“With many of them already scrambling to make ends meet, Pennsylvania's cash-strapped nonprofits will have to cough up $532,000 in in non-reimbursable interest payments for loans they took out to get through the 2015-16 state budget impasse. … The findings come from a survey of 45 groups conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership.”
“A new survey illustrates just how hard-hit Pennsylvania nonprofits were by the budget impasse. Among the findings: 45 organizations will need to pay back a collective total of $532,000 in interest, and the equivalent of more than 380 full-time employees were laid off, furloughed or had their hours, pay or benefits eliminated or reduced, according to the survey, which was jointly conducted by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, the United Way of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. The survey also found 17,100 clients served by 22 organizations in all 67 counties received no or reduced services as a result of the impasse, and 135 organizations had to borrow money, whether it was from their own cash reserves, borrowing from banks or “borrowing” from their vendors by delaying payments.”
“During Pennsylvania’s budget impasse, 135 nonprofits had to overcome shortfalls of $172 million to continue operations. Half came from tapping their own cash reserves; 39 percent, or $67 million, was via bank loans or lines of credit; and the remaining $15 million was attributed to delayed payments to vendors. That’s according to a survey by the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, United Way of Pennsylvania and the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership.”
“Now that coalition, PApeoplecount.org, is trying to find ways the budget process can be adjusted so that ‘nonprofits can be sustainable and not broken by this political process,’ said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. Because changes to the process in Pennsylvania require legislative action, not a voters’ referendum, ‘reforming the process is a daunting if not impossible task,’ she said. Among the budget overhauls the partnership’s public policy committee has analyzed and which could benefit the nonprofit sector, Ms. Balbier said, are a legislative proposal to reimburse the interest rate on loans that agencies secured to fund their operations during the impasse and a proposal to adopt a two-year budget. To help nonprofits prepare for whatever happens in the next budget round, the partnership is planning training sessions for members on topics such as how to right-size their organizations, cash advances, hiring and purchasing. Many organizations cut back on staff or equipment in the current fiscal year or were forced to secure lines of credit. ‘They are in a much more fragile situation’ for 2016-17, Ms. Balbier said.”
“‘We’re very proud of the nonprofits in Pennsylvania for being as well-equipped as they were to get through the last budget impasse, so that the community was not as negatively impacted as could have been,’ she said. ‘But I think going into this next budget year, the nonprofit organizations are much more compromised than they were last year, and so our guess is that we will start to see services actually not being provided at the community level. And so it’s the constituents and people of Pennsylvania that will suffer the most.’”
“With the deadline for passing the fiscal 2016-17 budget some two months away, nonprofit leaders have a common request for the state’s elected leaders: Compromise and pass a budget on time. ‘At the heart of it all is respect for the deadline of June 30 and a clear understanding of its impact on nonprofits,’ said Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. Should the deadline be missed, the GPNP and others call for a basic change in state policy. They want state aid for human services to be classified as essential for protection of public health, safety and protection. This would enable state aid to flow even without a budget in place, drawing on the revenue flow from existing state tax revenue. During the impasse, the state continued to spend money on law enforcement, corrections and public assistance as essential services.”
"Unfortunately, the collateral damage cannot be ignored. For example, nonprofits affected by the impasse will be paying debt service for years, according to Samantha Balbier of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership."
Also printed in The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review as "Impasse ends, but Lone-Wolf Doctrine remains."
"I'll go with my colleagues from the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership to meet with state senator Randy Vulakovich (R-38) as we work to support nonprofits and develop strong relationships with legislators."
"Samantha Balbier, director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, said tucked into the bill was a provision ensuring that child welfare services would receive a full year's worth of state funding even if the next budget is also late by several months. 'What I was told,' said Balbier, 'was that it was absolutely crucial that this clause be passed to assure that child welfare agencies and providers receive their fourth-quarter payments.'"
"Providers of human services also felt the effects of the long delay in the budget. Samantha Balbier, executive director of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, said Wednesday that nonprofits will be paying the debt service incurred because of the impasse for years, and that nonprofits are concerned the politics of the 2016 election year will cause another budget delay."
"In Allegheny County alone, $198 million in funding - $33 million a month - was held up by the state, according to the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership. GPNP has surveyed 270 service nonprofits in the county on a monthly basis since July. In October, 50 percent of respondents reported cash flow problems. By December, it was up to 95 percent. GPNP is a coalition of about 420 nonprofits and community partners from a 12-county region in southwestern Pennsylvania that is part of The Forbes Funds, which in turn is a supporting organization of The Pittsburgh Foundation. It is in the early stages of developing a statewide study to assess and evaluate the damages caused by the 2015-2016 budget impasse on the nonprofit, government and business sectors. 'We're very concerned because of the acrimony in Harrisburg. The degree of polarization in government right now is so unhealthy that we need to figure out how to find common ground,' said Samantha Balbier, GPNP executive director. 'We're really worried that the sector is not going to be able to finance their way out of another budget impasse, that very difficult decisions around stopping services and laying off employees will probably be considered much earlier this time around,' Balbier said. The nonprofits in Allegheny County with budgets of less than $100 million - excluding the universities and hospitals - employ about 10 percent of the county's workforce, she said."
"'We're more concerned about this year than even last year,' said John Lydon, chair of the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, and CEO of Auberle, which provides services such as foster care, emergency shelter, and drug and alcohol and mental health programs."
GPNP Advisory Team Chair John Lydon discussed the budget impasse with Patrick Cloonan. Click to download the audio of the interview.
“‘Kimbal Musk’s interested in Pittsburgh, likes it quite a bit,’ the mayor said, stressing that the South African-born entrepreneur has yet to make a decision on whether to open a restaurant here. Nonetheless, Mr. Musk, who was the keynote speaker for the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership’s Summit 2015 in October, has looked at the produce terminal, which is being redeveloped for office, retail and food uses, as well as other locations in city neighborhoods, Mr. Peduto said.”
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Natasha Lindstrom appeared on WESA's "Essential Pittsburgh" and discussed GPNP's research comparing state budget consequences in other states, as well as our advocacy work regarding the state budget. Click here to listen to the segment.
"We begin this morning with a reminder that actions have consequences. ... The same holds true, it seems, for 49 other General Assemblies across this great land of ours. There, lawmakers have learned, state budgets tend to pass faster if there are consequences for inaction. That's the result of a study by the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership, one of innumerable nonprofits affected by Pennsylvania's 1,345-day-long budget impasse."
"Pennsylvania has virtually no consequences when lawmakers fail to pass a budget on time - a dynamic that is unusual among the 50 states, a national review of state budget rules shows. Six months into what has become the state's longest budget stalemate in at least 40 years, the Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership decided to examine consequences for late budgets elsewhere."