(Hartford, CT) — After more than a decade of underfunding, exacerbated by challenges to tax exemption, economic inflation and a coronavirus pandemic that stressed already overworked staff, many of whom left for other jobs, the urgent concerns of community nonprofits were heard and addressed by the General Assembly in 2021 and 2022, the head of CT Community Nonprofit Alliance said today.
“Community nonprofits have advocated for years for funding increases. The General Assembly and Governor Lamont have made progress on our proposal for a multi-year plan to restore $461 million in lost funding,” Gian Carl Casa said. “The result is historic funding increases and protections that will improve the lives of the thousands of people and the staff who serve them.”
The General Assembly has approved $330 million in increased funding for nonprofits over the biennium, including $220.4 million in the FY 23 state budget approved this week.
In addition, the House and Senate approved legislation that protects nonprofit group homes from unwarranted property taxation by some assessors.
“Connecticut’s nonprofits provide vital human services that support some of the most vulnerable people in our state and improve the quality of life for everyone in the communities they serve,” Casa said. “We thank the General Assembly and the Governor for their support, and we are particularly grateful to the Appropriations Chairs, Senator Cathy Osten and Rep. Toni Walker. We hope this is the beginning of an improved partnership between nonprofits and the state.”
The Alliance, which represents 298 nonprofit agencies, has calculated that more than a decade of underfunding left the sector $461 million behind in spending. Nonprofits said pre-pandemic, it was already difficult to keep staff without the ability to give pay increases. The coronavirus pandemic devastated many agencies, and prompted staff to leave for better paying jobs in retail and other sectors. Inflation has driven up the costs for goods and services, leaving them to play catch-up with rising demand.
Casa said, “It’s a huge first step, one deeply appreciated by those who depend on nonprofit services, but it’s still a long road to make up ground lost since the 2008 recession, a decade of tight state budgets and recent spikes in inflation.”
A study conducted for the Alliance found that 28 percent of community nonprofits had a workforce vacancy rate of 20 percent or more. Smaller nonprofits reported even higher vacancy rates of 35 percent. Sixty eight percent report increased demand for services.
Community nonprofits contract with the state to provide a wide range of human services including mental health and substance abuse treatment, day and residential services for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, support services for youths and adults involved in the criminal justice system, homeless and domestic violence shelters.