What is “Our Role in State Budget Debates?” When political gridlock or severe deficits produce budget crises in states, they turn to our sector for missing resources. Nick Johnson, Director with State Priorities Partnership, Maari Porter, Executive Director of Philanthropy Network of Greater Philadelphia, and Alison Leipsiger, Director of Policy and Advocacy at Forefront, all lend their experiences and perspectives in addressing state budget, and how the sector can use its collective voice to push back. Here are some key takeaways from the discussion:
- Budget crises not only affect our advocacy efforts; they affect our operations. Nonprofits are expected to do more with fewer resources while foundations are expected to give more to fill the fiscal hole. Our organizations are also businesses as they employ a significant amount of the population. Like our for-profits counterparts, we should leverage this while talking to legislators.
- Start the dialogue early by reaching out to your grantees and beneficiaries. Educate them on the matter so they can fight alongside you. Legislators need to hear from the people! They need to know the consequences of whatever budget decisions they are making, or not making.
- Politicians need to hear that foundations cannot fill the gap their budget or budget crisis is creating. Use empirical evidence to show a reliance on philanthropic dollars is simply impossible to make up for budget shortfalls.