New York State

State contracting woes take the spotlight at meeting

The Not-For-Profit Contracting advisory committee wants organizations to share their struggles with contracting.

Nonprofits struggle to follow New York's contracting requirements.

Nonprofits struggle to follow New York's contracting requirements. Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

Nonprofits outlined their issues with timely contract payments, keeping up with New York’s requirements to work with minority- and women-owned business enterprises, and cash flow issues at a meeting of the state’s Not-For-Profit Contracting advisory committee.

One person from the nonprofit Part of the Solution said it had difficulty finding MWBE certified businesses to provide iPads for one of its programs – and when it did, the business couldn’t sell the right number of tablets needed.

“We wanted to do outreach to seniors in their place to do SNAP applications, like in their homes, and, now, basically for the last six months, we haven’t done it because we just can’t,” she said. 

Marla Simpson, who works for Catholic Charities Community Services and is the incoming chair of the committee, acknowledged she’d seen similar challenges at two nonprofits she’s been associated with.

“We take the non-personnel off the state contract because personnel doesn’t count toward this and we can’t find suppliers,” she said. “We buy such small quantities of things that either the supplier won’t sell it to us at all in the quantity that we need or they are listed as a statewide provider but they do not provide snacks for after-school children in Coney Island, or wherever we need them.” She encouraged fellow members to try and collect data on these difficulties through working groups with nonprofits.

State officials on the committee also shared that Grants Gateway, New York’s online grant application and contract management system, has registered more than 16,000 vendors and pre-qualified more than 8,000 nonprofits. Online payments are currently available at nine state agencies and expected to expand dramatically throughout the course of the next year, said Ian Carlson, director of grants management at the state Office of Information Technology Services. 

Ultimately, members of the committee highlighted that they wanted organizations to share their struggles with contracting.

“It should be seamless for a very small organization, as well as a very large organization,” said Fran Barrett, the interagency coordinator for not-for-profit services in the governor’s office.

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