EDISON – Senator Barbara Buono (D-Middlesex) announced today that she will host a roundtable conference with New Jersey’s non-profit organizations to identify ways to work with the State to help increase efficiency and maintain their vital services during the economic recession.
“New Jersey’s non-profit organizations have been particularly hard hit by the recession,” Senator Buono said. “While they are facing the same declining revenue streams as the rest of our State, they are also experiencing a dramatic increase in demand for their services.”
The non-profit industry employs 288,000 people – more than 7 percent of the State’s workforce – and serves as an important driver of New Jersey’s economy. These 28,000 organizations provide assistance that includes social and health services, job training, and the preservation and advancement of arts and culture, among others.
“We’re talking about organizations that not only employ a significant portion of New Jersey’s workforce, but also train our residents to enter or re-enter the workforce,” Senator Buono said. “Such services are invaluable in this economic climate and complement the work that the Governor has already enacted to stimulate the economy.”
According to a survey released by the Center for Non-profits in March of this year, 70 percent of responding organizations reported that demand for their core services had increased during the past year, and one-third of responding organizations reported spending more money than they took in during their most recently completed fiscal year.
“Unfortunately, it is painfully clear that the State is currently without the means to provide additional funding to our non-profits during this difficult economic time,” said Senator Buono. “The goal of this dialogue is to collaboratively identify creative ways to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of these organizations absent any additional State funds.”
The survey further reveals that 29 percent of respondents had curtailed programs or planned to do so, while 34 percent had cut staff and 37 percent increased their fees. Senator Buono’s roundtable is similar to a conference recently held in New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and will directly address similar issues.
“The non-profit sector not only plays a fundamental role in providing assistance to our citizens, but it also serves as an employment base in our State,” Senator Buono said. “It is my goal to thoroughly examine the unique circumstances facing this industry, and to identify and implement concrete solutions that will keep these organizations solvent and prevent them from cutting staff and services just when people need them the most.”
Planning sessions will be held over the summer, with the anticipated date of the roundtable to be in the fall (location to be determined).