CT Nonprofit Alliance Honors Legislature’s Appropriations Committee Chairs
Senator Osten & Representative Walker led successful effort to approve a $280 million, desperately-needed, first-in-a-decade funding increase for human service providers and cultural programs
(Hartford, CT) – CT Community Nonprofit Alliance, which represents hundreds of human service providers and cultural programs across the state, today honored Sen. Cathy Osten, D-Sprague, and Rep. Toni Walker, D-New Haven, co-chairs of the General Assembly’s Appropriations Committee, for their unwavering commitment to increasing funding for nonprofits.
“The Alliance doesn’t give annual awards to legislators. But this year, we had many advocates in the General Assembly, and none were more consistently in our corner than the co-chairs of the Appropriations Committee, Senator Cathy Osten and Representative Toni Walker,” Luis Perez, President & CEO of Mental Health Connecticut and Chairman of the Alliance Board of Directors, said.
“We in the nonprofit community often feel we’re fighting alone for the funding that allows us to provide services like mental health and addiction treatment, day and residential programs for people with disabilities, domestic violence and homeless shelters, and services for people in the criminal justice system. This year, we knew we had champions in or corner from the start,” Perez said. “Their hard work will make a difference in the lives of thousands of children, adults and families across Connecticut.”
Prior to passage of the FY22 state budget in June, Connecticut’s nonprofits had not seen an increase in funding for a decade, leaving providers an estimated $461 million underfunded and struggling to keep programs open. The coronavirus pandemic only exacerbated problems, forcing programs to adapt facilities and programs, and their frontline staff to risk health and safety to continue to provide services. Alliance leadership proposed a five-year plan to restore funding.
As a result of the advocacy and support of Senator Osten and Representative Walker through the committee process and negotiations with the Governor’s office and legislative leadership, the budget approved by the General Assembly in June included the $280 million additional funding for health and human service programs.
The Alliance has welcomed the new funding, and is calling for an eight percent increase in the FY23 state budget to continue the effort to properly fund nonprofit community providers.