Nonprofits must be part of CT health, social service and budget solutions

Posted in the CT Mirror, Public Policy Director Jeff Shaw writes, “Amid the negativity and divisiveness this election season, one issue has brought together Americans from across the country and both sides of the political aisle: the role of charitable nonprofits. In a recent report, nearly three quarters of those surveyed said they trust public charities with their checkbooks more than government and want to see expanded access to charitable giving.

In short, the study by the Independent Sector found that 74 percent of Americans trust nonprofit organizations, and want their resources to be used to see those community nonprofits thrive. But state policies and budgets have made thriving increasingly difficult.

In Connecticut, reoccurring state budget deficits and unplanned mid-year budget cuts, unfunded mandates, increased competition for resources, compounded by an increasing need for community services, threaten the well-being of more than half a million children, families, seniors and individuals with complex needs. These life-sustaining and community-enriching programs and services must continue uninterrupted.

Nonprofits provide enriching programs that improve quality of life, preserve the state’s history and cultural heritage and generate important economic activity. As Connecticut competes with other areas to attract people and businesses, robust arts, culture and heritage programs give us a low-cost advantage.

Further, nonprofits provide a wide range of community-based services, including feeding the hungry, providing respite care for families, serving victims of domestic violence, treating those with addiction, assisting people reintegrating into our communities from the criminal justice system, and more. With access to care and services in the community, individuals in need can avoid more costly services in emergency rooms, nursing homes, the streets and the criminal justice system. This is good public policy for individuals in needs of services as well as taxpayers.

In Connecticut, most, but not all, of our health and human services are delivered by nonprofits through contracts with state government…”

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