A Wilmington-based nonprofit wants to show state lawmakers in Delaware what a 20 percent reduction in funding looks like.
Ingleside Homes provides affordable housing and health care for the elderly in Delaware. Representing the nonprofit, Cathy Cessna is encouraging nonprofits statewide to keep a record of the “negative outcomes and impact” their agencies experience as a result of the General Assembly’s 20 percent cut in grant money for fiscal year 2018.
Cessna wants to know things like how many people lost their jobs because of the cut; how many programs were dropped; how many elderly, mentally ill and children were not served as a result; how many deaths resulted in the loss of programs.
Once she has the information, Cessna, and others, have volunteered to collate the data and report the outcomes.
She emailed her call-to-action to state lawmakers, nonprofits and to the media on Tuesday.
“As you face your constituents in 2018 and 2020; the press will have the data they need to share the negative impact and unintended consequences of your vote in 2017. Unintended, in Delaware, will no longer mean not-accountable,” Cessna wrote.
The email continued, “For those legislators who fought this cut; you will have the data you need to fight your opponents; and win. Those who put politics before people will be held accountable.”
Cessna said she cc’ed her email to 575 agencies.
“The public and private sector will benefit from a greater understanding of the unintended consequences that result when they elect un-informed officials, who either do not have the intellect or the capacity to balance a budget; or do not care about the consequences of their actions. Both scenarios are completely unacceptable; and need to be corrected,” said Cessna, who added the information learned can help other states avoid similar mistakes.
Instead of balancing the budget at the expense of nonprofits, Cessa suggested cutting funding from “bloated agencies,” like the state’s Dept. of Heath and Social Services, for example.
“One of the many things nonprofit agencies do well is track data, report outcomes, and define impact. It will be our pleasure to assist you in tracking your spending, your cuts, and your sacrifice on behalf of the State of Delaware so that this NEVER happens again, and that you begin working immediately on collective cuts for your 2018 budget,” she wrote. “It is time to find a better political toy than nonprofit agencies.”
Cessna is calling for the restoration and an increase to the original levels of grant-in-aid in 2018.
Editor’s note: In the interest of full disclosure, WHYY’s Delaware newsroom is one of the recipients of grant-in-aid funding.