San Francisco City-Funded Nonprofit Workers Fight for Increases

On April 18, 2012, hundreds of nonprofit workers along with clients, nonprofit executive directors and supporters packed the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Budget and Finance Committee’s hearing on city-funded nonprofit increases.

Wearing nonprofit justice buttons, speakers testified about the plight of nonprofit workers and the impact of the lack of increases over the past several years. Speakers spoke proudly about the vital services nonprofit workers provide to the community. Yet, many nonprofit workers are struggling to make ends meet. Most are one paycheck from becoming homeless.

In the meantime, tax loopholes allow big corporations and banks to avoid paying their fair share. This isn’t fair to nonprofits and their workers. Big corporations and banks should pay their fair share of taxes in order that nonprofits can get the increase they deserve.

Ramses Teon-Nichols has worked for nonprofits for seven years. He is a counselor for Community Housing Partnership.  Teon-Nichols testified, “The living costs have really gone up over the years. It is getting really hard to make it.”

Maria Guillen is a San Francisco city worker with the Department of Aging and Adult Services. She  testified, “Oftentimes, we hear the plight of the low-income senior that must choose between food and medicine, because their fixed income doesn’t stretch to cover both.

The plight of the nonprofits is similar when they, too, are at a fixed income without benefit of an annual COLA or cost of doing business increase.  They often need to choose between paying a decent salary to keep skilled staff or paying rent on time or an increase on health-insurance costs. In both cases, we should all be working to keep seniors and agencies that serve them healthy and whole.”

Patrick Buckalew works for Huckleberry House as a case manager. He discussed the impact on what would happen if nonprofits are not given the money they need. He testified, “Either you give us the money we need or you are going to have more kids in the foster system that is going to cost more money in the long run. You are going to have more kids in abusive homes. You are going to have more kids in the hospital. We are a bargain.”

For additional coverage about the hearing, visit Beyond Chron:  Hundreds of Nonprofit Workers Tell Supervisors “We Need a Raise!”

After the testimony concluded, Supervisor John Avalos stated, “I am strongly in favor of working to get an increase for nonprofits.” He noted that the city is facing a $170 million deficit. Nonetheless, Supervisor Avalos promised to work with “the Mayor’s office to  see what we can do.”

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