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Public Works Partners at the Change Capital Fund Forum: Smart Organizations/Strong Neighborhoods

Public Works Partners was proud to participate in the Change Capital Fund (CCF) Forum, Smart Organizations/Strong Neighborhoods, on February 28.  The Forum provided reflection and provoked discussion on CCF-funded community development corporations and their impact on poverty in New York City.  We joined the four CDC grantees: Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, Fifth Avenue Committee, New Settlement Apartments, and St. Nick’s Alliance, to discuss their successful outcomes and lessons learned from measuring and scaling their impact in reducing poverty in their neighborhoods.

We have been working with CCF, a collaborative of 17 funders dedicated to improving economic mobility in New York City neighborhoods, since the planning year of its current cohort’s four-year cycle. The Fund provides the four CDCs with substantial support, including technical assistance, to help these neighborhood organizations establish the systems and capacity to measure impact. Public Works supported the grantees to develop common metrics across organizations to assess and share the impact of their workforce development, adult education, youth education, and affordable housing strategies.

At the forum, keynote speaker Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Dr. Hermania Palacio, noted that poverty is not just about individuals and a temporary state, but rather affects entire families and communities that have been stuck in cycles for decades. As a response, the City is committed to helping 800,000 New Yorkers out of poverty by 2025. Other speakers noted that to reach this goal, pathways need to be created so that all 800,000 can not only escape the cycle of poverty, but also excel in their endeavors – a large role CDCs can play.

Building off this theme, Public Works Partners CEO Celeste Frye moderated a panel, “How to best leverage NYC’s Community Based Organizations (CBOs) to reduce poverty,” with the Executive Directors of the four grantees. The discussion revolved around the unique role of CDCs and their work in grass roots mobilizing and advocacy to create system changes around issues that communities, families, and individuals face. The three R’s (Roots, Resources, and Relationships) are key to these place-based organizations in order to establish credibility, retain the resources and facilities to serve their constituents, and gain mutual trust and respect.

The Executive Directors also discussed opportunities that can help CBOs reach everyone that can benefit from their programs. Their responses reflected the value they found from being part of CCF, including funding for operations and technical assistance (something commonly left out of non-profit funding); program-specific funding, such as providing opportunities to youth who need support in pursuing jobs, job training, and/or post-secondary education; and a massive commitment to  collaboration between economic development, education, and workforce development to lift everyone out of poverty.

We want to thank the panelists for sharing their insights: Michelle Neugebauer, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation; Michelle de la Uz, Fifth Avenue Committee; Jack Doyle, New Settlement Apartments; Michael Rochford, St. Nick’s Alliance.

To learn more about Change Capital Fund, explore their reports here.

February Newsletter: New Year, New Certificates, and New Colleagues

We are pleased to say that Public Works Partners is now certified as a DBE (Disadvantaged Business Enterprise) by the US D.O.T!

With this new certification, we can now help Engineering and Urban Planning firms fulfill their DBE goals for a variety of federally-funded projects to improve the vitality of our city, state, and region. Click here to learn more about our recent planning projects.

Thanks again to The Port Authority of NY & NJ, who certified us on behalf of the New Jersey and New York State Unified Certification Program. Let us know if your organization needs a DBE partner—we’d be happy to collaborate.

On a related note, we’re excited about a new law that expands opportunities for the City’s M/WBEs.
This new law increases the City’s discretionary spending limit to $150,000 on contracts with M/WBEs, which is a huge jump from the previous cap of $20,000.  This means City agencies can select M/WBEs for projects worth up to $150,000 without going through a time-intensive bidding process, positioning minority and women-owned companies to be more competitive in securing City contracts that directly contribute to the growth of their businesses. City agencies also benefit from this legislation because, with the increase in the discretionary spending limit, agencies can retain qualified providers through a shorter, easier process. They can consider M/WBE businesses and their history with labor compliance when procuring contractors without going through hefty paperwork.

Sponsored by State Senator Marisol Alcántara and Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman, this legislation will increase opportunities for both City agencies and MWBEs like ours.

Meet our new Analysts.
We’re excited to welcome two additions to our team:

Matthew joins us from California, where he worked as a Behavior Coach for Alum Rock Unified School District in San Jose. He also worked with the MIT Community Innovations Lab and in NYC government, researching and developing a variety of policy-driven programs. We are confident that his qualitative and quantitative background will help clients achieve their goals.
Current projects: Service integration for a child welfare agency
Outside of work:  You can find Matthew volunteering with homeless services around NYC.
Mary Kathryn joins us with extensive public engagement experience with the Center for Urban Pedagogy and the NYC Department of City Planning. With a background in design-thinking and strategic planning, Mary Kathryn will help our clients create accessible tools and processes for their program recipients.
Current projects: Intervine Program Design & Implementation, Lincoln Center Education Scholars Evaluation
Outside of work:  Mary Kathryn might be in a meeting for the Design Futures Student Leadership forum addressing designing for equity.

With their passion for social sector issues, they are ready to dive into the work we all love to do. Send them a note and say hello!

What We’re Reading

Allison: This article introduces No Label: Brownsville, a new WNYC podcast series profiling the neighborhood – and in particular, its often under-reported positive aspects – from the perspective of the people who live there.

Jiwon: Behavioral design nonprofit Ideas42 partnered with New York City to work on an 18-month initiative to keep people out of jail by redesigning summons more understandably, reports Fast Company.

Mary Kathryn: This recap by the American Society of Landscape Architects of the National Endowment for the Arts and Surdna Foundation‘s Designing Equity forum, discussing the benefits of designing the planning process rather than the outcome.

Sam: A New York Times piece profiling a Chicago woman’s experiences in public housing, and context surrounding the broader state of publicly assisted housing in the United States.

We’re Now A Certified DBE!

We are pleased to announce that Public Works Partners is now a certified Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) through the U.S. Department of Transportation. With this new certification, Public Works can help your firm meet DBE goals for a variety of federally-funded projects to improve the vitality of our city, state and region. Click here to find out how we’re helping Urban Planning and Engineering firms engage communities, design smart plans, and implement policies in neighborhoods within the tri-state area.

For more information about our DBE certification, visit the following New Jersey and New York State Unified Certification Program directories:

Contact Us

Mailing Address
99 Madison Avenue
Suite 403
New York, NY 10016
(347) 619-2892
info@publicworkspartners.com